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Sabbatical Leave FAQ

General

What are the parameters for granting a sabbatical?          

A sabbatical leave may be granted so that a faculty member may engage in research, writing, or other activity calculated to contribute to their professional development and overall value to WVU.

Who is eligible for a sabbatical?

Tenure-track faculty at 1.0 FTE are eligible to apply, although they must be at the associate rank and be awarded tenure at the time of the sabbatical leave.  Non-tenure track faculty including Teaching-track, Service-track, Clinical-track, Research-track, and Librarian-track at 1.0 FTE are eligible to apply and must be at the associate rank at the time of the sabbatical leave. The expanded scope of sabbaticals under Rule 4.3 removes the need for the professional development leave program for faculty (that program is still available to staff).

If you are applying for your first sabbatical at WVU, you must have completed at least six years of full-time employment in a faculty rank before the start of your sabbatical. To take a leave in Fall 2022 (or the full 2022-23 academic year), your start date must be August 16, 2016 or earlier. To take a leave in Spring 2023, your start date must be January 1, 2017 or earlier. 

If you have already had a sabbatical (or professional development) leave at WVU, you are not eligible for another leave until the seventh subsequent year as a regular member of the faculty. To take a sabbatical in Fall 2022 (or the full 2022-23 academic year), your last leave must have been completed in Spring 2016 or earlier. To take a sabbatical in Spring 2023, your last leave must have been completed in Fall 2016 or earlier.

What is the Approval Process for a sabbatical?

Sabbaticals require the approval of, and are submitted through the department chair.  Each application submitted to the Dean’s Office must include the chair’s explanation of how the unit will maintain its instructional productivity if the leave is approved.  If more than one person in a unit will be on leave in a given year, the chair must provide a rank ordering of the applications. 

What forms am I required to fill out to be considered for a sabbatical?  

You must fill out the sabbatical leave application.  Within this application there is an agreement form that must be notarized, meaning that your signature on this form must be witnessed by a duly commissioned Notary Public.  Your application form is not complete unless it includes a notarized Agreement Form.

What length of service is required to pay back a sabbatical?

You are expected to return to WVU for one year (two semesters) after your sabbatical, as noted in the notarized forms.  Failure to return will require repayment of support received while on sabbatical.

Where can I go to seek assistance in obtaining additional funding for my sabbatical?

We would encourage you to seek out assistance from your department chair, Dean, and the Office of Research.

If I am a paid consultant while a faculty member how does this count during sabbatical?

You should note in your request for sabbatical that you have ongoing consulting arrangements and be sure and complete your annual required disclosure form.

Do I need to turn in a report when I return from sabbaticals?

You will need to send in a report of your activities within 60 days of your return to campus to christopher.staples@mail.wvu.edu.  

Timing

When are sabbatical requests due?

Sabbatical requests can be made twice a year.  The due dates are in January and July.

For a fall 2022 sabbatical or for a 2022-23 Academic Year sabbatical: Your application is due to your department chair (or equivalent) by January 4, 2022 Your chair must submit the application to the Dean's Office by January 14.

For a spring 2023 sabbatical, your application is due to your department chair by June 30, 2022.  Your chair must submit the application to the Dean’s Office by July 14. 

Funding

Can I be paid by an outside entity during a sabbatical?

You may be able to obtain additional funding during your sabbatical.  Generally you are not able to earn more than what you would have received as a full time faculty member.  There are some exceptions to this general rule, for example, if you were to receive a Fulbright Scholarship that would wrap into your travel award. 

If I apply for sabbatical in January does any salary augmentation for the fall term apply?

Yes, if you receive a raise or other salary augmentation this will apply for your sabbatical.

Benefits Eligibility

If I take a full-year sabbatical (or a half year sabbatical) am I still eligible to receive benefits?    

Yes, you remain benefits eligible as it is merely your effort, which is redistributed however you remain 1.0 FTE. 

Faculty Load During Sabbatical

What is a normal faculty load during sabbatical? 

Depending upon your area of significant contribution your faculty workload will be adjusted to reflect this one-year change in effort (i.e. 100% research, 100% teaching, 100%  service).

Am I expected to serve on committees or teach during sabbatical?

Normally you should expect not to serve on committees and pursue teaching during your sabbatical.  The aim here is to make your proposed project successful and to give you the release time to help facilitate this.

Project Selection

How do you select projects to approve for sabbatical?

Selected projects are those that benefit the faculty member and the department, college, and University.  Normally this will occur as a result of increased scholarly or creative activities such as publications or creative works. 

You should provide clear statements of the products of your proposed leave, and a concrete plan for the activities to be accomplished during the leave.  Please provide the specific scholarly results of your project. 

Are projects that meet the aforementioned beneficial criterion ever not approved?

All sabbaticals require the department to be able to meet their needs in terms of staffing and also require a monetary contribution to the sabbatical.  Sometimes the sabbatical may need to be delayed due to multiple requests within a department or unit.  Alternatively, sometimes a sabbatical may be denied due to a lack of available departmental funding.  Taking into consideration that the department must cover the teaching loads of faculty, those with an asymmetric teaching load might consider a leave that would displace the lesser part of the teaching assignment. 

What happens if the scope of the project changes? 

If the scope of the project appears to change from the original submission, you must request approval of this change from the Office of the Provost.  This is due to the requirements of the notarized forms requiring approval of all parties.