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XII. Leaves Of Absence

There are two sorts of leave discussed here: academic leave and leave taken as a sabbatical.

A. Academic Leave

  1. Definition
    Academic leave is defined here as leave taken by contractual arrangement between the College and the individual requesting/receiving leave. For leave to be considered “academic,” its primary purpose must be to enhance the scholarly and/or teaching skills of a faculty member. Such leave is undertaken for the purpose(s) of pursuing a project or projects and/or coursework which both the faculty member and the College understand as being of benefit to the latter. The benefit may accrue by means of (1) enhancing a professor’s knowledge base relating to his/her discipline, (2) enhancing performance relating to the teaching of his/her subject matter in accord with his/her professional duties, and/or (3) enabling the professor to earn credentials relating to his/her discipline, or a related discipline deemed important to the work of the College.
  2. Scope
    Academic leave may include, but is not limited to, grants of absence extended for the following purposes:

    1. Pursuit and completion of coursework that helps the College meet a curricular need, such as that which leads to either a doctorate or fulfillment of eighteen graduate hours in an area of instruction, or a second Master’s degree, should the College need competence in that area;
    2. Writing, editing, or publishing a book, article(s), monograph(s), ;
    3. Conducting fieldwork or laboratory research;
    4. Compiling, analyzing and/or publishing data relating to a field in which the faculty members works;
    5. Teaching at another institution; and/or
    6. Employment in a government or comparable agency in an area related to the faculty member’s area of professional expertise;
  3. Rationale
    The College is committed to academic leave because such leave offers opportunities for faculty to develop professionally and to acquire new ideas or talents to share with the College community.

B. Sabbatical

  1. Definition
    Sabbatical is defined here as leave taken by contractual arrangement between the College and the individual requesting/receiving leave for purpose(s) of engaging in a project not directly related to a professor’s academic work in the classroom at the time the leave is requested/granted. Nonetheless, the project(s) to be undertaken may be understood to be of potential benefit to the work of the College.
  2. Scope
    A Sabbatical may include, but is not limited to, leave extended for the following purposes:

    1. The writing of an article or articles, book, monograph, on a topic not directly related to a professor’s classroom responsibilities or discipline area, and/or
    2. Charitable or humanitarian
  3. Rationale
    The sabbatical might widen a faculty member’s range of professional contacts, and/or raise the profile of Richard Bland College through the faculty member’s association with the institution. In the case of a faculty member’s involvement with charitable or humanitarian causes, a sabbatical permits the faculty member to benefit the society in/for which the College operates.

C. Requesting Leave

Written application for leave, together with a letter of acknowledgement and a recommendation from the faculty member’s department chair, must be submitted to the Chief Academic Officer, who will add his/her own recommendation, and forward all related documents to the President.

  1. Timetable
    For academic leave or a sabbatical to be undertaken in the fall semester, or if the leave taken is to extend through an entire academic year, a faculty member must apply in written form to his/her department chair by the end of September the year prior to the beginning date for the planned leave.For either form of leave to be undertaken in the spring semester, written application must be submitted by the end of February the year prior to the beginning date for the planned leave. Requests made after these deadlines will be considered at the discretion of the Chief Academic Officer.Paid leave can only be applied for after a period of six (6) years have passed since a faculty member’s start-date with the College, or following his/her return from the last leave granted by the College, unless by permission of the Chief Academic Officer and College President.
  2. Written Request for Leave
    Written request for leave submitted by a faculty member to his/her department chair should be detailed in explaining the request, and in its projections, possibly including material such as the following:

    1. A detailed proposal describing the project(s), or the course of study to be undertaken during the leave period (academic leave);
    2. An explanation of how the project(s) or coursework meets the College’s curricular needs (academic leave);
    3. A copy of the letter of acceptance from a graduate school signed by the proper authority representing the graduate school, or a program within it (academic leave);
    4. An estimate of the costs of up to full salary and possible tuition assistance involved (books are disallowed) (academic leave), and/or
    5. A projected timeline (academic leave or sabbatical).

D. Provisos Concerning the Granting of Leave

  1. No more than three (3) faculty members will be absent from the College on leave during the same period of time;
  2. No more than two (2) faculty members will be recommended by a department chair from his/her academic area during any given selection period;
  3. While it is the hope and intention that all eligible applicants with appropriate proposals will receive leave after providing an appropriate request, financial and staffing constraints may limit the actual number of leave proposals granted;
  4. In determining among competing requests for leave, department chairs and the Chief Academic Officer will be guided by the College’s curricular needs, and will consider/prioritize:
    1. Tenured faculty over non-tenured faculty regardless of rank (academic leave, or sabbatical);
    2. Time of service to the College (academic leave, or sabbatical); and
    3. Which applicant(s) are closest to completion of a degree (academic leave).

E. Responses to Requests for Leave

A faculty member may expect any of the following as possible responses to requests for leave:

  1. Offer of leave with full or half pay;
  2. Offer of release time from total number of credit hours taught;
  3. Offer of a re-organized teaching schedule;
  4. Offer of leave without pay (if the faculty member has less than six years of full-time service to the College), and
  5. Offer to substitute other duties in lieu of teaching and/or College service

Individuals applying in a timely and complete way for leave may expect that their requests will be accepted or denied by College administration within a six (6)- week period from the date of the initial submission of their paperwork to their department chair. The individual whose completed request for leave is denied has the right to expect that the reason for denial of his/her request will be addressed in writing by the Chief Academic Officer.

F. Responsibilities of the faculty member who has taken a leave upon his/her return to the service of the College

No later than sixty (60) days following the completion of a leave, the faculty member taking the leave will file a written report with the Chief Academic Officer, sending copies to the President and his/her department chair. In the case of academic leave taken to complete coursework, this report will include documentation from the relevant graduate school attesting to the successful completion of that work. For all other types of academic leave, and for sabbaticals, the report will include a description of how the leave will contribute to the faculty member’s teaching effectiveness, the Mission of the College, and/or the work of the College and/or the community it serves, as appropriate.

Faculty Handbook

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