Faculty Handbook

Sabbatical Leaves of Absence

Last updated: 11/19/1993



The following policy was approved by the Board of Trustees on May 25, 1956 and revised on November 19, 1993.

General Policy

  1. A sabbatical  leave  is  intended for  the  mutual   benefit  of  the  University  and  the  faculty  member granted a leave.  The  purpose  is  to  encourage  academic and institutional revitalization by providing sustained time for  research/creative  activities;  development  of  new  courses  or  programs;acquisition of expanded and/or new qualifications and skills; contribution to academic unit plans to improve and/or refocus instructional, research, or public service activities in accordance with the mission of the University.
  2. A sabbatical leave is not granted automatically. Each request for a sabbatical leave must include a detailed description outlining the purposes, objectives and scholarly and research activities of the leave and normally should be submitted six months in advance of the starting date of the leave. The plan should indicate how the objectives and accomplishments of the leave will advance the interests and capabilities of the faculty member for fulfilling the aims, objectives and goals of the department/school, college or University.  All leaves must have the approval of the appropriate administrators and of the Provost or designee.
  3. Within thirty (30) days following the conclusion of a sabbatical leave, a sabbatical leave report, with a separate summary not to exceed one page in length, must be submitted to the department chairperson/school director or dean of a non-departmentally organized college.  The report should include an assessment and evaluation of the leave accomplishments in relation to the sabbatical leave plan.  Departments/schools and non-departmentally organized colleges should retain a copy of the sabbatical leave report in applicable unit files.
  1. Only faculty members with tenure shall be eligible for sabbatical leaves.
  2. A sabbatical leave shall not be granted until the faculty member has completed six years of service to the University.  Service shall be interpreted to include those activities of interest to and supported by the University, regardless of the source of financial support.
  3. Years of service shall count from the date of full-time appointment, or from the ending date of the previous sabbatical leave (except as stated in the following section, number 3, below). However, all leaves of absence shall be excluded in determining years of service for a sabbatical leave.
  4. The length of leaves shall not be extended on the basis of more than six years of service since the previously compensated leave.
  5. Appropriate applications for a full year of leave (with reduced pay) normally have precedence over shorter term leaves (with full pay).
Types of Sabbatical Leaves
  1. For faculty on academic year appointments, sabbatical leaves are of two types:
    • One term with no reduction in pay.
    • Two terms with a fifty percent reduction in the academic year salary. (Payments distributed over the duty period.)
  2. For faculty on annual appointments:
    • Up to six months with no reduction in pay.
    • Twelve months with a fifty percent reduction in pay.
  3. For deans, directors, departmental chairpersons, and other administrative officers:
    • Three months once in every three years with full pay, initially after six years of service to the University which includes at least three years of administrative service.
    • Six months with no reduction in pay after at least six years of service to the University since the previous sabbatical or from the date of full-time appointment including at least three years in administrative positions without compensated leaves.
    • Sabbatical leave eligibility following the return to regular faculty duties requires six years of service to the University since the completion of the sabbatical leave referenced in a. and b., above. Up to three years credit for service between the date of full-time employment or the end date of the sabbatical leave immediately preceding the administrative assignment, whichever is later, and the beginning date  of the administrative position may be applied toward this requirement only if the last sabbatical leave as an administrator was a three-month leave (see section 3a, above).
  1. Recipients of sabbatical leaves are permitted to receive money for activities approved as part of the approved sabbatical plan without prejudice to their receipt of income from Michigan State University, provided that the total remuneration from all sources does not exceed that received from this institution.  (Financial support to offset the costs of travel and subsistence are excluded from total remuneration; see 3, below.)
  2. Teaching, research and service activities performed during sabbatical leaves must be in accord with the mission of the unit, college and University. Faculty members on sabbatical leave may accept teaching assignments for pay subject to the following conditions:
    • The teaching assignment must provide and be part of a variety of experiences which serve to improve scholarly/creative competence;
    • Benefits flowing from the teaching assignment must be demonstrable in the sabbatical leave plan;
    • The details of the teaching assignment are clearly defined in the sabbatical leave plan and are subject to approval by the applicable chairperson/director, dean and Provost or designee and agreed to in the best interests of the department/school, college and University.
  3. In addition to salary, special arrangements may be made to defray travel and similar coincidental expenses, normally provided by externally obtained non-general fund grants or other arrangements. These arrangements normally should be approved in advance as part of the leave application.
  4. A recipient of a sabbatical leave of absence is obligated to return to Michigan State University for the following year.  Requests for leaves without pay immediately following a sabbatical leave normally will not be approved. If a leave no pay is to be recommended, it should precede the sabbatical leave.
Departmental Adjustments
  1. If a sabbatical leave is granted for one year, academic or fiscal, the department involved will be entitled to use the released funds for a replacement, provided approval is given by the dean of the college.
  2. If leave is granted for less than a year, the department will be expected to make adjustments such as suspending courses or by reassigning other personnel.
  3. Sabbatical leaves shall not be granted to several members of a department concurrently if the efficiency of instruction, research and service programs will be impaired.

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