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University Policy Office

Shelly G. Gonzalez, Policy Officer
Administration 208
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660.543.4730
Fax: 660.543.8022
sgonzalez@ucmo.edu





Academic Leaves Policy
Board of Governors Policy 2.2.020
Approved by the Board of Regents on December 3, 1985

I. Introduction

This professional enhancement program is multi-faceted and flexible and is deliberately left with enough open ends so that refinements can be inserted as the needs of faculty/academic staff and the institution are defined. It is not the intent of this document to preclude individual or other corporate plans which are not herein specified. Accordingly, faculty/academic staff members are also encouraged to apply for grants, fellowships or contracts funded by external agencies (and paid through the institution).

An academic leave is defined as absence from regular academic duties at the University of Central Missouri in excess of two weeks for the purpose of promoting scholarly and/or creative professional enhancement.

Academic leaves are granted to enhance the individual, thereby improving the overall educational environment of the university. The granting of academic leaves will be based on the expectation that the faculty/academic staff member will utilize the period for professional growth and development as related to the individual's UCM academic assignment and goals. Some appropriate goals for academic leaves include: to add knowledge in the academic field, to enhance teaching effectiveness, to broaden fields of competency, and/or to acquire other valuable professional experience.

Application for academic leave must be made in writing, by the individual concerned, to the provost through the appropriate offices as listed on the “Request for Academic Leave Sheet.” Any academic leave and the conditions under which it is granted must have the written approval of the provost and, when appropriate, the president of the university and the Board of Governors. Appropriate forms are available from the Center for Professional Development, or the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

II. Eligibility/Stipulations

Those eligible for academic leaves are full-time faculty, librarians and professional staff assigned to academic affairs.

Typically, each faculty/academic staff member must have served the university for a period of at least two years of full-time service before becoming eligible for any type of academic leave, unless program/university needs dictate otherwise. Before becoming eligible to apply for a second academic leave, recipients of academic leaves are expected to serve the university for at least one year on a full-time basis after completing the leave. With approval, academic leaves may be extended but the total may not exceed two calendar years. University funding for a second year of an extended academic leave would only be considered at the request of the university to meet program needs.

A recipient of an academic leave shall not accept employment for the period of that leave, except in cases where such employment is a part of the leave proposal or is made in order to increase professional competence. A recipient of an academic leave may hold a scholarship, a fellowship or receive other grants. Details of these should be included in the proposal or be approved by the provost if arranged subsequent to the granting of the academic leave.

During maximally-funded university academic leaves, the university will continue to pay basic health, life and disability insurance costs for the faculty/academic staff member. A faculty/academic staff member who is awarded leave of absence with compensation provided for in the contract of employment, and that compensation to be not less than 50 percent of the amount which would have been paid if the member had not been on leave of absence, will be considered as rendering full-time service in terms of retirement consideration. Any such person will retain continued membership in the retirement system, receiving credit for the time spent on leave provided that full contributions are withheld and remitted on the basis of the compensation which would have been paid if the faculty/academic staff member had not been on leave of absence. If a faculty/academic staff member is awarded an unfunded or partially-funded academic leave, the university shall offer the individual an opportunity to make payment to and to receive coverage under as many fringe benefits which the faculty/academic staff member would otherwise hold, as is allowed. Arrangements for special consideration must be negotiated prior to the acceptance of academic leave.

Recipients of academic leaves will return to the university with at least the academic rank/salary existing at the time the leave began, unless agreements to the contrary are arranged in advance. The effects of the various types of academic leave on salary, promotion and tenure considerations are presented in the sections of this document describing the respective leaves. Recipients of academic leaves, university- funded or non- funded, are expected to return to the University of Central Missouri and serve for at least one academic year for each year or partial year of leave following the completion of the leave. Recipients of academic leave for the academic year must advise the provost by March 1 (during their year of leave) of their intention to return or not to return for the following academic year. Recipients who receive UCM funding for academic leave, but fail to complete the expected full-time service following completion of leave must repay the university the amount of UCM's support in proportion to the amount of time remaining in the term of required service.

III. General Procedures and Submission Deadlines

All proposals requesting an academic leave are the responsibility of the faculty/academic staff person seeking the leave. Proposal submission for leaves between May 1 through the following academic year should follow the following schedule:

  • By December 1: Requests should be submitted to the appropriate chairperson.

  • By December 15: Requests should be forwarded to the appropriate dean with the chair's written recommendation and a paragraph describing the rationale for the recommendation.

  • By January 15: Deans must attach their written recommendation and a paragraph describing the rationale for the recommendation.

  • (Research leaves will be evaluated by the Research Council for rating recommendations.)

  • By February 8: The Professional Enhancement Committee must forward its recommendation to the provost.

  • By March 1: The provost will submit to the president recommendations for academic leaves.

  • By April 1: Or as soon as possible following Board of Governors action, applicants will be notified of the results of this process.

All academic leave requests must receive approval of the department chair, college dean, Professional Enhancement Committee and the provost. If the recommendation at any level of the review process is different from the recommendation at the prior level, the applicant and all reviewers at prior levels will be notified of the differing recommendation.

Leave requests DESIGNATED AS RESEARCH LEAVES will be evaluated by the University Research Council for its recommendations PRIOR TO CONSIDERATION BY THE PROFESSIONAL ENHANCEMENT COMMITTEE WHO WILL FORWARD THE RESEARCH COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION ALONG WITH ITS RECOMMENDATION TO THE PROVOST.

SHORT NOTICE LEAVES: The Professional Enhancement Committee will accept leave requests for short notice leaves throughout the academic year. This will enable faculty/academic staff to take advantage of leave opportunities that do not provide notification in time to follow the above request submission schedule. Such as - schedule requests must still receive recommendation from the appropriate chair and dean and include a detailed explanation of the emergency nature of the request. The explanation must include reasons why the specified submission dates could not be met. After consideration, the Professional Enhancement Committee will make a recommendation to the provost regarding the leave request. (Approved 7-14-93)

IV. CRITERIA

Decisions regarding academic leave requests will be based on the strength of application materials submitted, the availability of funds, the length of time since previous receipt of academic leave, the ability with which the department can cope during the absence of a staff member, the needs of the university, and how well the leave proposal matches the goals of the academic leave program. Certain leaves may be designated to meet specific needs of the university.

The following types of academic leaves are identified at the University of Central Missouri: Study leaves, research leaves, exchange and other professional enhancement leaves and sabbatical leaves. Specific information on each is outlined below:

A. Study Leaves. Study leaves are granted to faculty/academic staff to assist in the formal plan of academic study deemed desirable by both the university and the individual to work toward the completion of an appropriate terminal degree, to broaden fields of competency, to add to knowledge in the academic field, or for purposes of retraining (i.e., to prepare for a career change to meet particular individual and/or university needs). Remuneration for a UCM funded academic year study leave is computed by multiplying eight percent of the previous academic year's salary. The amount of funded summer study leave is not to exceed one-half of the summer salary which would be earned if employed full-time in the summer. In instances where study leaves are granted primarily to meet university needs, funding may exceed the above-mentioned limits. Leaves shorter than three months will be considered for funding on a proportional basis. Normally, study leave time will not count as fulfilling any portion of the probationary period of full-time service before tenure is granted. If requested by the applicant and recommended by the department chair and the college dean, the Professional Enhancement Committee may deem it appropriate to forward a recommendation that time spent on study leave can be applied toward the minimum time limits for consideration for promotion -- agreements and understandings of this nature must be clarified at the time the study leave is approved. Time spent on study leaves requested by the university and designated by the university for the purpose of retraining to meet university needs will count toward seniority and the minimum time limits for consideration for promotion.

B. Research Leaves. Research leaves are granted to faculty/academic staff for non-thesis research in the academic area (or related areas) of the individual. The research proposals will be evaluated based on their potential for adding to the knowledge in a particular academic field. Funds for research leaves may be granted by the University of Central Missouri or by an outside agency such as a government, business or philanthropic organization. Research leaves funded by UCM will be reviewed by the Research Council through an open invitation to submit proposals as funds are available. Recommendations for research leaves from the Research Council will be processed through the Professional Enhancement Committee as are other leave requests. Proposals for research leaves funded by UCM and unfunded research leaves should include a need statement, project design, goals/objectives, time/work, schedule, evaluation component and a line-item budget. If funding is sought through an outside agency, the applicant should submit a proper proposal to the outside agency. If requested by the applicant and recommended by the department chair and the college dean, the Professional Enhancement Committee may deem it appropriate to forward a recommendation that time spent on research leaves can be applied toward the minimum time limits for consideration for tenure and/or promotion -- agreements and understandings of this nature must be clarified at the time the research leave is approved.

C. Exchange and Other Professional Enhancement Leaves. These leaves are granted to faculty/academic staff for the purpose of allowing opportunities to teach in other universities or to work in related business, industrial, professional or governmental settings which relate to the individual's area of responsibility at UCM. If requested by the applicant and recommended by the department chair and the college dean, the Professional Enhancement Committee may deem it appropriate to forward a recommendation that time spent on exchange leaves can be applied toward the minimum time limits for consideration for tenure and/or promotion -- agreements and understandings of this nature must be clarified at the time the exchange leave is approved. Funds granted for this type of academic leave will be in the form of a relocation allowance whenever possible. Salaries related to exchange leaves (if any) will be negotiated to fit the conditions of the particular circumstances.

D. Sabbatical Leaves. Sabbatical leaves are granted to faculty/academic staff to promote the professional development of the individual, to enhance the educational environment of the university, or to support original scholarly or creative projects. Appropriate means of achieving these goals may include sponsored or un-sponsored research, formal or informal study, and creative or artistic activity appropriate to the individual's area of responsibility to the university. Travel to study cultures, to visit museums and historical sites, to tour businesses and industries, and other activities of academic relevance are appropriate under a sabbatical leave. Tenured faculty and academic staff members who have served UCM full-time for at least six academic years, may apply for a sabbatical leave. The approval process for sabbatical leave is the same as for all other academic leaves. Sabbatical leaves may be for a full academic year at half pay, for one semester at full pay, or for a summer at full pay (equivalent to six hours). Time spent on sabbatical leave shall count as full-time service to the university for purposes of promotion and salary considerations. After having held a sabbatical leave, a faculty/academic staff member must devote six years of full-time service to the university before becoming eligible to apply for another sabbatical leave and at least two years before applying for another type of academic leave.

Recipients failing to serve the university at least a full academic year following their return from leave must repay the university one-half the amount of UCM's support in proportion to the amount of time remaining in the term of required service. (BR 12/85) (Amended administratively 3/86) NOTE: Normally only faculty/staff on sabbatical leaves are able to make arrangements to continue participation in the MOSERS Plan during the leave.

Approved by the Board of Regents on December 3, 1985
Formatting updated August 1, 2007