When a faculty member is successful in winning grant support for a period of research leave, it is sometimes possible to channel the grant funds through the university, and thereby continue paid appointment, rather than taking the funds directly from the granting agency or foundation and spending the time on leave without pay. To see if your grant award would be eligible for this treatment, contact the Office of Research Services and Administration at 541-346-5131.
Winning certain prestigious but low-paying fellowships may qualify faculty for a university subsidy of up to 30 percent of annual salary and for a continuation of fringe benefits while on leave. More information about this program can be found on the Unclassified Personnel Services website.
Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 580-021-0028 specifies that if a faculty member takes fellowship leave, the faculty member must “return to the institution for a period of at least one year’s service on completion of the leave. If the faculty member fails to fulfill this obligation, the faculty member shall repay the full cost of benefits paid by the institution during the leave.”
Sabbatical leave is a paid period of released time designed to reinvigorate and restore one's academic energies, and to provide a base for future intellectual development and achievement. During the leave period, a faculty member may receive between 50 and 100 percent of salary depending on the length of the leave and the school, college or other administrative affiliation.
Sabbatical leave is not a right of employment, nor is it a reward for excellent performance and services rendered. Sabbatical leave is a privilege awarded based upon an assessment of the contribution that will be made to the university (and hence to the state) as a result of the leave. If the work to be conducted while on leave will strengthen the eligible faculty member's ability to serve the mission and purpose of the university in the future, a faculty member's application for sabbatical leave will usually be approved. Applications for sabbatical from career NTTF, including research faculty, are more rarely approved.
Eligibility for Sabbatical
A faculty member at the University of Oregon appointed at .50 FTE or more may be considered for a sabbatical leave after accumulating six or more full-time years of service if not otherwise stated in their employment contract. Individuals with part-time appointments or those whose appointments have included a mixture of full and part-time service should read the state board's rules on eligibility for sabbatical leave set forth in OAR 580-21-200 through OAR 580-21-240.
If you have questions about your eligibility for sabbatical leave, check with the staff in Unclassified Personnel Services at 541-346-3348. Academic Affairs and Unclassified Personnel Services have been charged with monitoring the entire sabbatical leave program and can help faculty with their questions about the program and its requirements.
Applying for Sabbatical
Applicants for a sabbatical leave must present a careful statement of plans for the leave period, and a justification of the leave in terms of the criteria stated above. The request should be accompanied by an official application form, a curriculum vita, and a description of current teaching, research, and other professionally relevant activities. The sabbatical application and procedure can be found on Unclassified Personnel Services' website under Sabbaticals.
Even when an eligible faculty member has an excellent sabbatical plan that meets all of the recognized criteria, the leave may be denied should the faculty member's absence at that particular time cause dislocation within the program. It is up to deans and department heads to assure the continued high quality of the academic program, and it is up to directors to assure the smooth operation of administrative units. Therefore, a request for sabbatical might be denied to assure that a solid contingent of continuing faculty members is available on an ongoing basis. When a faculty member is requested to postpone a leave that would otherwise be approved, some adjustment in accumulating eligibility for future leaves is possible.
Before the beginning of a sabbatical leave, faculty members are strongly urged to contact the Office of Human Resources benefits section about coverage while away from campus. This is particularly important for faculty members planning to travel abroad.
After returning from leave, the faculty member must submit a written report of what was accomplished during the leave. This report is needed both for the record and as a justification of the value of the sabbatical leave program. Upon return, the report must be filed promptly with the department head and the Office of Academic Affairs.
Taking advantage of the privilege of sabbatical leave incurs an obligation on the faculty member to return to the university for “at least one year’s service on completion of the leave. If the faculty member fails to fulfill this obligation, the faculty member shall repay the full cost of the benefits paid by the institution during the leave” (OAR 580-021-0220).