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About Virginia Western :: College Policies

I-36: Sabbatical Leave Policy

Policy Number: I-36
Last Reviewed: March 18, 2014
Responsible Dept.: Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs

A signed copy of this policy is available in the President's Office.


Sabbatical leaves for professional development may be made available to teaching faculty, administrative and professional faculty, and the college president. The objective of such leave is to provide a renewed capacity for significant contribution of service to the college and the community at large. Sabbatical leaves are distinct from educational leaves and are not designed merely for planned courses of study for academic credit. Planned courses of study for academic credit will be requested under the "Educational Aid Policy."


A sabbatical is a compensated leave of absence of one or two semesters for full-time academic faculty and up to 12 months for administrative and professional faculty and the college president. Sabbatical leaves shall be granted for approved projects of full-time independent study, research, and/or creative work that will renew teaching abilities, and to foster and enrich intellectual and professional growth and development. Projects may be concerned with wide-ranging interests or with work in specialized fields and should address issues in the substance of the applicant's teaching field, research interests, professional field, or in some other area which will enhance understanding of related fields. The ultimate purpose of the leave program is to sustain vigor, especially in the college's academic instructional programs, and to ensure that faculty members have the opportunity for professional development.


To be eligible for consideration, the faculty member must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a full-time nine-month teaching faculty contract or a twelve-month teaching, professional, or administrative contract.
  • Minimally hold the rank of Assistant Professor.
  • Have completed six years of creditable service at the time of application for sabbatical leave.
  • Have completed six years of creditable service since a previously awarded sabbatical leave.

Faculty members who are awarded sabbatical leaves shall serve twice the time of the approved leave with pay at the college after return from leave with pay. The number of sabbatical leave awards in any year will depend upon the availability of funds. Funding for sabbatical leaves will be determined each year from funds set aside for faculty professional development. In the event that funds are limited for professional development, sabbatical leaves may not be awarded. Funding determinations will be made by May 1 of each year for the following fiscal year.


Written applications for sabbatical leaves will be submitted on the Sabbatical Leave Proposal Form and shall be submitted no later than April 1 prior to the period of the commencement of the leave. This allows time for full review of proposals and to determine the college's budgetary capability to support sabbatical leaves. Applicants shall submit proposals to their immediate supervisor for review and recommendation. The immediate supervisor shall then forward the proposal to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs for review prior to submission to the Sabbatical Leave Review Committee. The Sabbatical Leave Review Committee shall forward its recommendations to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. The college president shall receive the recommendations of the Sabbatical Leave Review Committee from the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. In the case of sabbatical leaves requested by the college president, the Chancellor shall receive and approve the applications.

Sabbatical Leave Review Committee: The committee will be made up of one faculty representative from each Academic School selected by the respective School Deans, one professional counselor selected by the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, and two administrative/professional faculty members selected by the President. They shall be selected based on their knowledge, teaching effectiveness, and accomplishments at the college. The committee will review all proposals for funding. The review committee's recommendations are not subject to appeal, but the committee will maintain records of its deliberations and, upon written request of an applicant, provide a summary evaluation of the applicant's proposal after the announcement of leave recipients is made. Seniority may be a factor in considering proposals of equal merit since, presumably, the need for renewal is greatest among those with the longest terms of service. All things being equal, preference will be given to senior applicants who have demonstrated a high quality of service to the college. Proposals that show a direct, positive effect on teaching quality through independent study, research, and/or creative work will be given priority. It shall be the function of the review committee to recommend for approval those whose leave will be of maximum benefit to the college, especially its teaching mission. The Sabbatical Leave Review Committee will forward proposals recommended for funding to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. The Vice President will recommend those proposals for funding to the President for final decision and approval.

Faculty members awarded sabbatical leaves shall execute a promissory note as prescribed by Section of the VCCS Policy Manual.

Monetary Compensation and Benefits

The rate of pay while on leave with pay shall be 50 percent of the full-time contract salary in effect on the last contractual workday prior to the effective date of sabbatical leave. Sabbatical leave periods will commence on the first day of an academic semester for teaching faculty, and on the agreed upon date for administrative and professional faculty. Ending dates will be at the end of an academic semester or year for teaching faculty and on the agreed upon date for administrative and professional faculty.

A faculty member who fails to successfully complete any portion of the sabbatical leave will reimburse the college a proportionate amount of the salary received while on sabbatical leave with pay. Faculty members returning from sabbatical leave shall serve twice the period of time on leave in order to satisfy the promissory note. A written report summarizing project accomplishments must be submitted to the faculty member's immediate supervisor and the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, with a copy to the college president.

Upon return from sabbatical leave and into full-time status, the faculty member's rate of pay will reflect any salary scale adjustments that may have occurred during the sabbatical leave period. The time spent on sabbatical leave will count as service credit for purposes of seniority, promotions, and multi-year appointments. Faculty members will not accrue sick leave, personal leave, or annual leave during the sabbatical leave period. The college will continue to pay VRS contributions, all costs for group life insurance, and the state portion of health insurance premiums (the individual portion will be paid by the faculty member through payroll deduction).

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