University of Pittsburgh

Leaves of Absence: Sabbatical Leave

Policy Sabbatical and Research Leaves at the University Of Pittsburgh

The University recognizes the importance of occasional periods of leave from normal University duties when faculty members may benefit from new experiences designed both to advance their own professional standing and, upon their return to their regular activities, to enrich their teaching and research.  The Provost will evaluate requests for continuation of partial or full salary, as in the case of sabbatical leaves, on the basis of expected benefit of the proposed program of leave to both the individual and the University. 

A sabbatical leave may be awarded to a tenured faculty member who has served at least six years after initial appointment in the tenure stream or after return from a previous sabbatical leave.  Periods of leaves of absence without pay are not counted as part of the six years.  If a sabbatical leave is delayed at the University's request, the period before a subsequent sabbatical leave may be shortened by an amount not exceeding the extent of the requested delay.

Sabbatical leaves may be approved for either a full appointment year at one-half salary, or one-half the appointment year at full salary.  Teaching for a faculty member on annual appointment who is awarded a six-month sabbatical leave at full pay should be arranged so as to minimize the effect of the leave on the teaching program of the faculty member's academic unit.

A faculty member on sabbatical leave at half-pay may supplement his or her income by fellowship awards or grants paid directly to the individual by an outside agency or by grant payments from an external agency paid through the University, provided the granting agency approves such a payment.  Sabbatical salary plus grant payment through the University, exclusive of travel, subsistence, or research support, may not exceed the total contractual University salary for the sabbatical period.  Additional compensation for services to outside employers is allowed only if the services are consistent with the proposed program for the sabbatical.  A request for permission to engage in such services must be made as part of the sabbatical application.

In accepting the award of a sabbatical leave, a faculty member agrees to submit a brief report to his or her Dean within one term of return from the leave, summarizing the sabbatical activities and indicating the extent to which the purposes of the leave described in the proposal were achieved.  The faculty member also agrees to return to full-time service at the University for at least one year following the leave or to refund sabbatical payments to the University.

There are no fixed quotas by school, campus, or department; however, the granting of a sabbatical leave depends on the availability of funds and the unit's ability to maintain necessary teaching schedules, either by reallocation of work among other staff members or, where the budget permits, through temporary replacements.

Sabbatical leaves are approved by the Provost.  Applications should be forwarded before December 1 of the academic year preceding the desired period of leave.  Each application should include a prospectus of the projected scholarly or other appropriate activity, a summary of the applicant's recent research record including publications and grants, a reference to the dates of previous sabbatical leaves and of accomplishments during those periods, a statement of the dates of the requested leave and of the place where the sabbatical will be spent, and a disclosure of any anticipated external support.  The application should first be submitted for approval by the appropriate department chairperson and dean or campus president, and in the area of the health sciences, the Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences.  The administrator, in forwarding a recommendation to the Provost, should indicate how the academic needs of the unit will be met during the proposed leave, in both programmatic and budgetary terms.

Faculty members are encouraged to apply for nationally competitive fellowship awards, even if they are not eligible to apply for a sabbatical leave.  Salary supplementation may be requested of the department chairman and dean and, if the dean approves, the Provost, to help to bring combined payments up to the full University contract salary.  In the case of a substantial University contribution, the remaining qualifying period for a subsequent sabbatical leave may be extended.  Because of varying dates of award of such fellowships, a fixed deadline for making formal application for this type of leave with salary supplementation cannot be established, but a faculty member who intends to make such request should have informal discussions with the department chair or dean prior to submitting the fellowship application, and the dean should keep the Provost informed.

The University will encourage particularly promising assistant professors to bring major scholarly projects to completion prior to the time when a tenure decision must be made, by providing a term at full salary, free of teaching and other University obligations.  This opportunity is intended primarily for those working in areas where external research support is not available.  Normally, the faculty member should have been in the tenure stream at the University for at least three years and preference will be given to those who have handled relatively large numbers of students in their classes.  Requests should be made to the department chairman or dean and, if the dean approves, to the Provost by December 1.