Faculty Sabbatical Leave Due electronically by November 1, 2023.


Undergraduate faculty applications for paid sabbatical leaves for all or part of the 2024-2025 academic year, are due November 1, 2023 electronically. Sabbatical leaves, though seldom denied, are not an entitlement; they are granted for the purpose of professional development to enhance the ability of our faculty to be excellent teachers and scholars. Sometimes, if too many from one department are eligible for leave in the same year, or if there is insufficient budget to hire replacement teaching, applicants may be asked to adjust or delay their sabbatical plans.

Before applying, please review the eligibility criteria and conditions in the Faculty Handbook. Faculty members taking advantage of the sabbatical leave program are expected to return to serve the University for a minimum of two years after completing the leave. Normally, tenured faculty are eligible for one term of paid leave after serving full-time for four years. You also have the option to apply for a full year at half pay, or for a full year with an accompanying application for additional salary support (see "B. Funding for Full-year Sabbaticals" below). Grants to supplement salary for a full year are limited in number and quite competitive.

Although we will attempt to accommodate faculty on leave with working space on campus if requested, you are advised that you may not be able to occupy your office during the leave. Owing to the press of space we are now experiencing, first priority for office space will be to accommodate teaching faculty.

Your leave application must include a detailed description of your leave project, project location, time required for completion, and the specific end product(s) of your proposed work. Before preparing your application, please discuss your leave plans with your department head to explain the professional purpose of the leave, and to determine whether and how your department can accommodate your absence for the proposed leave period. Note that funds for replacement teaching are very limited and should not be counted on unless the Dean has approved. Your department head must sign the application to indicate that he/she approves your plans, and that necessary teaching assignments can be covered in your absence. Please submit your application and current CV electronically and ask your department head to send their letter of support to SabbaticalLeave@wlu.edu. Your application will be received by the appropriate offices. Applications will be considered by the Advisory Committee. 

When evaluating requests for paid leaves, the Advisory Committee must be satisfied that the proposal anticipates a well-defined outcome, such as:

1. the completion of a scholarly work, artistic product, or performance.

2. the development of a new teaching or programmatic initiative for the applicant.

Visiting teaching positions during paid leaves must be justified by their integral contributions to the above criteria and will not in any case be permitted to compensate for more than expenses associated with the sabbatical leave.

The Advisory Committee will assess proposals based on:

1. scholarly or artistic merit, and/or the potential for enhancement of pedagogy, courses, or curriculum; and

2. the past performance of the applicant in achieving the goals of earlier leaves granted by the University.


Proposals for a full-year leave that request additional salary funding are welcome, but bear in mind that funds are limited and the competition may be strong. Through the generosity of Mr. H.G. Lenfest, several internal grants that bring the annual salary as close to 85% of current base pay (current in the application year) as funding allows will be available to tenured faculty in support of year-long sabbatical leaves. In addition, the Lenfest endowment may allow as many as three additional grants supporting close to 100% of current base salary for tenured Associate Professors with exceptional scholarly promise and these special awards will be designated Lenfest Sabbatical Fellowships; only one such award may be granted to an individual during her/his career. Faculty eligible to apply for full-year funded sabbatical leaves are those who: a) are tenured at the time of application (note: application may not be made in the same year as the tenure decision is made), and b) apply within 8 years of the tenure decision at W&L; Note that any incremental salary increases that result from annual raises or from a tenure and/or promotion decision between the time that sabbatical funding application is made and the sabbatical year will not necessarily be included in determining the amount of supplement awarded.

There is no provision for funding sabbatical project or travel expenses or replacement teaching; only salary can be funded by this program.

Decisions on applications for full-year sabbatical funding will be made with the following considerations:

1. A letter explaining the rationale for requesting a full-year funded leave must be submitted along with a current CV and the leave application called for in Section A above. The package should be submitted electronically by November 1, 2023.

2. The Advisory Committee will review applications for funding according to the following criteria:

a. merits of the leave proposal as noted above under Section A.

b. evidence that the applicant has sought outside funding for the project. Summaries of external grant application activity should be submitted along with the application for W&L funds. See http://fgs.wlu.edu/ for info and assistance for external funding.

c. preference for scholarly work over development of pedagogy or courses.

d. convincing rationale for needing a full-year vs. a half-year to complete the objectives.

3. Conditions of grant awards:

a. leaves must be for a full year

b. leaves must be approved by the Advisory Committee, Dean, Provost, and President.

c. arrangements must have been made through the department head and dean to handle courses of person on leave as necessary to sustain curricular offerings.

d. for some types of funding, a public lecture on the research completed must be given sometime during the year following the sabbatical leave.

4. If an application for external funding is successful after a W&L grant is awarded, the faculty member must notify the Provost immediately. The external award can be used along with the W&L grant to equal but not exceed the faculty member’s base salary for the sabbatical year. Any W&L funding thus released by the use of the external award may be used to fund another faculty member who was wait-listed for a grant.