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Sabbatical Leave Implementation Information

Sabbatical leaves make an especially important contribution to the vitality of individual faculty members and to the quality of Michigan State University. The Faculty Handbook contains the University's policy on sabbatical leaves, including expectations and eligibility requirements.

Implementation of MSU's sabbatical leave policy must proceed in ways which both advance University excellence and make effective use of scarce resources, especially in times of University budgetary stringency.

General Policy Issues

Deans, chairpersons and directors must address in writing the following general policy issues in the consideration and endorsement of each sabbatical leave request:

  1. A sabbatical is not granted automatically, i.e. it is not an entitlement. Chairpersons, directors and deans must inform faculty that each sabbatical request is reviewed by the chairperson/director, the dean and by the Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs as the Provost's designee. Sabbatical requests may be denied at each administrative level. Accordingly, the normal six-month lead time requirement for requesting sabbatical leaves should be adhered to by faculty members and academic units to permit sabbatical review/evaluation and effective planning.

  2. A sabbatical leave is intended for the mutual benefit of the faculty member and the university. Academic unit and dean's office endorsements must state clearly in writing the expected benefit of the sabbatical leave outcome for the department/school, college and university i.e., the institution's return on investment entailed in a commitment to a sabbatical leave. This endorsement should be detailed enough to permit review and endorsement by academic unit administrators and the Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs. A faculty member's past meritorious achievements as reflected in awards, other recognition and merit and market salary adjustments, etc. are relevant to evaluation of the merit, including potential outcomes of a sabbatical leave request.

  3. As required by the sabbatical leave policy, the faculty member must provide the department, school or non-departmentally organized college administrator with a sabbatical leave report evaluating the experience and impact of the sabbatical, particularly as it relates to the expectations set forth in the original sabbatical leave request.

Specifics of Implementation

  1. Applications for a full year of sabbatical leave (with reduced pay) have precedence over shorter term sabbatical leaves (with full pay). The written endorsement by chairs/directors and deans must justify requests for a short-term leave with full pay, especially in terms of the specific interest to the department/school, college and university. Likewise, sabbatical leaves taken in the East Lansing community require justification as distinct from leaves at other locations. In many cases the latter are desirable in that they provide opportunities for connection and interaction with non-MSU faculty, programs and activities. Explicit written justification is expected regarding endorsement of a sabbatical leave in which the assignment location is in the East Lansing area.

  2. As specified in the policy, faculty who are recipients of a sabbatical leave are obligated to return to MSU for the following year.

  3. Written endorsement requests by chairpersons/directors and deans must certify that the sabbatical leave request will not impact efficiency of instruction, research and outreach/service programs of the unit. Arrangements must be made and certified, especially in the case of six-month leaves with full pay to ensure that instructional and other academic unit activities are carried out.

This summary of implementation points are the restatements and interpretations of the current MSU policy on sabbatical leaves. It does not reflect any change in policy. In addition, all other provisions of the sabbatical leave policy not referred here remain in force.

Sabbatical Leave Information form

The Sabbatical Leave Information form is submitted (instead of the Information for Leave of Absence form) as an attachment to the Leave of Absence form for sabbatical leave requests.