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POLICY #6.15
SUBJECT: Faculty Leaves


I. PURPOSE

The purpose of this Policy is to describe various types of University leave for faculty and establish policy on the administration of leave.


II. REFERENCES

  1. Southern Utah University Policy 6.0 Definition of Faculty
  2. Southern Utah University Policy 6.1 Faculty Evaluation, Promotion, and Tenure
  3. Southern Utah University Policy 9.3 Emergency Leave
  4. Southern Utah University Policy 9.7 Family and Medical Leave
  5. Southern Utah University Policy 9.8 Military Leave
  6. Southern Utah University Policy 9.9 Reporting Absences
  7. Southern Utah University Policy 9.12 Parental Leave

III. DEFINITIONS

  1. Equivalent Caregiver: A faculty member who is providing equal care for a child as another University faculty member for the same Qualifying Event during the PCMD period.
  2. Parent: A biological or adoptive father or mother who intends to and does care for their new child during the PCMD period.
  3. Parental Caregiving with Modified Duties (PCMD): PCMD is a modification of job duties (partial leave) for eligible faculty, in which the eligible faculty member may request release from instructional/teaching duties during one semester due to a Qualifying Event, while continuing to perform other job responsibilities. This modified-duties approach is aimed at reducing the disruption to students and to allow faculty members to care for their new child(ren).
  4. Primary Caregiver: A Parent who provides the majority (more than 50%) of care for the child following the Qualifying Event.
  5. Qualifying Event: The birth of a child or acceptance of a placement of a child(ren) for adoption (up to six [6] years of age), for whom the benefit-eligible employee is a Parent, and occurring after August 12, 2021.
  6. Sabbatical Leave: Sabbatical Leave is a professional development opportunity available for qualified faculty to engage in planned academic and creative activities that enhance their ability to contribute to the student-centered mission of Southern Utah University. Sabbatical Leave is not a faculty benefit, but a program that facilitates faculty work in various scholarly, professional, educational, and artistic/creative endeavors, that benefit the entire University.

IV. POLICY

  1. Sabbatical Leave
    1. General: A Sabbatical Leave means a leave of absence with compensation for one (1) year or a fraction thereof as determined by the President of the University and the Board of Trustees. Contingent on funding, SUU makes a limited number of Sabbatical Leaves available to qualified faculty members in good standing each year.
    2. Eligibility: The University will consider applications for Sabbatical Leaves from tenured faculty with at least 6 years of full-time faculty employment with a minimum rank of associate professor, and non-tenure-track faculty with at least six (6) years of full-time faculty employment and a minimum rank of assistant professor. Faculty who have been awarded a Sabbatical Leave will be eligible to apply for a subsequent sabbatical after six (6) full years of additional service following the completion of that leave.
    3. Selection: Selection criteria for Sabbatical Leaves include the merit of the proposed use of the Sabbatical Leave time, the applicant’s past performance at SUU, and available resources for Sabbatical Leaves. Sabbatical Leave projects include, but are not limited to time spent in industry enhancing professional skills and competencies, engaging in scholarly/creative endeavors, advancing one’s education, or undertaking systematic efforts designed to improve teaching.

      All qualifying proposals will be analyzed on a case-by-case basis and ranked by the University Faculty Leaves Committee in order of merit. Applications are further prioritized based on the degree to which the sabbatical will enhance the applicant’s ability to contribute to SUU’s student-centric mission. In cases proposals have equal merit, preference will be given to terminally qualified faculty members to revitalize themselves through scholarship, writing, or professional/artistic development.
    4. Compensation
      1. Salary: Faculty on Sabbatical Leave receive 80% of anticipated regular contract salary for nine (9) months' leave (two [2] semesters), or 95% of anticipated regular contract salary for 4.5 months' leave (one [1] semester).
      2. A faculty member will receive fringe benefits while on Sabbatical Leave, provided any appropriate premium deductions are taken from their salary.
      3. A faculty member on Sabbatical Leave is eligible for advancement in rank and for any general or special adjustment in salary received by other faculty members of the University. Faculty on Sabbatical Leave are eligible for internal grants/funds.
      4. A faculty member on Sabbatical Leave may accept a fellowship, assistantship, or external grant, provided their compensation and plan of work are approved by their respective Dean, the Provost, the President, and the Board of Trustees.
      5. Faculty may not accrue unused Sabbatical Leaves nor will the University pay compensatory time for unused Sabbatical Leaves.
    5. Application and Supporting Documentation: A faculty member desiring a Sabbatical Leave must submit the following documents to the Department Chair and Dean for evaluation and action:
      1. An application form that includes the individual’s name, department, title, date of initial appointment to a full-time position, and the period of leave covered by the application.
      2. Statement of leave plans, including a description of activities to be engaged in, goals and objectives to be achieved, feasibility, a timeline and calendar of activities, a statement of anticipated outcomes, and a description of how the proposed project/activity supports the SUU’s mission. The statement of leave plans should not exceed four (4) typed pages. If the project is dependent on research grants or funds not in hand at the time of application, the candidate must provide a statement explaining how they will complete the project without receipt of funds, or include plans for an alternative project. If the project is for the purpose of completing a terminal degree in the area of the faculty member’s teaching appointment, the candidate will provide a statement explaining how the leave will advance the candidate toward degree completion, and how the completion of the terminal degree will support SUU’s mission.
      3. A current curriculum vitae.
    6. Deadlines: To receive adequate consideration, the candidate must submit the application to the Department Chair for review by the Friday of the 5th week after faculty contracts begin. The chair will forward the application to the Dean of the College/School for review by the Friday of the 7th week after faculty contracts begin. The Dean forwards a recommendation to the Chair of the University Faculty Leaves Committee by the Friday of the 9th week after faculty contracts begin of the fiscal year preceding the year for which leave is requested. The University Faculty Leaves Committee chair forwards a list of ranked applications to the Provost by the Friday of the 11th week after faculty contracts begin for submission to the President. The President’s recommendations are then submitted to the Board of Trustees during the December meeting.
    7. Application Evaluation:
      1. The applicant’s Department Chair will attach a letter to the application, addressing: the faculty member’s past performance, the value of the project to the individual and the department, project feasibility, and instructional and financial needs of the department to replace the applicant for the leave period.
      2. The applicant’s Dean will review the application and the Chair’s comments, and will issue a recommendation. The University Faculty Leaves Committee, using criteria outlined in this policy, will evaluate all requests for Sabbatical Leaves, Chair comments, and Dean recommendations, and recommend approval or denial to the Provost. For those proposals recommended for approval, the University Faculty Leaves Committee provides a rank ordering to the Provost. For those proposals recommended for denial, the University Faculty Leaves Committee provides formative feedback to the faculty member’s Department Chair regarding the proposal. Upon request by the faculty member submitting the proposal, the Department Chair reviews that feedback and provides recommendations for improvement.
      3. Criteria for evaluating applications will include adequacy of description, goals, timetables; feasibility of the project, ability of individual to complete the project, value of the project, relevance of the project to the teaching field, and recommendations of the Chair and Dean.
    8. Notification: The Provost will submit the recommended candidates to the President for approval. Following action by the Board of Trustees, the Provost will notify the candidates of approval or denial of the application. Unsuccessful applicants may re-apply the next academic year.
    9. Other Conditions:
      1. All leaves with pay will be subject to both the availability of funds and the availability of suitable replacements.
      2. Assignments of a professor returning from a Sabbatical Leave will be determined by the Department Chair and Dean, in conjunction with the returning faculty. Whenever possible, a faculty member on leave will retain the position and course assignments they left unless other arrangements have been made prior to the leave, and insofar as adjustments in staff will permit. Identical positions are not guaranteed, but a good faith effort will be made to provide returning faculty a smooth transition back into the classroom and any other previously assigned duties.
      3. A Sabbatical Leave is a contract between the University and a faculty member. The faculty member commits to satisfactory performance pursuant to the application for leave and the University allows time and resources for the sabbatical project. The Department Chair and Dean will judge performance using the criteria described above (see Section IV.A.7.c.). At the conclusion of a sabbatical (and any subsequent approved unpaid leave) faculty members are required to return to the University and serve for a length of time equal to the sabbatical taken. Should a faculty member not perform satisfactorily, or choose to not return to the University, they are obligated to repay to the University the amount of compensation (salary and benefits) received while on sabbatical.
      4. The University may grant a year's leave without pay immediately following a Sabbatical Leave, or a Sabbatical Leave immediately following a leave without pay. Such extensions of leaves are subject to the same conditions as those pertaining to the original leave.
      5. At the conclusion of their sabbatical, the faculty member will write a summary report corresponding to the proposal described in Section IV.A.5. above. The Department Chair and Dean will evaluate this report and place it in the professor's departmental file for future consultation when they apply for subsequent sabbaticals. The Dean will send a copy to the Provost and to the University Promotion and Tenure Committee.
  2. Parental Caregiving with Modified Duties (PCMD)
    1. Scope of PCMD
      1. Faculty approved for PCMD as a Primary Caregiver will receive a release for all instructional duties, during one (1) semester (generally 12 or 15 credit hours). Faculty approved for PCMD as Equivalent Caregivers will receive a release for up to half of the courses during one semester of that faculty member’s regularly assigned instructional duties (generally six [6] credit hours).
      2. Faculty are expected to fulfill service and scholarship responsibilities during the PCMD semester. However, faculty may have flexibility on the timing, as approved by the Department Chair, within the semester as to when those responsibilities are fulfilled.
      3. At no time shall PCMD result in compensation in excess of the contracted salary amount for a faculty member. For example, faculty members on nine-month contracts who care for a child after a Qualifying Event during summer semester months do not receive any additional compensation for that time.
    2. Eligibility for PCMD
      1. All full-time faculty members on regular benefit eligible appointments with instructional duties, who becomes a Parent following a Qualifying Event, are eligible for PCMD. If a faculty member needs leave (or schedule modifications or course coverage) for greater than one (1) week as a result of a Qualifying Event, then they must elect PCMD or paid Parental leave.
      2. Except as stated below in Section IV.B.2.d., a faculty member-Parent is only eligible for PCMD if the faculty member is the Primary Caregiver during PCMD.
      3. A faculty member may elect PCMD as described in this Policy OR paid Parental leave as provided in Policy 9.12. The faculty member is eligible for only one benefit, either paid Parental leave or PCMD, per Qualifying Event. Once the faculty member has elected and/or utilized one of the benefits, even in part, they are no longer eligible for the other benefit.
      4. Where both faculty members are Equivalent Caregiver Parents for the same Qualifying Event, such faculty members may elect one (1) of the following:
        1. One (1) Parent elects a full PCMD, which makes the other Parent-employee ineligible for PCMD and paid Parental leave;
        2. Each Parent receives a release from a total of one-half of their regularly assigned instructional duties (i.e., teach 50% of their regularly assigned credit load [or half of the courses to make it as close to 50% of instructional duties as possible]) for one (1) semester;
        3. One (1) Parent receives a release from a total of one-half of their regularly assigned teaching load for one semester under this Policy and the other Parent elects paid Parental leave as the secondary caregiver (two [2] weeks) to the extent qualified under Policy 9.12; or
        4. Both Parents elect paid Parental leave to the extent qualified under Policy 9.12.
        5. Either Parent may decline any leave benefit.
      5. PCMD is not available to a birth Parent who does not become or remain the legal Parent of the child following birth. In such cases, recovery medical leave for the person giving birth may be offered through accrued sick leave and/or FMLA leave as defined in Policy 9.7.
    3. Time Period for PCMD
      1. Modifications to duties shall be for the period of one (1) semester (i.e., Fall, Spring, or Summer).
      2. PCMD shall begin the first day of the Fall, Spring, or Summer semester as defined by the applicable academic calendar and end the day following the last day of the semester, according to the academic calendar.
      3. A faculty member electing to and approved to take PCMD must take PCMD during the semester of the Qualifying Event or if the Qualifying Event is scheduled to or does occur within the last 30 calendar days of the academic semester, then PCMD may be taken in the immediately subsequent semester instead of the semester in which the Qualifying Event occurs. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if a faculty member on an academic year appointment experiences a Qualifying Event in the last 30 days of the Spring semester or between the end of the Spring semester and the beginning of the Fall semester, the faculty member may elect to take PCMD during the Fall semester. Provided however, if the faculty member makes such election for PCMD during the Fall semester and the Qualifying Event occurs or is expected to occur prior to July 1, then the faculty member is ineligible to teach Summer semester courses and receive compensation for those Summer courses.
    4. Compensation and Funding: Coverage for Courses
      1. While on PCMD leave, a faculty member receives 95% of anticipated regular contract salary amount for that time period.
      2. If any salary is received from grants or contracts, that portion must be based on actual effort performed for the award and all award requirements must be met. The University shall not be obligated to pay more than 95% of the faculty member’s contract salary amount for that time period during PCMD leave, including any outside source of compensation.
      3. A faculty member will receive fringe benefits while on PCMD, provided any appropriate premium deductions are paid.
      4. Consistent with current budget practices, as amended from time to time, the Academic Department will receive funds from the Provost’s Office in the form of Adjunct/Overload Funds to fund faculty overloads or adjunct faculty as needed to cover the regularly assigned course load for the faculty member on PCMD.
      5. The Department Chair or supervisor is responsible for finding suitable replacement instruction to cover the courses the faculty member using PCMD would normally have taught for the semester.
    5. Request and Approval Process for PCMD
      1. Employees requesting to take PCMD must fill out required forms and provide information and documentation, as necessary to demonstrate eligibility under this Policy.
      2. Employees should provide as much advance notice as possible and in accordance with applicable instructions on the request form, which may be amended from time to time. The submission and approvals will be as set out on that request form.
      3. If at any time during the request and approval process, the applicable administrator reviewing the request determines that the faculty member is not eligible or otherwise does not meet the requirements in this Policy, then that administrator may consult with Human Resources and either attempt to resolve any outstanding issues or forward to the next-in-line administrator all applicable documents, along with a summary of the issues. The Provost has final authority over eligibility determinations under this Policy.
    6. Relationship to Other Policies and Processes
      1. Sabbatical or Other Leave: Other leave that has been taken or is scheduled to be taken by a faculty member shall not preclude eligibility for PCMD. PCMD shall have no bearing on eligibility for subsequent Sabbatical Leave for the faculty member.
      2. PCMD leave under this Policy, to the extent of the percentage of appointment for which the faculty member is relieved of job duties, are substituted for unpaid care-giving leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
      3. A faculty member on PCMD is eligible for advancement in rank and for any general or special adjustment in salary received by other faculty members of the University.
      4. A faculty member on PCMD may not take on any overload teaching responsibilities during PCMD.
    7. Relationship to Tenure Process
      1. Faculty should work with their Promotion and Tenure Mentorship Team and Department Chair to modify the faculty member’s FEC Plan as appropriate to clarify service and scholarship expectations during the PCMD period (Policy 6.1).
      2. Upon approval of a PCMD request, a tenure-eligible faculty member may seek a one-year extension of their pre-tenure probationary period (Policy 6.1). If applicable, post-tenure review (Policy 6.1) may be postponed for one (1) year if PCMD is used. In the event multiple leaves are taken, additional time may be granted by special permission from the Department Chair, Academic Dean, and Provost.
    8. Questions about PCMD should be directed to the Office of the Provost and/or Human Resources.
  3. Leave of Absence Without Pay
    1. Faculty who desire leave without pay should apply in writing to their Department Chair (or equivalent). The Chair, Dean, Provost, and President must each evaluate the application and make recommendation for approval by the Board of Trustees. In considering applications for leave without pay, chairs and deans must take care to protect academic quality and minimize disruption. There is no specific application deadline, but the application must allow sufficient time for making suitable replacement arrangements. For informational purposes, the Provost will notify the University Faculty Leaves Committee upon granting such leaves without pay.
    2. On returning after the leave, the faculty member will retain the position they left insofar as adjustments in staff will permit, but identical positions are not guaranteed. A good-faith effort will be made to provide returning faculty a smooth transition back into the classroom and any other previously assigned duties. The faculty member must negotiate individually any leave extension with their Department Chair. Extensions will not be granted without approval of the respective Dean, the Provost, the President, and the Board of Trustees. If the faculty member does not return to the University for at least one (1) year immediately following the leave and extension, if any, the University, by this Policy, will regard the employee as having resigned on the date the leave began.
  4. General Conditions Pertaining to Faculty Leaves
    1. The applicant will receive notice of the action of the Board of Trustees and the President not later than 90 days from the date of application. In the event of disapproval, the applicant will receive from the Provost, in writing, the reasons for disapproval.
    2. Requests for leave from small and large units will receive equal consideration.
  5. Other Leave

    University faculty members follow policy regarding other types of employee leave such as military, emergency, and family leave, as well as policy regarding the reporting of leave.

VI. QUESTIONS/RESPONSIBLE OFFICE

The responsible office for this Policy is the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. For questions about this Policy, contact the Provost’s Office and/or Human Resources.


VII. POLICY ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT DATES

Date Approved: September 21, 1990

Amended: March 11, 2005; January 13, 2012; March 19, 2021; August 12, 2021