E18.0 Faculty Leave for Professional/Career Development

Scope: Full-time tenured faculty with a minimum of six years of service.

I. Purpose

The purpose of a faculty leave for professional/career development is to encourage and assist an individual to become a more valuable member of the university by engaging in some form of advanced study, writing, research, or other creative activity.

II. Eligibility

The candidate for leave shall have served as a full-time member of the faculty for a minimum of six years. Only tenured faculty are eligible to apply for a professional/career development leave. After having been granted a leave, a faculty member will again become eligible for a professional/career development  leave only after serving six years as a full-time faculty member at the university, dating from the end of the academic year during which the previous leave took place.

The professional/career development leave of absence is not guaranteed to an individual by the university. Such a leave is a privilege and not a right of employment. The mere completion of the minimum number of years of employment does not in itself justify the expectation of a professional/career development leave.

III. Administration of Leave for Professional/Career Development

  1. Application

    The applicant shall file an application for professional/career development leave with the academic department chair on or before September 1 of the academic year prior to that in which the leave is requested. This shall contain the following:

    1. The application for leave form;

    2. A proposal that shall not exceed six pages, plus appendices, and shall include, at a minimum, the following:

      1. A summary of planned activities during the leave;

      2. The benefit of the leave to the university and to the professional development of the faculty member;

      3. The resources needed to accomplish the objectives of the leave; and,

      4. The expected outcomes (including deliverables or achievements) from the leave; and

      5. If the candidate has had a prior leave for professional/career development, the submitted report of the outcomes of the most recent prior leave for  professional/ career development proposal shall be included as part of the appendices.  This is required for prior leaves awarded in 2014 or later, and recommended for prior leaves before 2014.

    By September 15, the academic department head shall forward the application to the dean with a recommendation for approval/disapproval, as well as a statement as to how the professional/career development leave would affect the operation of the department.

    By October 15, the dean shall then forward the application with the academic department chair and the dean's comments and recommendations for approval/disapproval to the provost and the committee.

  2. The Committee on Professional Development Leave

    The provost shall convene the Committee on Professional Development Leave consisting of: two academic administrators (deans or academic department chairs) appointed by the provost; and three faculty members with the rank of associate professor or professor appointed by the Faculty Senate. No college shall have more than one member on the committee. The committee shall elect its own chair. The provost's appointees serve staggered two-year terms and the Faculty Senate appointees serve staggered three-year terms. The Faculty Senate will identify its appointee(s) prior to the provost's appointment(s).

  3. Evaluation of Request for Leave

    The principal criteria used by the committee in evaluating candidates' applications will be:

    1. The merit of the plan submitted;

    2. The contribution of the proposal to the faculty member's professional/career objectives;

    3. The individual's past and potential contribution to the university.

    By December 15, the committee will submit to the provost a list, in recommended order of merit, of those faculty members whose proposals it deems worthy and in the best interest of the university. The committee will also indicate those applicants whose absence, according to administrative officers, would seriously hamper the operation of the department. Likewise, the committee will indicate those applications they do not recommend.

    By January 5, the provost shall forward to the president the recommendations of the committee together with the provost's own comments and recommendations.

    By January 31, the provost shall announce final decisions, as confirmed by the president, regarding professional/career development leaves. In cases where leaves are not approved, applicants will receive an explanation of the reason(s) their leaves were denied

  4. Length of Leave, Compensation and Benefits during Leave

    Typically, a faculty member on an academic year contract (9 months) would be eligible for leave and compensation as follows:

    1. Two semester leave at 50% of regular academic year (9-month) salary.

    2. One semester leave at 100% pay for the 9-month period.

    Typically, a faculty member on a 12-month contract would be eligible for leave and compensation as follows:

    1. Full year leave, including summer, at 50% of the 12-month salary.

    2. One semester leave (fall, spring, or summer) at 100% pay for the 12-month period.

    Benefits shall be continued during the leave. Contributions to the retirement plan will be based on the actual salary paid to the faculty member during the leave.A faculty member may accept other grants, awards, or income during a leave, but must remain in compliance with RIT's Individual Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy (C4.0).

  5. Modification to the Approved Professional/Career Development Leave

    In cases where there is a modification in the timing, outcomes, deliverables, or proposed achievements of the faculty member’s approved leave for professional or career development, the faculty member shall consult with the department head regarding the significance of the modification. If the department head determines that the modification is significant, the department head shall ask the faculty member to submit a formal request. The department head will forward the request, along with his/her recommendation, to the dean. The dean shall consult with the department head and the faculty member and if the dean is in agreement with the modification, the dean shall notify the faculty member of the decision regarding the modification of the approved leave. If the dean disagrees with the department head’s recommendation or the dean agrees with the department head but determines that the modification requires provost’s approval, the dean shall forward the request, the dean’s recommendation, and the department chair's recommendation to the provost. The provost shall notify the faculty member of the decision regarding the modification of the approved leave.

  6. Obligations for Further Service

    Once the request for professional/career development leave has been approved, the provost will notify the recipient in writing of specific conditions of the leave. Specific information about salary and benefits during the leave will be sent to the recipient by the Department of Human Resources.

    The recipient of a professional/career development leave is obligated to return to the university for a period of one academic year following the leave period. If this obligation is not met, the recipient must refund any payments received during the leave. The terms of repayment shall be specified in writing. Usually, repayment must be made within five years.

  7. Summary of Accomplishments

    Within two months after the end of the professional/career leave, the faculty member shall submit to the department head a report of professional activities identifying the outcomes accomplished during the leave. The department head shall complete an evaluation of the professional/career development leave outcomes and forward it with the faculty member’s report to the dean who will then forward the report and evaluation to the provost.

Responsible Office:
Faculty Senate and the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. Inquiries can be directed to:

Faculty Senate:
2106 Eastman Hall

Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs:
Assistant Vice President
2125 Eastman Hall

Effective Date:
Approved November 25, 1963

Policy History:
Revised January 13, 1982 
Edited August 2010
Revision approved April 26, 2012
Revision approved December 10, 2015 – section II.A.2.e; section II.E., section II.G.
Edited 9/2018 to reflect change in faculty appointment period from 9.5 to 9 months