Faculty Development Leave

Academic Affairs

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About Faculty Development Leave

Faculty development leaves are intended to allow full-time faculty members time for further professional development through significant scholarly/creative projects that are designed to improve their capabilities as faculty and hence to increase their future contribution to the mission of USC Aiken. Faculty development leave is designed to permit a faculty member to achieve professional goals that could be achieved, if at all, only over an extended period of time if pursued while fulfilling the requirements of regular university duties. Faculty development leaves may not be used for work toward an advanced degree.

Before the faculty development leave period begins, the faculty member should contact the USC Aiken Human Resources Office for information on the continuation of health and dental, insurance and other employee benefits during the leave period. All benefits continue for full-time faculty throughout a sabbatical whether it is a year or a semester. Faculty members on twelve-month contracts do not accumulate annual leave while on faculty development leave.

The faculty development leave is a privilege, awarded after a competitive peer-review process. The normal sabbatical award is one half year at full pay or one full year at half pay.

Award Process

The award process includes the following steps:

  • Development of application
  • Endorsement of the academic unit head
  • Application and the endorsement from the academic unit head submitted to the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
  • Review and recommendation by the Sabbatical Review Committee
  • Approval by the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Chancellor

The expectation is that no more than four awards will be made yearly.

Submission Deadline

The submission deadline is February 6, 2023. 

Criteria for Evaluation of Proposals

The primary criteria for sabbatical awards are the probable value of the sabbatical leave experience in increasing the professional competence of the faculty member as well as its value to the academic programs in which the applicant participates and to the applicant's field of study. The applicant's professional record will also be considered.


Faculty who are tenured associate professors or professors with six or more years of full-time faculty status at USC Aiken are eligible. Faculty who have received a sabbatical in the past must complete six years of further full-time service at USC Aiken before they are eligible for another award.

Conditions of Awards

  • If an applicant receives a sabbatical leave that depends upon additional funding which fails to materialize, the individual will report the problem through the academic unit head to the Executive Vice Chancellor who will review the situation, including the applicant's alternate plan for addressing the objectives of the sabbatical, and will decide whether or not to permit the sabbatical.
  • If a faculty member declines a leave or if the university withdraws the leave due to financial or unit-level considerations, the faculty member docs not lose eligibility for further awards of sabbatical leaves and may re-apply, without prejudice, the next year.
  • If a faculty member declines an award for whatever reason, there is no guarantee of an award in the future.
  • A complete report which addresses sabbatical activities and objectives will be forwarded through the academic unit head to the Executive Vice Chancellor no later than three months after the faculty member returns to teaching duties . If a faculty member fails to submit a written report within the allotted time, or if the Executive Vice Chancellor, in consultation with the academic unit head, judges that the faculty member has failed to complete a reasonable amount of work on the project outlined in the faculty member's sabbatical proposal, the Executive Vice Chancellor may require the faculty member to refund all or part of the monies received as salary during the period of sabbatical leave.
  • Applicants awarded leaves are expected to return to the university for at least one year after the leave. If granted a sabbatical leave, the faculty member will be required to sign a statement to the effect that he/she agrees to return to USC Aiken for at least one academic year at the end of the leave period. If a faculty member does not return, for whatever reason, the faculty member will be liable to USC Aiken for the full amount of salary paid to that faculty member during the period of the sabbatical leave. In the event of the faculty member's death or permanent disability due to ill health or accident while on sabbatical leave, USC Aiken will not exercise its right to the return of full payment of salary.

Preparation of the Application

To be considered for faculty development leave, the online faculty development leave request form must be submitted by the faculty member. A proposal must be atatched to the form which addresses the following:

  • The duration of the proposed sabbatical leave and the preferred dates
  • The length of USC Aiken employment
  • Any previous USC Aiken sabbatical leaves received and the outcome of those leaves
  • The objectives which the applicant plans to achieve during or as a result of the proposed sabbatical leave
  • The plan whereby the applicant intends to achieve his or her objectives
  • The expected results of the sabbatical leave, both for the individual and for the university
  • Any preparation made for the proposed sabbatical leave
  • Any additional financial support required for achieving the objectives of the sabbatical leave. The source of this funding should be indicated, along with an estimate of the probability of success in obtaining the funds. Finally, the applicant must indicate to what extent it will be possible to complete the goals of the sabbatical if the additional funds are not awarded. If there is an alternative plan, it should be presented.
  • Any awarded, pending, or expected additional funding through Sponsored Awards Management or some external agency

Each proposal must also include the applicant's current curriculum vita (not to exceed ten pages, twelve-point font, one-inch margins) and an endorsement letter from the academic unit head.

View Leave Request Form

Department/School Support

The academic unit head should provide a letter that addresses the following topics:

  • The extent to which the objectives of the project will contribute to the professional development of the faculty member and to the objectives and needs of the department/ school
  • The specific plans of the department/school to adjust to the absence of the faculty member if leave is granted
  • If there are more proposals than one from a department, the unit head must rank order them in terms of potential benefit to the applicants and to the department/school.

Note: No department/school may have more than one faculty member on sabbatical leave in any given spring or fall semester.

Sabbatical Review Committee Membership 

The Sabbatical Review Committee shall be comprised of three full-time tenured faculty members with at least six years of full-time faculty status at USC Aiken. The committee shall be appointed by the Executive Vice Chancellor in consultation with the Faculty Welfare Committee. At least two members shall come from the previous two years' sabbatical award recipients. To provide continuity, each year the Executive Vice Chancellor will reappoint one committee member and ask that faculty member to serve as committee chair in the following academic year. Additionally, each member of the Sabbatical Review Committee must be from a different department or school.

Upon receipt of the sabbatical leave applications from the Executive Vice Chancellor, the members of the Sabbatical Review Committee will review the applications. Each member of the committee will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal and then rank order all proposals. The committee chair will tally the rankings and present them to the members of the committee for further discussion, if needed, and for a final recommendation. When the committee has concluded its work, the chair will report the committee's final recommendations to the Executive Vice Chancellor.

The Executive Vice Chancellor will base the final decision on the recommendation of the Sabbatical Review Committee as well as on the impact of the proposed leave upon department/school operations and resources. The Executive Vice Chancellor will report annually to the Faculty Welfare Committee on the awards and review process for the preceding year.