University of Wisconsin–Madison

Faculty Sabbatical Leave Program

Plans Available

Sabbatical leave for one semester of an academic year and receive from the School/College/Department financial support at any level up to the faculty member’s full salary compensation for that period. Sabbatical leave for a period of up to one academic year (and not cross academic years) and receive from the School/College/Department financial support at any level up to sixty-five percent* of salary for that period, in accordance with the faculty member’s school/college policies.

*Note: percentage of salary compensation may vary from college to college.

Application Procedures

Applicants should submit their proposal to the chair of their department using the online submission program at apps.ohr.wisc.edu/staffdev. If the faculty member has an appointment in more than one department, the online proposal should be directed to the chair of their major department. Send a printed copy to the second and/or third department chairs, as appropriate.

The online proposal will ask you to attach the following documents (in PDF format):

  1. Summary of current vita (2-3 pages maximum);
  2. Description of the proposed sabbatical program including its anticipated benefits to the instructional mission of the department, program or school/college (2-3 double-spaced typed pages).

Within the proposal, you will find these forms:

  1. Compensation Received During Sabbatical Assignment Form. List all grants and pending awards to be used during the sabbatical. If you are unsure if you will be receiving grants and/or awards, please enter a “0.” Note: Faculty members are not eligible to receive a Sabbatical and Faculty Development Grant during the same time period.
  2. Agreement Form. Note: A faculty member must agree to return to UW–Madison for at least one academic year of service after the conclusion of the sabbatical, or repay any compensation (salary, plus the University’s share of fringe benefits) received from the UW System during the sabbatical. (This condition will be interpreted to mean that the faculty shall be in residence as a full-time faculty member at UW–Madison for at least one academic year after the leave in order that the results and benefits of the sabbatical experience can be shared with colleagues and students.)

Each proposal must be reviewed by the Department Executive Committee. If a department has multiple applicants, the proposals should be ranked by the Executive Committee. Online applications will be forwarded to the appropriate dean/director (check with your chair or the dean’s office for the due date), with a letter (included within the online proposal in PDF format) from the chair providing:

  1. Department Executive Committee approval of the sabbatical plan;
  2. A specific outline of the source of support for the sabbatical (colleague coverage, temporary lecturer, or the like), and
  3. A brief statement noting the anticipated benefits to the department if the leave is awarded. Deans/Directors will arrange for faculty review of applications from their schools/colleges, consider them in light of budgetary resources available, and electronically submit the online proposal(s) to the Office of Human Resources by October 2, 2020. In the case of faculty members with split appointments, the second (and third, if applicable) department chair(s) must send a letter by e-mail indicating its Department Executive Committee approval to the Dean’s office so that it may be inserted into the online application. The dean’s office should upload the letter into the approval box located within the online proposal.

Instructions for the online proposal are included below.

Proposals are then reviewed and evaluated by the Provost’s Office to insure they adhere to campus and system guidelines, and are forwarded to the UW System by the Chancellor. Awards are announced at the December Board of Regents’ meeting and successful applicants will be notified by January 2021.

Submit your proposal

Guidelines

Eligibility

A faculty member is eligible for a sabbatical under the following terms:

  1. A faculty member must have completed six or more years of full-time service, or its equivalent, in the UW System and not have taken a sabbatical within the UW System during the prior six years of full-time service or equivalent.
  2. Leaves of absence, regardless of funding source (including personal resources), will be excluded in determining years of full-time service.
  3. Preference will be given to those making significant contributions to teaching and those who have not had a leave of absence, regardless of funding source, in the prior four years.
  4. A sabbatical will not be awarded to:
    1. a faculty member denied reappointment to a permanent position in the year following a sabbatical leave, or
    2. a faculty member who does not plan to return to the institution from which the leave is granted for at least one academic year of full-time service after the conclusion of the sabbatical.

Types

There are two types of sabbatical leaves available to UW–Madison faculty:

  1. Sabbatical leave for a period of up to one academic year (and not cross academic years) and receive from the School/College/Department financial support at any level up to 65 percent of his/her salary for that period, in accordance with the faculty member’s school/college policies. Note: percentage of salary compensation may vary from college to college.
  2. Sabbatical leave for one semester of an academic year and receive from the School/College/Department financial support at any level up to the faculty member’s full salary compensation for that period. NOTE: Creditable service for retirement purposes will vary depending on the length of the sabbatical and the level of compensation. A faculty member considering a sabbatical leave request should consult with a fringe benefits counselor prior to submitting a formal request. (Office of Human Resources/Benefit Services – 262-5650)

Conditions

The following conditions govern the UW–Madison program:

  1. Salary funds generated by academic year sabbatical leaves, leaves without pay, by personnel turnover, or by personnel reassignment from GPR support may be used to employ, where necessary, temporary replacement instructional staff to maintain the level and quality of instructional services to students.
  2. Sabbatical leaves are awarded for the academic and not calendar year. For purposes of the sabbatical program, sabbatical leaves refer to the period of August through May.
  3. A faculty member may receive and is encouraged to seek supplementary grants or other awards while on sabbatical, but such compensation, when combined with the amount of institutional compensation, shall not exceed the full compensation normally received from the UW System for that period. However, the faculty member may seek additional support specifically for travel or unusual living expenses incident to the sabbatical program without restriction by the full compensation maximum. If, however, the additional support is from UW–Madison funds, the request must state the source of the additional funding, and the funding chosen must permit the types of expenses anticipated. THE DEAN MUST APPROVE THE REQUEST PRIOR TO THE BEGINNING OF THE SABBATICAL. The Dean has the discretion to approve or deny the request. In the sabbatical application, the faculty must specify all grants or other awards applied for that are intended for use during the period of the sabbatical.
  4. Such additional grants or awards may be received by the faculty member only if the conditions for accepting the additional resources do not interfere with the stated purposes of a faculty member’s sabbatical program.
  5. A faculty member may not use the sabbatical to accept other paid employment during the period of the leave, unless it has been stipulated in the application for the sabbatical and agreed to by the Dean/Director. If so stipulated, #3 applies.
  6. A faculty member must agree to return to UW–Madison for at least one academic year of service after the conclusion of the sabbatical, or repay any compensation (salary, plus the University’s share of fringe benefits) received from the UW System during the sabbatical. (This condition will be interpreted to mean that the faculty shall be in residence as a fulltime faculty member at UW–Madison for at least one academic year after the leave in order that the results and benefits of the sabbatical experience can be shared with colleagues and students.)
  7. Within three months of returning to UW–Madison, a faculty member must submit to the Department Chair, Dean’s/Director’s office, and the UW–Madison Provost (attention Phoua Holt, 117 Bascom Hall) a written report outlining the accomplishments and it must specifically explain how instruction was enhanced during the sabbatical leave (2-3 pages). NOTE: Fall sabbatical reports are due March 31; Spring and Academic Year sabbatical reports are due August 31.
  8. Each faculty member must fill out, sign and submit with the application the Compensation Form and Agreement Form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do faculty need to have six years of full-time service to be eligible for a sabbatical at the time of the application or at the time of the requested sabbatical?

Faculty need to have completed six years of full-time service by the start of the requested sabbatical.

If I had a faculty position at another institution outside the UW System prior to coming to UW–Madison, will that time count toward my six years of full-time service?

No.

Can a faculty member who has held the title of “lecturer” or “visiting professor” have that time count toward completing six or more years of full-time instructional service?

No.

If I recently took a leave of absence, will that affect my eligibility in meeting the six-year requirement?

It will, if at any time during the leave you were off the university’s payroll.

If I recently took a leave of absence in the past four years will that affect my ranking or priority for a sabbatical?

Leave taken in the past four years can be a mechanism used by the dean to determine which faculty will be approved for a sabbatical if a decision has to be made between faculty members.

May I split my sabbatical between academic years or semesters?

No. The sabbatical must be taken during the fall or spring semester, or during the academic year (August-May).

If I have not received tenure yet, may I still apply for a sabbatical?

Yes, but you must be a tenured faculty member by the time the sabbatical begins.

May I take another one-year sabbatical in four or five years rather than waiting for six years?

No.

May I seek supplementary grants or awards during the time of my sabbatical?

Yes. A faculty member may receive supplementary grants or other awards while on sabbatical, but any compensation (when combined with the amount of institutional compensation) may not exceed the full compensation normally received from the UW-System for that time period. Also, any compensation must be approved by the dean PRIOR TO the start of the sabbatical.

Can I apply for a faculty development grant and sabbatical for the same time frame?

Yes, but if you are awarded a faculty development grant for the same time period, you must decide which of the two to accept. You may not use/take a sabbatical and faculty development grant during the same time period.

Will taking a sabbatical affect my retirement or health insurance coverage?

Neither your health insurance nor your retirement benefits will be effected. However, employees on sabbatical are required to pay the full employee WRS contribution on compensation they would have earned absent the sabbatical, regardless of how much they actually get paid during the sabbatical. If you are within three years of retirement or if you have any questions about the effect of a sabbatical on your benefits, you should consult with a benefits counselor prior to submitting a formal sabbatical request.

If I miss the departmental deadline to request a sabbatical, may I still submit an application?

You would need to talk to your department or program chair.

If I need to change the dates of my sabbatical, whom do I need to contact?

Your department or program chair and your dean need to agree to the change. Once approved, the deans’ office must send a memo regarding the approved change to the Office of Human Resources.

After being approved for a sabbatical, can I request that it be delayed to the next fiscal year?

No, you would need to reapply for a sabbatical for the next year.

Do I have to submit a sabbatical report?

Yes.

When is the sabbatical report due?

Reports for fall sabbaticals are due March 31st; reports for spring sabbaticals and academic year sabbaticals are due August 31st.

How long does the sabbatical report need to be?

Two to three pages.

Why do I have to repay my sabbatical costs if I do not return for one year of instructional service after my sabbatical has been completed? Are there any exceptions to this requirement?

This is statutory requirement (Wis Stats 36.11(17)(f)) and the university is obligated to collect the amount owed. The law does not provide for any exceptions.

What is my repayment responsibility if I am able to return for less than a full academic year following my sabbatical?

Returning to UW–Madison for an amount of time less than one full academic year following sabbatical will not decrease the amount of the repayment required. If you are unable to return to UW–Madison as a full-time faculty member for at least one academic year of service after the conclusion of the sabbatical (full year or a single semester), you would be required to repay any compensation (salary, plus the University’s share of fringe benefits) received from the UW during the sabbatical.

Online Application Instructions

Please note: If you are a chair or a dean applying for a sabbatical for next year when you are no longer in that role, please contact your Dean’s Office for information on applying for that type of leave. The instructions below are for Chairs and Deans who are approving their faculty’s proposals.