Inside Fletcher: Faculty

Chapter 3 - Leaves

Policy Regarding Sabbatical Leave and Leave of Absence – (Fletcher)


This policy is intended to supplement and implement the Tufts University "Definition of Policies Concerning Sabbatic Leave and Leave of Absence of Members of the Faculties of Tufts University," a copy of which is appended. Although leave policy differs in regard to sabbaticals and unpaid leaves, certain principles are common to both:

        Leave is a privilege which may be granted upon proper application; it is not a guaranteed right.

        The applicant must demonstrate a valid reason or need for the leave.

        It must be determined that the granting of a leave request is consistent with the best interests of the School. The best interests of the School will be evaluated by reference to the teaching, research and service needs of the School. In particular, arrangements for appropriate substitute instructors will be considered, and faculty requesting leave are expected to assist in making such arrangements.

        No financial remuneration or release time will be awarded in lieu of any kind of leave granted but not taken.

Faculty awarded a sabbatical or a leave without pay may or may not remain in residence. If in residence, however, they are not obligated to teach, hold office hours, advise students, participate in the activities of School or of University committees, or carry out any of the duties associated with their regular academic appointments. Depending on availability, faculty may continue to have office space and access to research facilities, including libraries.


A sabbatical is granted to members of a faculty as a recognition of notable service through teaching and scholarly contributions and as an aid and inspiration to further achievements. Sabbaticals are intended to provide teachers with opportunities for scholarly development and contacts which will contribute to their professional effectiveness and to the value of their later service to Tufts University. A sabbatical may not be used for the purpose of recreation.

Eligibility and Opportunity

Sabbaticals are granted only on the approval of the Dean. The candidate for leave shall normally have served with professorial rank at Tufts for at least six years, but nothing herein contained shall limit the right of the Dean to enter into a special agreement concerning the time of the first sabbatical of a member of the faculty brought from another institution or organization. The opportunity for taking sabbatical at regular intervals is not absolutely guaranteed by Tufts University and will be granted only when the condition of the School and of the University in general is such that the professor's absence will not seriously impair the interests of the School. A faculty member who accepts a sabbatical is expected to return to the School. A sabbatical will not ordinarily be granted unless the applicant would, at the expiration of such leave, be eligible for continued service on a faculty of Tufts University for at least one year before retirement.

In certain cases, the Dean may count a full year of leave without pay as part of the consecutive years of service which are a prerequisite to a sabbatical. An applicant for leave without pay must include, on the leave application, a request that the time be so counted.

Periods of Leave and Compensation During Leave

A sabbatical may involve absence for an academic year at half-salary or for a semester at full salary. A member of the faculty on sabbatical is not to receive compensation for service in another institution or organization. This shall not be so construed, however, as to preclude either fellowships or other grants-in-aid for advanced study.

Application for Leave

A completed application form for sabbatical should be sent to the Dean via the Academic Dean. The applicant must have a well-considered plan for spending the leave in a manner clearly calculated to contribute to the best interests of the School. A detailed written statement of this plan, together with clear indications of its professional advantages, and a current curriculum vitae shall accompany the application. Application forms must be received in the Dean's office by December 1 preceeding the academic year in which the sabbatical is desired. The letter from the Dean to the applicant approving the sabbatical represents a commitment both of the university and the faculty member. Therefore, no changes may be made in the plans for the leave without the written agreement of both parties.

Required Report

Upon returning to the University after sabbatical, the faculty member shall write a detailed report of activities during the leave and shall send the report to the Academic Dean for transmittal to the Dean, the Provost, the President, and the Trustees.


Unpaid academic leaves are subject to approval by the Dean upon recommendation of the Academic Dean. Unpaid academic leaves of absence are distinct from unpaid personal leaves of absence. Unpaid academic leaves are usually not granted for a consecutive period of more than one academic year. In certain cases, the Dean may recommend that such a period of leave be counted as part of the consecutive years of service which are prerequisite to sabbatical. An applicant for leave without pay must include on the leave application a request that the time be so counted.

The letter from the Dean to the applicant approving the leave without pay represents a commitment both by the University and the faculty member. Therefore, no changes may be made in the plans for the leave without the written consent of both parties.

Leave During Probationary Period

A full year of unpaid leave will count as part of the probationary period leading to review for tenure, unless otherwise negotiated at the time that the leave is requested.

If leave without pay is requested for the year in which the individual would be scheduled to be reviewed for the award of tenure, normally that year must count as part of the probationary period, and the individual will be reviewed during the leave of absence.

If an individual requests leave without pay during his or her terminal year at Tufts, the granting of the leave will not extend the appointment beyond the year for which the appointment was originally made; that is, the year of leave will constitute the individual's terminal year.


For faculty on unpaid academic leave, health, dental, and long-term disability coverage remain unchanged; life insurance and retirement, however, are proportional to one's actual salary during the period of leave. (For faculty on unpaid personal leave, life insurance and long-term disability coverage cease for the period of the leave. Health and dental coverage continue, but the faculty member pays the full cost of these benefits. If personal leave continues beyond two years, all benefits cease.) Specific questions should be addressed to the Benefits Office.