Leave Policy, Fellowships, Research and Professional Support
1. Sabbatic Leaves and Leaves of Absence
Amherst College gives great weight to the continuing scholarly growth of faculty members in support of its mission to expand the realm of knowledge and to maintain the highest standards of instruction in the liberal arts. Research, publication, and creative work are considered important indications of such growth. The college's sabbatic leave program is designed to provide time for research, study, writing, or other creative work contributing to the professional growth and effectiveness of the faculty member as a scholar and teacher. The college recognizes that the continued scholarly growth of our faculty plays a vital part in the educational offerings of the college and the ultimate success of its students.
Faculty with regular appointments will normally be eligible for sabbatic leaves or unpaid leaves of absence after having completed three continuous years (i.e., six continuous semesters) of teaching. After six semesters, a tenured faculty member is eligible for one of the following during the same academic or calendar year: (1) one semester of unpaid leave of absence; or (2) two semesters of unpaid leave; or (3) one semester of leave at 80 percent of a semester's salary in combination or not, as wished, with one semester's unpaid leave of absence. Alternatively, regular faculty are eligible for one year of sabbatic leave at 80 percent of salary or one semester of sabbatic leave at full salary after six years of teaching uninterrupted by a sabbatic leave. They are also eligible if the six years of teaching are interrupted by a leave of absence without pay providing the last three years have been continuous. Amherst College will award Senior Sabbatical Fellowships to tenured members of the faculty upon approval by the provost and dean of the faculty in consultation with the Faculty Executive Committee of a proposal for a program of research, study, writing, or other creative work to advance his or her professional growth and effectiveness as a scholar and teacher. (Guidelines for Senior Sabbatical Fellowships.) Following reappointment, untenured faculty members are eligible for two semesters of sabbatic leave at 100 percent of salary, upon approval by the provost and dean of the faculty in consultation with the Faculty Executive Committee of a proposal of research, study, writing, or other creative work to advance his or her professional growth and effectiveness as a scholar and teacher. (Guidelines for Tenure-Track Sabbatical Fellowships.) Visiting faculty and faculty on non-tenure track contract appointments will not normally be eligible for sabbatic leaves or unpaid leaves of absence.
By November 1 of the year preceding the academic year during which leave is to be taken, a faculty member should give notice to the provost and dean of the faculty and the department chair of the intention to apply for either a sabbatic leave or a leave of absence. All leave requests require approval of the Board of Trustees. A faculty member is expected to return to the college for at least one year's teaching after a sabbatic leave or leave of absence.
A leave may be delayed, but only those delayed for institutional reasons will allow for subsequent adjustment of the three-year teaching requirement. The provost and dean of the faculty will consider cases of postponement deemed necessary for the maintenance of the department's offering of courses necessary for the major, or for the performance of pressing extra-departmental teaching or other duties, as eligible for such scheduling compensation, provided that the rescheduling fits with the department's longer range schedule of leave rotation, and that it does not entail a replacement appointment.
Sabbatic leaves and one- or two-semester leaves of absence without pay will be counted as years in rank toward promotion. (However, a leave of absence without pay will not be counted toward eligibility for future sabbaticals.)
Leave policy is generally the same for tenure-track as for tenured faculty. However, an untenured faculty member who takes a one or two semester leave (at 100 percent salary) after three years of teaching will still be eligible for a full year sabbatical (at 80 percent salary) after three more years of continuous teaching and after a positive tenure decision, i.e., in his or her eighth year. Leaves (sabbatic and leaves of absence) taken by untenured faculty in their fourth, fifth, or sixth year will count as service toward tenure. Untenured faculty are eligible for only one sabbatic leave.
During sabbatic leaves, a department may seek a replacement for the teaching of one or more courses on a Five-College borrowing basis, and during a leave of absence without pay of a year or more, a department may request a replacement on a terminal contract, but such replacements will not be automatic.
Extended leaves of absence for not more than three years may be granted at the discretion of the president after consultation with the department concerned and the Faculty Executive Committee. The purpose of granting such extended leaves of absence without pay is to allow for research or public service and also to give faculty the opportunity to explore a new career or change in their professional field while keeping open the possibility of a return to a position at Amherst College. Faculty who return after extended leaves of absence must teach for three continuous years before being eligible for sabbatic leave or additional leave of absence. Extended leaves of absence do not count as years in rank toward promotion.
Changes and cancellations in all leaves require formal approval and may not be possible where the college is already committed to alternative arrangements.2. Fringe Benefits during Sabbatic Leave and Leaves of Absence without Pay
Providing the faculty member agrees to contribute the share of benefit costs normally met by a faculty member, the college will, during a sabbatic leave, continue payment of all fringe benefits ordinarily payable. If requested to do so, the college will also pay such benefits during a leave of absence without pay of one or two semesters with discretion left to the president, in consultation with the faculty member, to arrange otherwise. During extended leaves without pay, if the temporary employer does not provide fringe benefits similar to the Amherst College program, all, or a portion, of the benefits may, at the discretion of the president, be continued by the college, provided the faculty member agrees to contribute the share of benefits normally met by a faculty member. The faculty member, if he or she rents a college house or apartment, may be required to relinquish it at the beginning of an extended leave. Upon return to Amherst, the faculty member will be eligible to make application for housing under the regular point system. Similarly, office and library space may be reassigned in the case of extended leaves of absence.
For purposes of seniority and housing eligibility, sabbatic leaves or leaves of absence without pay will be counted as years of service.3. Leaves of Absence
Full-time or part-time members of the faculty are eligible for the following paid leaves of absence. (Medical and parenting leaves may also be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, ("FMLA") and the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act ("MMLA"). Paid leaves under this section will run concurrently with leave to which the faculty member may be entitled under the FMLA or MMLA. See V.C.II.)
a. Medical. A full-or part-time member of the faculty with an appointment to the faculty of at least a one-year term will be eligible for up to six months of paid leave to recuperate from illness or recover from short-term disability. Paid leaves for illness or short-term disability generally are occasioned by absences of eight weeks or more; loss of time due to illness for shorter periods is usually worked out without formal leave by the department and the administration. The college will require a physician's letter to support a request for medical leave and may require a physician's certification of fitness to return to work. The terms of the leave will be confirmed in writing by the provost and dean of the faculty's office, as are all other leaves of absence. Insofar as the relevant details are known, a stated intention about returning to work and the timing of the return should be given when a leave is requested.
The college recognizes that extended medical leave can interfere substantially with a faculty member's research, scholarship, and/or administrative responsibilities. To address this concern, the college offers faculty members on medical leave of a least eight weeks but less than a full semester the option of taking a one semester leave from their teaching responsibilities, with full compensation, so that they may use the additional time to accomplish their research, scholarship, and/or administrative goals, assuming they are medically able to do so. A request for a semester teaching leave should be made to the provost and dean of the faculty as early as possible. The provost will consult with the department to arrange appropriate coverage for the faculty member's teaching and/or administrative responsibilities during the semester affected by the leave, and the faculty member will work with the provost to identify the research, scholarship, and/or administrative goals to be accomplished during the leave. If the medical leave begins during an academic semester, then the teaching leave may be taken during that same semester. If the medical leave begins during the periods between semesters, then the teaching leave may be taken during the immediately following semester. This semester teaching leave will not affect calculations for sabbaticals or other leave of absence. Tenure-track faculty members may also choose, at the time this leave is requested, to have the year in which the leave is taken not count toward service for tenure.
To illustrate, if an eligible faculty member is disabled for eight weeks because of pregnancy or childbirth, then the faculty member may request a one semester leave from teaching in accordance with this policy. If the disability begins during a regular academic semester, then the leave is available during that same semester. If the disability begins between semesters, then the leave is available during the following semester. During the semester leave from teaching, the faculty member is expected to perform, as medically permissible, the research, scholarly, and/or administrative duties agreed upon with the provost and dean of faculty. The leave will not affect the faculty member's compensation or eligibility for sabbaticals or other leaves of absence. Tenure-track faculty members may also choose, at the time this leave is requested, to have the year in which the leave is taken not count toward service for tenure.
Long-term disability benefits, as defined by the college's insurance coverage begin for full-time and part-time faculty after six months of disability, as determined by the insurance carrier. If the disability may exceed six months, an application for long-term disability benefits should be made after three months of disability leave. A person receiving long-term disability benefits goes off the college payroll when disability benefits begin; reinstatement to active status depends upon individual circumstances.
b. Parenting. A request for a leave due to birth or adoption should be made to the provost and dean of the faculty as early as possible. The provost will work with the department to arrange appropriate coverage for the faculty member's teaching and/or administrative responsibilities during the semester affected by the leave. Parenting leaves are available only for faculty members who hold a tenure-track appointment, a tenured appointment, or a continuing appointment of at least two years. Parenting leaves are available only for the child's primary care giver and must be completed within twelve months of birth or arrival of the child for adoption. If both parents are employed at Amherst College, only one is eligible for a parenting leave. Given the natures and purposes of the leaves, a faculty member who takes a paid medical leave for pregnancy or the birth of a child may not also take a paid parenting leave for that same child. The terms of the leave will be confirmed in writing by the provost and dean of the faculty's office, as are all other leaves of absence. A stated intention about returning to work and the timing of the return should be given when a leave is requested.
Several options are available for parenting leave:
- The faculty member may elect to continue working according to the terms of his or her appointment and receive his or her regular compensation. In return for this arrangement, it is expected that, under normal circumstances, he or she will return to his or her full-time teaching duties within a reasonable period of time. No special leave is necessary in this case and no adjustments are made to compensation.
- The faculty member may elect to teach one less course for the semester of leave and receive his or her full compensation.
- The faculty member may elect to take a leave from teaching for a whole semester during or immediately following birth or adoption, in which case the college will pay 72 percent of that semester's salary. The college will pay its share of the fringe benefits, as it does for a leave of absence, provided the faculty member pays his or her share.
Any semester in which a faculty member teaches at least one course will count as regular teaching time for purposes of sabbatical or leaves of absence eligibility. Parenting leaves under option (3) above will not affect calculations of eligibility for sabbatical or leaves of absence. Tenure-track faculty members may also choose, at the time a parenting leave is requested, to have the year in which the leave is taken not count toward service for tenure.
Summary of the Basic Provisions of the Faculty Medical Leave and Parenting Leave Policies4. Leaves of Absence for Family or Pressing Personal Reasons
A leave of absence granted for extraordinary family or pressing personal reasons, not otherwise provided for in paragraph 3, is at the discretion of the President. Such leaves are usually for one semester and are without pay. Arrangements to cover teaching responsibilities should be discussed with the provost. Benefit coverage during such leaves is similar to that of sabbatical leaves. Leaves for longer periods, if granted, are similar to those for a faculty member exploring a new career or a change in a professional field. To the extent applicable, a leave under this paragraph will run concurrently with leave to which the faculty member may be entitled under the FMLA. (See V.C.II.)
Faculty who are reappointed receive a tenure-track sabbatical fellowship at full salary for two semesters to pursue a program of research, study, writing, or other creative work to advance their scholarly, pedagogical, and professional growth. Candidates must submit a fellowship proposal to receive 100 percent salary during the post-reappointment sabbatical. All applicants for tenure-track sabbatical fellowships are considered automatically for the college’s named fellowships (the Trustee Faculty Fellowship, the Miner D. Crary Fellowship, and the Class of 1952 Dean Eugene S. Wilson Faculty Development Fellowship). These named fellowships are honorific. Faculty who do not receive a named fellowship receive a provost and dean of the faculty's research fellowship. For more information, see the tenure-track sabbatical fellowship Guidelines.
Trustee Faculty Fellowship
Each year, following the review of candidates for reappointment, the college awards up to two Trustee Faculty Fellowships to candidates on the basis of a proposal for a tenure-track sabbatical fellowship. Traditionally, reappointment candidates whom the Faculty Executive Committee judges to have a particularly strong proposal for a research project are awarded Trustee Faculty Fellowships.
Miner D. Crary Sabbatical Fellowship
Each year, following the review of candidates for reappointment, the college awards the Miner D. Crary Sabbatical Fellowship to a candidate on the basis of a proposal for a tenure-track sabbatical fellowship. Traditionally, reappointment candidates whom the Faculty Executive Committee judges to have a particularly strong proposal for a research project are awarded the Miner D. Crary Sabbatical Fellowship.
Class of 1952 Dean Eugene S. Wilson Faculty Development Fellowships
Each year, following the review of candidates for reappointment, the college awards the Class of 1952 Dean Eugene S. Wilson Faculty Development Fellowship to a candidate on the basis of a proposal for a tenure-track sabbatical fellowship. This fellowship has a pedagogical focus. The Faculty Executive Committee evaluates the extent to which the faculty member’s proposal will contribute to improved teaching at Amherst. An important criterion is candidates’ work with research students, for example, teaching research tutorials and supervising research students in laboratories. Originality, creativity, and scholarship are also taken into consideration.
Amherst College awards Senior Sabbatical Fellowships to tenured members of the faculty upon approval by the provost and dean of the faculty, in consultation with the Faculty Executive Committee, of a proposal for a program of research, study, writing, or other creative work to advance their professional growth and effectiveness as scholars and teachers. The fellowship consists of the sum necessary to raise sabbatical salary support from 80 percent to 100 percent for one semester of leave after six semesters of service or two semesters of leave after twelve semesters of service. See the Guidelines for submission and Previous Senior Sabbatical Fellowship Awards.
Information about externally funded fellowship and grant opportunities for faculty members are regularly received by the Provost's Office, the Office of Alumni Relations and Development and the Amherst College Library. Every effort is made to keep a complete, current set of these materials in those locations. Faculty are encouraged to consult these materials regularly and to review the "home page" of the Foundation and Corporate Support Office. Faculty who may be eligible for NIH support are particularly encouraged to apply for it as the total of such grants to an institution affects eligibility for other programs.8. Institutional Support for Faculty Research
Full details of application procedures for the programs described below will be provided to the faculty at the beginning of each academic year.
a. Amherst College Faculty Research Award Program (FRAP). The Board of Trustees and the administration of Amherst College recognize the importance of encouraging research activities of all regular full- and part-time, tenured and tenure-track Amherst College faculty members. A college committee on research awards has been established and assigned responsibility for the development and administration of the award program. Funds for research are available to all full- and part-time members of the faculty, either tenured or tenure-track, not on visiting appointments. Faculty members on sabbatical leave or leaves of absence for research reasons may apply for and receive awards. Members of the research awards committee may not apply for awards during their term of service, but do retain their entitlement to funds previously awarded.
Applications from faculty members in the performing and creative arts are encouraged and will be treated commensurable with applications from other disciplines. Research on curriculum development and the improvement of teaching is not eligible for funding by this program. An individual may not submit more than one application at a time.
To be eligible, the proposal must involve original research or creative activities by the principal investigator rather than solely providing support for the creation or maintenance of institutional facilities or research materials. Grants will not be awarded to support research to be performed in connection with fulfillment of degree requirements. There will usually be two rounds of competition each year. Applications for a research award must be received by the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty no later than October 1 for the first round and January 15 for the second. It is the responsibility of the applicant to see that the dean of the faculty's office receives the application and all supporting material by the deadline. For those projects receiving awards, the actual size of the award may differ from the amount requested in light of other demands on available funds and the project's requirements as evaluated in the review process. Awards will be announced for the first round on or about January 15 and for the second on or about April 15, pending availability of funds. The sums awarded are subject to modification in light of other funding received for the project. The grant period will be eighteen months. A six-month extension period may be granted upon application if more time is needed to complete the project. All decisions on awards will be final.
Research applications will be judged on the scholarly merit of the proposed research and on the ability of the applicant to perform the proposed research successfully. Some of the factors which will be considered are: significance of the proposed work in relation to its contribution to the field; the extent to which the proposal reflects a well-conceived research design with reasonable promise of successful execution; evidence of scholarly promise and productivity; demonstrated familiarity with the literature in the field; and, sufficiency of other funding received by the applicant. When considering previous research accomplishments, the committee will take into account the fact that untenured faculty are often unable to present an extensive record of publication.
Applications in the creative and performing arts will be judged on the basis of merit and in accordance with the criteria appropriate for those areas. Faculty Research Award Program Guidelines
b. Small Grants for Faculty Research. Small grants in support of faculty research may be obtained on an annual basis (when funds are sufficient) from the dean of the faculty, to whom application should be made.
c. Library Support for Faculty Research. The director of the library is always happy to discuss faculty members' needs for library and research support. New faculty are especially encouraged to meet with the director of the library to discuss their needs.
d. Support for Professional Travel. The college provides funds to aid faculty with professional travel. The college will reimburse faculty members (or, if requested, provide an advance) up to a maximum total announced each year for reasonable and documented professional expenses for registration, accommodations, meals, and transportation by the least expensive practical means. Requests for reimbursement should be sent to the Office of the Controller, which makes forms available for this purpose
Part-time members of the faculty are eligible for grants.