2.9 Faculty Development

The professional development of faculty members is essential to the curriculum and the vitality of both the individual and the college [university]. Faculty members are expected to engage themselves in planning and documenting that development.

The college [university] promotes excellent teaching. Teaching effectiveness (described in Section 2.5.1) should be the first and foremost concern of each faculty member and a critical element in each faculty member’s plan for professional development. Scholarship and creative work (described in Section 2.5.2) provide essential support to both good teaching and a strong academic program, and they contribute to one’s discipline and to society at large. As a result, ongoing professional development focused on scholarship and creative work is also important for each member of the faculty. Advising and service (described in Sections 2.5.3 and 2.5.4) are also important but for most faculty members play a smaller role in plans for professional development.

2.9.1 Planning for Professional Development

Each faculty member creates and regularly updates a Program of Professional Development (PPD). Preparation of the PPD, in consultation with the department chair [and/or the dean of the School of Theology] as well as appropriate program directors, allows the faculty member to integrate professional development plans with the mission and goals of both the college [university] and the department. Faculty members must be familiar with the mission and goals and curricular plans of the college [university] and be able to demonstrate how their individual directions for professional development are related to the needs of the department and the college [university]. Departmental guidelines for evaluation (see Section can be helpful in the planning process. In addition, the plans within the Program of Professional Development should be drawn up in accordance with the relevant guidelines of the Faculty Development and Research Committee.

Probationary faculty members are expected to meet annually with the department chair [and/or the dean of the School of Theology] to conduct a planning session concerning the faculty member’s PPD. Senior faculty members should consult periodically with the department chair to review and update the PPD. At times of such review, intermediate goals may be set. The faculty member may amend the individual program at any time, in consultation with the department chair [and/or the dean of the School of Theology].

A copy of the faculty member’s current PPD should be maintained on file in the department’s office and in the Office of Academic Affairs. The provost or the divisional dean may interview faculty members periodically in regard to their professional growth plans.

The faculty member’s Program of Professional Development is submitted to the Rank and Tenure Committee at the time of third-year, sixth-year, and promotion review and is part of the evidence evaluated (see Section, “Professional Development”). Quality of a development plan is assessed on the strength of its connections to evaluation criteria described in Section 2.5. Progress achieved in attaining the goals outlined in earlier plans is deemed to be a measure of academic seriousness. The PPD is also employed during reviews for sabbatical leave by the Committee on Faculty Development and during post-tenure review.

2.9.2 Sabbatical Leaves

The many roles and responsibilities of faculty members require that periodically a sustained and uninterrupted time be set aside to acquire new experiences to enrich teaching or to focus on scholarship, creative work, or other accomplishment related to faculty responsibilities. The college [university] endorses the importance of this dimension of faculty development by committing itself to funding sabbatical leaves, professional leaves with pay, ordinarily extending for one semester or for a full academic year.

Sabbatical leaves are not granted for work which is not directly related to faculty responsibilities at the college [university]. Time spent on sabbatical leaves will count toward promotion in rank. Eligibility to Apply for Sabbatical Leave

Tenured faculty or faculty currently being reviewed for tenure are eligible to apply for their first sabbatical leave only if they expect to have completed, by the end of the current academic year, six years of full-time service, or its equivalent. Subsequent sabbaticals may be applied for at six-year intervals of full-time service. The six-year period may be fulfilled by an equivalent amount of service by reduced-load faculty (described in Section Upon the completion of a sabbatical leave, time toward eligibility for the next sabbatical begins in September. Salaries for Sabbatical Leave

Faculty members on sabbatical for one semester receive the full salary provided in the contract during the sabbatical period and full employment benefits. Faculty members who are on sabbatical for a full academic year receive three-sixths of the salary provided in the contract in the sabbatical year and full employment benefits. Annual raises are not withheld due to sabbatical leave, and both the faculty member and the college [university] continue to pay their normal share toward retirement contributions (proportionate to the salary paid), and other employee benefits.

A faculty member on sabbatical may also receive other forms of faculty development funding from the college [university]. Application Policies and Procedures for Sabbatical Leaves

Sabbatical leaves are not granted automatically upon the completion of the necessary period of service. Faculty members must demonstrate in writing, as part of their application, evidence of sound research, creative activity, or other academic achievement to support the program of work which they plan for the sabbatical period. They must also show that their proposed programs will accomplish one or more of the general purposes set forth in the opening paragraph of Section 2.9.2, “Sabbatical Leaves.” Applications which do not meet the criteria for sabbaticals are rejected by the committee.

The application for sabbatical leave is made using the forms and guidelines developed by the Faculty Development and Research Committee, available in the Office of Academic Affairs. The application and the other materials must be submitted to the committee by the committee’s established deadline.

A faculty member is expected to consult with the department chair [and/or the dean of the School of Theology] on the sabbatical proposal. Because the department chair, in consultation with the members of the department and the administration, must make plans to cover the responsibilities of faculty on sabbatical leave, a faculty member anticipating a sabbatical should inform the chair as early as possible. The chair should receive the sabbatical proposal a minimum of two weeks prior to the application deadline. A letter from the chair addressing the following issues must be submitted to the committee, with a copy provided to the applicant:

  1. the professional quality of the sabbatical proposal and the applicant’s capacity to accomplish the goals indicated;
  2. how the leave will affect the applicant’s professional growth, as well as the department and its offerings; and
  3. the department’s staffing during the faculty member’s sabbatical, as well as extra-departmental effects, if any.

A request for replacement of faculty, if necessary, is made by the department chair to the appropriate dean and the provost. Criteria and Procedures for Evaluation of Proposals

The Faculty Development and Research Committee evaluates all sabbatical proposals using the following criteria:

  1. the likelihood that the proposed project will:

    1. produce a significant contribution to research or creative work in the applicant’s field of expertise (through publication, performance, exhibition, etc.); and,

    2. promote significant improvement in courses, programs, curricula, or some other area of faculty responsibility;

  2. the likelihood that the project will make a significant contribution to the applicant’s professional development in accomplishing one or more of the following:
    1. enhancing the applicant’s mastery of his or her field of expertise;
    2. improving the applicant’s capabilities as a teacher;
    3. increasing the applicant’s ability to fulfill faculty responsibilities in areas other than teaching and research/creative work;
  3. the appropriateness of the project to the applicant’s plan of professional development and to the mission and goals of the department and the college [university]; and/or
  4. the promise that the project will be successfully completed, considering the design of the project in light of the applicant’s abilities and previous accomplishments.

Reasons of a more personal nature, including the applicant’s prior service to the college [university], may also be considered.

To assist in these judgments, the committee may ask applicants to submit other relevant information. This may include, for example, letters from colleagues both within and outside the college [university] addressing the quality of the proposal and the applicant’s capacity to accomplish the goals outlined, a description of how the sabbatical project fits into the individual’s Program of Professional Development (see Section 2.9.1), evidence concerning the results of the applicant’s previous sabbatical or the effectiveness of the individual’s service to the college [university]. At the committee’s discretion, an applicant may be invited to provide a clarification of or additional support for a proposed project before it is considered further.

Assessing differences in the quality of proposals arising from different disciplines is difficult, and a precise ranking based only on the overall quality of each proposal is normally impossible. The committee ordinarily sorts the applications into groups based on perceptible differences in overall quality and forms a final ranking of proposals based on that estimate of quality, breaking ties within any one group in favor of persons who have more years of faculty service at the college [university] since their last sabbatical (or since initial appointment if they have not yet had a sabbatical leave). Any remaining ties are broken by lottery. Action on Sabbatical Applications
  1. After evaluating all applications, the Faculty Development and Research Committee ranks the proposals and sends its evaluations and ranking to the provost. The committee also sends a brief assessment of the proposed project to the applicant.
  2. The provost submits a recommendation to the president in light of the total needs and fiscal capabilities of the college [university].
  3. The president makes a recommendation and presents it to the appropriate committee of the Board.
  4. The final decision on a sabbatical application rests with the Board.
  5. Following action by the Board, the provost gives written notice to the applicant, the department chair, the divisional dean [the dean of the School of Theology], and the chair of the Faculty Development and Research Committee of the approval or disapproval, for stated cause, of the application. Applicants being reviewed for tenure are informed that their sabbatical is contingent upon the granting of tenure. Obligations of Sabbatical Recipients

The recipient of a sabbatical leave incurs these obligations:

  1. to make every reasonable effort to fulfill the terms of the sabbatical;
  2. to return to the college [university] for the complete academic year following the academic year in which the sabbatical leave occurred; and
  3. to file a report on the results of his or her project with the provost within 30 days after the beginning of the semester following the sabbatical leave.
  4. Any faculty member who does not return to the college [university] for the subsequent academic year after completing a sabbatical thereby assumes the obligation of repaying the compensation paid by the college [university] during the time of the leave. Support during Leaves

Whenever possible the college [university] will provide the services to faculty on sabbatical or leave as outlined in Section 2.9.4. Requests for such assistance should be directed to the Committee on Faculty Development.

2.9.3 Other Professional Leaves

A professional leave is a negotiated agreement whereby a member of the faculty for reasons related to his or her professional life is absent from regular duties of appointment for more than 10 working days. Such a leave may be with or without pay. Short-term absences (for no longer than 10 working days) with pay for legitimate cause may be arranged at the discretion of the divisional dean [and/or the dean of the School of Theology].

A member of the faculty on professional leave is allowed to return to the same or a substantially similar position; previously earned tenure, rank, and benefits are not lost. A professional leave with pay for less than one academic year ordinarily counts toward promotion and tenure but will do so only if both the college [university] and the individual agree to this in writing at the time the leave is granted. Whenever possible, the college [university] will provide the services to faculty members on professional leave as outlined in Section 2.9.4. Requests for such assistance should be directed to the appropriate committee or administrative officer.

The policies and procedures for nonprofessional leaves (e.g., medical or compassionate leaves) are described in Section 2.11. Professional Leaves without Pay

Fiscal constraints require that, other than sabbatical leaves, extended professional leaves occur without pay. Any full-time member of the faculty may request a full-time or part-time professional leave of absence without pay for one of the following reasons:

  1. fellowship award;
  2. completion of research;
  3. formal study; and/or
  4. other specific reasons in the best interests of the college [university].

Time on such leave will not count toward the eligibility periods for tenure, promotion, or sabbatical leave unless the individual and the college [university] so agree in writing prior to the beginning of the leave. However, the faculty member on professional leave for up to two years will ordinarily receive the annual raises in salary and benefits he or she would have received as a result of uninterrupted service.

While faculty are on leave without pay, the college [university] ordinarily does not provide fringe benefits unless an arrangement to the contrary has been mutually agreed upon in writing by the faculty member and the college [university]. Faculty members have the option to continue their fringe benefits to the extent permitted by the applicable benefit plans by paying for them through the college [university] Human Resources Office.

Faculty members planning a professional leave may also apply for other forms of faculty development funding from the college [university] as described in Section 2.9.4 below. Time Limit and Procedures for Professional Leaves

Professional leaves extend for a definite period. Because they almost always make orderly planning more difficult, they impose a hardship on the college [university] and are normally granted only for a single term or an academic year. Only under unusual circumstances will a leave be granted for as much as two years. A faculty member on a one-year leave of absence may apply for a second one-year leave by following these same procedures. Two-year leaves are not renewable.

The request for a professional leave of absence with or without pay should be made, if possible, in time to allow for adequate administrative planning. A written request for a leave must specify its purpose, plans, and length. The faculty member requesting the leave consults with the department chair, who prepares a letter to the divisional dean describing the impact of the leave on staffing and giving the chair’s own recommendation. The request, along with the chair’s letter, is submitted to the divisional dean [and/or the dean of the School of Theology] who then forwards it along with his or her recommendation to the provost. The provost then confers with the Faculty Development and Research Committee and requests its recommendation.

When evaluating leave requests, the provost and the Faculty Development and Research Committee will take into consideration the length of service since the faculty member’s last absence (whether sabbatical or other professional leave or nonprofessional leave) before making recommendations. Ordinarily, a faculty member will be expected to teach at the college [university] for at least two years between non-emergency leaves.

The provost transmits the recommendations of the committee to the president along with his or her own evaluation. The president will forward these recommendations along with the president’s own to the Executive Committee of the Board for a final decision. The decision of the Executive Committee will be reported in writing by the provost to the faculty member requesting the leave.

Ordinarily the college [university] will grant leaves of all kinds in any given academic year to no more than 10 percent of the total full-time teaching faculty in each term.

2.9.4 Other College [University] Support for Faculty Development

The college [university] provides support for faculty development in a number of ways other than sabbaticals and other professional leaves described above. Funding from the Faculty Development and Research Committee

The Faculty Development and Research Committee is charged with developing the policies for and overseeing the distribution of college [university] funds for faculty development. Support for improvement in teaching and/or scholarship and creative work is available. Faculty members are encouraged to contact the committee for information on available grants and application procedures. Funding for Travel to Professional Conferences

The college [university] recognizes the importance of faculty members’ participation in professional conferences and is committed to supporting the activity through funding for such travel. Disbursement of travel funds occurs through the departmental budget and faculty members should contact the department chair for procedures. Other Support

The college [university] provides other forms of support for faculty development, such as the following:

  1. The Learning Enhancement Service and other personnel provide a variety of opportunities for faculty members to improve the effectiveness of their teaching.
  2. Private library study rooms are available to faculty members engaged in research and writing. Faculty members should apply to the director of the libraries for such a room.
  3. A networked computer and a printer are ordinarily made available to each full-time faculty member. Requests about needed hardware and software are ordinarily made by the department chair [and/or the dean of the School of Theology] to the director of Information Technology Services during the annual budgetary process.
  4. Secretarial services and photocopying are provided by the college [university] within the constraints of departmental budgets and secretaries’ other departmental responsibilities.
  5. Laboratories are available to faculty members engaged in scientific research. Faculty members should apply to their department chair.
  6. Outside grants are often available from agencies and foundations related to a faculty member’s research and study. The college’s Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations [university’s Office of Foundation Relations] offers assistance to faculty applying for such grants. The college [university} may choose to provide funding and fringe benefits from internal sources with the authorization of the Executive Committee of the Board. Members of the administration who are ranked faculty are also eligible for such support.