Sabbatical Leave

The purpose of a sabbatical leave is to enable faculty members to devote full time to study, research, or other academic activities that will enhance their scholarly and teaching competence and capabilities and will enable them to make greater contributions to their disciplines, their students, and Villanova University. Villanova offers two sabbatical programs, a standard sabbatical for tenured faculty and a one-semester leave for untenured faculty that is based on a favorable third year performance review, as described in the Rank and Tenure Policy.

The standard sabbatical may be (with the approval of the chair, the dean and the Provost or designee) taken either for a semester at full pay or a year at half pay. With permission of the Provost or designee, a faculty member may count the spring term of one year and the following fall term as one year for purposes of this sabbatical policy.  Untenured faculty sabbaticals are only for a semester. An explicit condition of any sabbatical leave -- unless waived by the Provost or designee-- is that the faculty member will return to and teach at Villanova for one full year after the completion of the leave. Non-fulfillment of this condition for reasons other than disability will result in the faculty member’s having to repay the University for all compensation received during the sabbatical period. During sabbaticals the University will continue its contribution to insurance and other benefits. 

Outside teaching or other employment during a paid sabbatical, including teaching in an “out of load” Villanova program, is subject to this Handbook’s policies on “Consulting, Outside Teaching, and Professional Work” and on “Teaching Load, Overload, and Out-of-Load Teaching.”

To be eligible for the one-semester leave for junior faculty, a faculty member must:

  • Have completed three full years of service on the tenure track (which may include one year of tenure credit from another institution or from teaching at Villanova in a non tenure-track position if that year immediately preceded one's assumption of a tenure-track position);
  • Have successfully undergone a third year review by their department and have been recommended for continuation on the faculty and for the one semester leave;

To be eligible for a regular sabbatical leave, a faculty member must:

  • Have served the University in a tenured or tenure-track position for a period of six full academic years (which may include up to three years of tenure credit from another institution or from teaching at Villanova in a non tenure-track position, as stipulated in the appointment letter);
  • Hold tenure;
  • Have not been the recipient of a sabbatical or junior faculty sabbatical leave within the prior six academic years; and
  • Have demonstrated that previous sabbaticals, if any, led to concrete achievements of benefit to the faculty member and the University.
  • Have submitted to his chair and dean a detailed proposal describing sabbatical activities and rationale, including a timetable and a description of expected results.

No academic year which includes an unpaid leave of absence for a period of a semester or more is included in computing years of service for purpose of sabbatical eligibility. Moreover, faculty members who commence service after the conclusion of the first semester of an academic year will not have that year count toward the six years for sabbatical eligibility.  The one semester sabbatical for the junior faculty is considered to be part of the probationary period.

If a junior faculty member taking the one semester sabbatical, above, requests an extension for purposes of scholarly endeavors by means of an unpaid leave of absence for the other semester of the academic year of the sabbatical, the Provost or designee, following the policy on unpaid leaves, may elect to provide University converage of its portion of the faculty member's benefits for that semester on leave. 

Eligibility does not confer a right. Sabbatical leaves are granted only when faculty members meet the above criteria, when their sabbatical plans are judged clearly meritorious, and when the financial resources and staffing needs of a college or department permit. The University will attempt to make sabbatical leaves available to the largest possible number of faculty, consistent with its financial resources and its ability to meet instructional obligations.

Each recipient of a sabbatical leave must submit to his/her chair and dean a written report of activities during the leave. This report should be made within three months after returning to the University and should describe the activities undertaken, the location of those activities and the results (e.g. papers written, delivered, or published; skills developed, etc.).

Application Guidelines

All applications for sabbaticals and unpaid leaves of absence should begin at the local (departmental or, in Nursing, college) level. Faculty seeking sabbaticals or unpaid leaves of absence should prepare their applications and submit them to their chairs for their evaluation and recommendations, following any specific directives the deans may issue. The chairs then forward the applications with their recommendations to the deans, who will undertake the usual procedures for reviews of leaves. The deans, taking into consideration the question of staffing courses left vacant by leaves, then will forward their recommendations to the Provost or designee for approval.

Please remember that all proposals and submissions for an external grant, a fellowship, or other extramural support must be processed through the Office of Research Administration even if the grant is made directly to the faculty member. It is very important that ORA be informed of all such applications. This is always the case, including when the extramural support is sought in connection with a sabbatical or leave of absence. Please see Sponsored Research in the Faculty Handbook.

Sabbatical/Unpaid Leave of Absence deadlines for 2018-19 are as follows:

Submission of application to chairs: September 25, 2017
Submission by chairs to deans: October 23, 2017
Submission by deans to VPAA: December 4, 2017

It is understood that unforeseen events and opportunities for grants and fellowships may occur after these deadlines. They will be handled following the same procedures but with due consideration for the varying times and deadlines.

Please note that sabbatical reports, prepared after one's sabbatical is completed, are to be submitted directly to one’s dean and department chair, not to the Office of the Provost.


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Tolentine Hall, Room 103
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610.519.4525
Fax: 610.519.6200

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