Academic Leave

BOR and VSU Policy

In accordance with policy of the Board of Regents, academic leave (referred to as Educational and Professional Leave in Board policy) of one year or less, with or without pay may be granted by the president and reported to the Chancellor.

The policy of the Board is that the leave is granted for only “the purposes of promoting scholarly work and encouraging professional development” (Board of Regents Policy Manual; 8.2.7.4).

Academic leave at Valdosta State University will be awarded in accordance with board practice of awarding one semester of leave with full pay and two semesters of leave with half pay.  An additional year without pay may be granted with justification endorsed by the department chair, dean, and provost with the approval of the President; additionally, academic leaves of more than one year require the approval of the Chancellor of the USG or her/his designee.

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for the academic leave with pay for one semester, a faculty member must have completed at least 3 years as a full-time, tenure-track / tenured faculty member at VSU. However, preference for leaves will be given to full-time, tenured faculty members with six or more years of full-time service to the university.  The faculty member will provide a minimum of two years of full-time service to the university upon completion of the academic leave. Additionally, the faculty member can hold no employment elsewhere during leaves with full pay.  Failure to meet the agreed upon timeline for production of the approved tangible product means the applicant is ineligible for consideration of further approved leaves, reassigned time release for scholarly activity, and from summer teaching assignments for a period of two years, or until the product is submitted as agreed.

Each academic College/ Division may award academic leave each year in proportion to the ratio of full-time, tenured/tenure track faculty members, number of majors and hours. That ratio will currently result in 4 awards per year for the College of Arts and Sciences, 1 for the College of Arts, 3 for the College of Education, 1 for the College of Business Administration, 1 in alternate years for the College of Nursing, 1 each 3 years for the Division of Social Work, and 1 each 3 years for Library/MLIS. Review of the enrollment basis for this distribution will be annual. An additional 2 “at large” leaves will be considered for exceptional proposals from any College / Division and vetted through the Deans’ Council. No more than one academic leave with pay per seven-year period may be awarded to any individual faculty member. Resources to accommodate the leave will be garnered at the Department/College level through existing avenues available. For example, lecture type classes may allow consolidation of two sections of a course as one; external funds may be applied to support part-time faculty members to instruct courses; funds for reassigned time for scholarship may also be used to support a part-time faculty member. However, the faculty member who is approved for the leave will continue to be paid in full for the semester of the approved academic leave.

Process

Application for academic leave must be completed and submitted to the faculty member’s dean / department head by the first day of classes, one academic year (fall, spring) before the requested period.  For example, a faculty member requesting a leave for fall semester must have the application completed and to the dean / department head for consideration at the beginning of the previous fall semester. This is necessary to account for course scheduling. Any application approved by the dean / department head must be forwarded to the dean before the end of the semester in which approval by the department head occurred. Unit allocations of leaves will be sent forward from each dean / director to the Deans’ Council. Final recommendations for leave will be sent forward from the Deans’ Council.

Primary criteria for approval will be the unique product that elevates the stature of Valdosta State University and of the faculty member. All leaves must result in a tangible professional product related to the professional discipline of the faculty member. A description of the product and a timeline for production will be required in the application for the educational leave.

(Approved by Faculty Senate on 4/21/2011)