10.1 Paid Professional Leaves

10.1.1 Professional leave is granted for the purpose of affording faculty members an opportunity to carry forward research, to improve teaching techniques or methods, or to participate in other creative endeavors which by their nature and scope enable individuals to enhance their contributions to the programs of the University.

10.2 Eligibility

10.2.1 Only tenured faculty members are eligible to apply for professional leave.

10.2.2 Faculty members may be granted professional leave for a maximum of one academic year for each leave. Professional leave may be granted to a faculty member on fractional appointment up to the fraction of an FTE that the faculty member held in the year prior to the award of the leave.

10.2.3 Faculty members granted professional leave are required to return to the institution for a period of time equal in length to the length of the professional leave. If this requirement is not met, the person shall reimburse the University for the cost of the leave in terms of salary and fringe benefits.

10.2.4 A person must serve a minimum of six years (or eighteen regular term quarters) at Western Washington University before the first professional leave is taken.

10.2.5 A faculty member may not accumulate more than one academic year of eligibility for professional leave. Eligibility for professional leave accumulates at the rate of one quarter of leave per six quarters of service at Western. For tenured faculty members on fractional appointments, eligibility for professional leave accumulates at a rate proportional to their appointment.

10.2.6 Leaves of less than one academic year may be requested or awarded. Leaves may not be divided into segments of less than one quarter. Should a person apply for or be awarded fewer quarters of leave than the accumulated quarters of eligibility, s/he shall be eligible to apply for the remaining quarters of eligibility in succeeding years.

10.2.7 Certain periods of other types of leave, at the request of the faculty member and with approval of the chair, dean and Provost, may be counted as service to the institution for accumulation of professional leave benefits. (e.g.: leaves of a compassionate nature, protected medical leave and leaves that serve the academic missions of the institution.) No more than three quarters of leave (of any type) may be counted toward eligibility for professional leave.

10.2.8 Total professional leaves at any one time are limited by statute. Therefore, the department must develop long range plans for scheduling applications for leaves to minimize the impact on student progress.

10.3 Professional Leave Benefits

10.3.1 If no other form of compensation is involved, such as grant funds, stipends, or fellowships, compensation by the University shall be an amount equal to the normally contracted salary for the period of the leave, provided that such compensation does not exceed the limits set by the law. (Note that current law limits the amount that can be paid faculty. RCW 288.10.650 states that remuneration from state general funds and general local funds for any such leave granted for any academic year shall not exceed the average of the highest quartile of a rank order of salaries of all full-time teaching faculty holding academic year contracts or appointments at the institution or in the district.)

10.3.2 Faculty members are encouraged to seek external grants, fellowships or other sources of support to supplement the University leave salary. Faculty members may supplement the University salary from outside sources to defray additional costs of travel, relocation of the faculty member and dependents to the location of the sabbatical project, and project expenses, provided prior written approval from the Provost is obtained. Supplementary income is also subject to the following conditions: If earning outside support requires work unrelated to the purposes of the leave, approval shall not be given. If the source of the supplementary salary is a scholarship or fellowship, no approval is necessary. If the supplementary salary is from a grant or a contract administered by the University, the total of the University salary and the supplementary salary may not exceed the contracted salary of the faculty member.

10.3.3 During each academic year the University shall make a good faith effort to grant as many professional leaves as permitted by law.

10.3.4 Disagreement over professional leave decisions regarding the merit of the proposal are not subject to the grievance procedure (Section 20).

10.4 Reports

10.4.1 Within one quarter after the faculty member returns from professional leave, the faculty member shall provide a written report to the chair, dean, and Provost, describing that was accomplished during the leave, including the benefits of the leave. The faculty member may be requested to present or provide a public lecture or, in some other way, share the benefits of the leave with the rest of the University community.

10.4.2 Faculty members who fail to submit the report required by this section, following a reasonable reminder to do so, shall not begin accumulating quarters of eligibility for future professional leave until the report is submitted.

10.5 Application Procedure

10.5.1 The Provost shall issue a call for applications for professional leave by mid-September.

10.5.2 The following information is to be supplied in an application form, which is obtained from the appropriate Dean:

• The number of quarters and dates of leave desired;
• A detailed statement of the applicant’s plans for utilizing the time requested;
• A detailed description of how the proposed activities contribute to the individual’s area of study, professional development, and contributions to the university;
• Names of institutions and individuals with which the applicant shall be associated, together with pertinent itineraries and specific dates;
• A statement of any time to be spent on other duties and any compensation to be received;
• A current vita;
• In cases where technical support is required for the project, a statement of support costs and how these shall be met;
• Additional material in support of the proposed program such as examples of the applicant’s work; and
• Copies of reports of any previous professional leaves and reports of the results of any summer research or teaching grants or faculty development grants the faculty member may have received over the previous three years. The application should also include descriptions of any applications for summer research or teaching grants or faculty development grants that are still pending decision.

10.5.3 Upon receipt of materials from the applicant, the chairperson’s recommendation to the dean shall include an evaluation of the merits of the proposal and the benefits the activity described in the proposal could provide the faculty member and the programs offered in the department, college and/or university.

10.5.4 In making the recommendations to the dean, the chairperson shall describe the impact of granting the leave on the department’s course offerings and students’ progress.

10.5.5 The completed application shall be submitted by the chairperson to the dean of the applicant’s college by October 15.

10.6 Review Procedure

10.6.1 The application shall be judged on the basis of the following criteria:

• Academic or scholarly significance;
• Soundness of design, procedure, or operational plan, including clear objectives and timeline;
• Relationship of planned activity to individual’s area of study and professional development;
• Expected outcomes and benefits, including dissemination of results;
• Evaluation of applicant’s ability to achieve the proposed goals;
• Value of the project in terms of academic benefits to the institution upon the applicant’s return from the leave.

10.6.2 The dean of each college, in cooperation with the appropriate chairperson(s), shall evaluate all applications from the college. The deans of the colleges may implement additional review procedures at the college level consistent with the policies of the respective colleges. The merits of the application and the expected benefits to the individual, department, and the university shall be assessed using the criteria in 10.6.1.

10.6.3 The deans shall forward all applications with their recommendations to the Provost by November 15. The Provost, advised by a faculty committee composed of six members, shall make the final decisions regarding the professional leave awards. The faculty committee shall be selected by the Provost from among those faculty members who have returned from professional leave within the previous three years. As far as possible, committee membership shall include faculty representing the different disciplines, though it is not the intent that each college shall regularly have a representative on the committee. The committee members serve three-year terms, two members of the committee being replaced each year. The Provost shall notify the applicants and their chairpersons and deans of the decisions and provide them a written explanation of the basis for the decision by January 31st.