Child pages
  • L. Leaves of Absence
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

In recognition that leaves of absence can be highly beneficial for the continued professional growth and development of its faculty, Colgate University provides a number of such opportunities as outlined below. [Please note: While on leave, faculty may not receive salary or supplemental payments from Colgate when the total compensation, including compensation from fellowships or other such sources, exceeds the individual’s approved Colgate salary. Additional funds for research, travel, or other expenses may be accepted, but the dean’s specific approval is needed for any income that affects taxable income. Faculty should submit a leave request in the fall of the previous academic year, in anticipation of receiving a junior or senior faculty leave. The purpose of this is to better project staffing requirements for the following year. A faculty member’s request for a leave (e.g., without pay, sabbatical, accelerated, junior, senior, research) shall be approved for no more than two years in a row. No more than a total of three years out of seven may be spent on leave.]


1. Junior Faculty Leave Program Since the spring of 1979, Colgate has supported leaves, designed to provide junior faculty in the tenure stream and in Category I appointments with the opportunity to pursue full-time research for one term at their normal salary. As of academic year 1986–87, a two-course leave has been granted automatically upon successful passage of the third-year comprehensive (or the fourth year review for Category I faculty) review. A description of the research to be carried out, the methods to be applied, and the location of the research should be included in the candidate’s personal statement in the third-year review dossier. Leaves will normally be taken during the fourth or fifth year of teaching at Colgate.

The Junior Faculty Leave Program is administered by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. Departments of successful applicants will receive funds to staff the two courses which would have been taught by the faculty member granted leave, if such replacement staff is needed. Although the normal leave period is a spring or fall term, it is also permissible to arrange a course reduction each term if it facilitates proposed research and if the department chair approves. Candidates may also arrange to take a full year’s leave at 50% pay. There is an expectation that individuals taking a Junior Faculty Leave will return for at least a year of continued full-time service at Colgate.


2. Leaves of Absence Without Pay Colgate faculty members often compete successfully for grants and fellowships from foundations and government agencies such as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation. The University will continue to grant scholarly leaves of absence without pay for periods up to one year, so long as the leaves are compatible with the staffing needs of the departments and the University as a whole. Faculty members who wish to apply for a leave of absence without pay should first discuss it with their department chair, who will forward the request with a recommendation to the division director and the Dean’s Advisory Council. An application for a leave of absence without pay should be made as early as possible, in order that arrangements can be made for replacing the faculty member while is on leave.

The following policies apply to the provisions of benefits for faculty on leave of absence without pay:

a. Faculty members who are on a leave without pay to perform scholarly activities and who have received salary support for those activities in the form of a grant from an external agency (not an external employer) will continue to have premiums for life insurance and their own medical insurance paid by Colgate for up to one year if the grant does not allow such benefits to be claimed and if the grant awarded for salary exceeds $10,000 per year.

b. Faculty members who are on a leave without pay to perform scholarly activities and who do not have grant support for their salaries may apply to the Colgate Research Council for a grant to pay the premiums of their Colgate life insurance and personal medical insurance policies. The Research Council will assess each case on the merits of the scholarly proposal, just as it does in the consideration of each major grant application.

c. Except for the above provisions, faculty members will not receive benefits from the University while on a leave of absence without pay. If they wish, they may make other arrangements for themselves and their families with the Human Resources Department by continuing payments through the University at their own expense.

Normally, no leave of absence will be extended beyond two years. Scholarly leaves of absence for one year or less will count as part of the probationary period unless the individual and the institution agree in writing to an exception to this provision at the time leave is granted.1


3. Family and Medical Leaves2

a. Federal Law The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) makes it possible for eligible faculty to take unpaid family or medical leave of up to 12 weeks in any 12 month period. Common reasons for FMLA include:

    • the birth of a child or the placement of a child with the faculty member either through adoption or foster care;
    • the care of the faculty member’s spouse,3 own parent, or child who has a serious health condition requiring either inpatient care or continuing care by a health care provider; or,
    • a serious health condition of the faculty member.

A full description of the categories of FMLA leaves, eligibility to take such leaves, limits on leaves, and required documentation of reasons for leave may be found in the Staff Handbook — available online at the Human Resources website — which is regularly updated to reflect current federal regulations and university policies.

During any period of an FMLA leave that a health care provider certifies a faculty member as medically disabled, salary and benefits will continue in accordance with New York State law and the University’s disability program. Faculty should contact Human Resources for details on establishing grounds for disability leave and certification of ability to return to work at the end of a disability leave. While pregnancy itself is not normally a disability, the period following childbirth (usually six weeks following an uncomplicated birth) is a disability period.

For FMLA leaves other than disability leaves Colgate will continue an employee’s health, dental, and life insurance benefits on the same basis as before the leave during a FMLA leave. During a non-disability FMLA leave that occurs during an academic term, annual salary is reduced, based on a 36-week academic year, by 2.75% per week of leave.

Faculty members who take or plan to take FMLA leave must provide 30 days notice in advance of the leave, if practicable, to Human Resources and The Dean of Faculty office.

b. Redefined Work Arrangements Short FMLA leaves of less than three weeks will be handled in the same ways as other temporary absences of faculty from the classroom, e.g., through guest lectures, make-up classes, etc., without any redefinition of teaching load. If, however, an anticipated FMLA leave will be disruptive to instruction (normally defined as a leave that results in an absence from the classroom of three weeks or more) the semester in which the leave occurs will be considered to be a two-course semester and teaching arrangements for the term may be redefined.4 During a semester in which teaching arrangements are redefined, a faculty member will be expected to continue with all non-teaching obligations — service activities and scholarship — and devote normal hours to Colgate work during any part of the semester in which the faculty member is not on FMLA leave.

For leaves that will disrupt instruction for 3–6 weeks, a redefined work arrangement will normally include a one-course load reduction and a rearranged teaching schedule for a second course. The way in which the teaching schedule for the second class may be rearranged depends on department and instructor circumstances. By way of example, the course may be taught on an accelerated schedule outside of the FMLA leave period; or missed classes may be covered by guest lectures; or arrangements may be made for the faculty member’s schedule to include team- teaching or partial-credit courses. In cases where a rearrangement of teaching for a course is not possible, the university may require that the course be deferred and taught as an overload within two years.

For leaves that will result in an absence from the classroom of 6 weeks or more, a redefined work arrangement will normally result in a two- course load reduction in the semester of the FMLA leave.

In the academic year following a birth or adoption, a new parent who is an eligible tenure-stream faculty member may also request that one course be deferred, without reduction in pay, and taught as an overload within two years. This course deferral may be in conjunction with an FMLA leave (to replace the course that would normally be taught in a semester with a one-course load reduction) or to reduce teaching load in the semester following an FMLA leave. A new parent may also request, subject to department and Dean of Faculty approval, a course deferral even if the faculty member does not take an FMLA leave.

Faculty who anticipate that a leave might necessitate a redefined work arrangement should contact the office of the Dean of Faculty well in advance so that course schedules may, in consultation with the department chair, be rearranged. All redefined teaching arrangements are subject to final approval by the Dean of Faculty.

In the academic year following birth or adoption any tenure-stream faculty member may also extend, on an unpaid basis, the usual 12-week maximum duration of FMLA leave to one or two college semesters if the purpose of the leave is to care for a newly born or newly adopted or foster child. In this case, Colgate will pay its share of the cost of health, dental, and life insurance during the 12 weeks of the FMLA leave. The faculty member will be responsible for the full cost of benefits beyond the 12 weeks of FMLA leave. Alternatively, a tenure stream faculty member may request a part-time teaching schedule for one or two semesters, with annual salary adjusted accordingly (20% of annual salary per course reduction). Parents who are both faculty at Colgate are entitled to a combined total of two semesters of such extended arrangements per child.5


4. Sabbatical Leaves In order to further the scholarly productivity of the faculty and to enhance teaching, the Board of Trustees in 2003 approved a Sabbatical Leave Account (SLA) Program.

Under the SLA, tenured faculty members will accrue one-half course of release time for each year of completed teaching or service. Subject to the approval of the Department Chair, Division Director, and Dean of the Faculty, tenured faculty members may redeem accrued course credits on a schedule that they believe best enhances their scholarly productivity.

The following regulations were approved by the Faculty to administer the Sabbatical Leave Account (SLA) Program:

a. The SLA program applies to tenured faculty; credits begin accruing in the first full year of teaching after the post-tenure sabbatical. (Any faculty member who has served one year with continuous tenure will be eligible to apply for a two-course post-tenure sabbatical leave with pay after he/she has been a member of the Colgate faculty for six consecutive years.)

b. Faculty members are expected to use the SLA program as an opportunity for research or other scholarly work. When applying, the faculty member should indicate the scholarly purpose of the leave, describe the work to be performed, and indicate what publications, performances or works are expected as a result of the leave.

c. All leaves must be approved by the Department Chair, Division Director, and the Office of the Dean of Faculty and should normally be included in two-year projections. The pattern of leaves with pay must be compatible with the staffing needs of departments and the University Studies Division; approval of applications for paid leave will take into consideration the quality of the proposal and merit of the proposed project. Normally, any faculty member presenting a meritorious application will be granted a semester leave at least once in a seven year period.

d. Faculty members are expected to submit an application for sabbatical in October of the year prior to taking the leave and meet with the Department Chair and Division Director to discuss their leave plans prior to “cashing in” any SLA credit.

e. Full-time tenured faculty members earn 0.5 credits per year of completed teaching or service. Faculty holding endowed chairs that do not provide a reduced course load earn 0.75 credits per year. Category I tenured faculty earn 0.4 credits per year of teaching or service.

f. The University will continue its contributions to insurance programs during the period of sabbatical leave and will continue retirement contributions on the basis of the faculty member’s actual salary paid.

g. Normally, a replacement will not be engaged for a faculty member who uses SLA credits to take a leave at full pay. If the budgetary situation permits, an instructor may be engaged as a replacement for a faculty member who uses SLA credits to take a full year leave at reduced pay.

h. Faculty will not be allowed to round up or borrow credits, except in truly exceptional circumstances.

i. SLA credits are not exchangeable for salary or research stipends.

j. Overloads must be taken as salary or a research stipend and cannot be converted into SLA credits.

k. No SLA credits are earned during the year that two or more credits are used.

l. SLA credit will accrue during leaves without pay for only one semester during any six year period.

m. Accumulated leave credits are lost if a faculty member resigns from Colgate. Except in the case of a negotiated retirement arrangement, a faculty member is expected to return to Colgate for at least one full year of teaching following a year in which SLA credits are used.

n. Normally, a faculty member with five credits in the SLA account will not continue to accrue credits.

o. A faculty member taking a scholarly leave with full pay may not accept a teaching appointment in the United States or Canada. One who takes a leave of absence at reduced pay may not accept such an appointment for more than one semester. These restrictions do not apply to teaching abroad, research activities, or summer teaching.

p. Faculty members who serve as Division Director, Department Chair, Program Director, University Professor, or Associate Dean of the Faculty will earn an additional 0.5 SLA credit for each full three-year term.

q. Faculty sponsoring student summer research or creative projects or directing intensive independent study during the academic year may be eligible to earn additional SLA credits. See “Support for Faculty Sponsoring Student Summer Research or Creative Projects,” which is available from the Dean of the Faculty Office, for full details. While SLA credits earned for sponsoring student summer research or creative projects do not expire, only 1 SLA credit may be earned over a six-year period, regardless of the number of student projects a faculty member sponsors. Junior faculty may accrue SLA credits in this manner prior to tenure, but credits accrued cannot be applied toward leave until after a successful tenure review.

r. Each year, up to four SLA credits (divisible to 0.5) may be granted to Associate or Full Professors, on a competitive basis, by application to the Research Council. Guidelines and application forms may be obtained from either the Research Council or the Dean of the Faculty’s Office.

s. Exceptions to these regulations may be made by order of the President. Subject to the President’s approval, the interpretation of their application in any situation will be made by the Dean of the Faculty.


5. Senior Faculty Leaves Each year one or more Associate Professor and Senior Faculty Leaves may be granted, on a competitive basis, by application to the Research Council. Only tenured members of the faculty are eligible to apply. Guidelines and application forms are distributed via e- mail to all faculty at the outset of each academic year and are also available online.




1 See Chapter III, Section C.3. for an updated procedure on the timing of tenure review after certain leaves.

The current FMLA leave policy was approved by the faculty on January 30, 2012. Faculty policies for postponement of tenure review because of such leaves are described under Probationary Appointments. (III.C.3.)

3 In the administration of this policy, Colgate extends the term “spouse” to include “domestic partner” as defined under Colgate’s domestic partner policy (available in the Human Resources Department).

4 Redefined work arrangements and course-load reductions are policies that are based on the difficulty of covering for an instructor’s absence from the classroom: these arrangements are neither mandated by the FMLA law nor considered employee benefits. Redefined work arrangements for childcare leaves are limited to once per child in the 12 months following birth or adoption and to only one parent if both parents are Colgate faculty. Work rearrangements for unanticipated FMLA leaves or leaves where the return date is uncertain are handled on an individual basis.

5 Childcare leaves that extend beyond the 12 weeks of FMLA leave are included under the rule (section III.L) that limits all leaves to no more than two consecutive years and to no more than three years out of seven.


 Handbook Table of Contents


  • No labels