Sabbatical guidance

UWL College Sabbatical Information expanding section

In addition to UW System and UWL requirements, faculty members should consult their college’s sabbatical guidance website for further guidance:

Sabbatical application materials can be found on your college's web page (linked above).  The university wide deadline for sabbatical materials is 4:30 p.m. on the second Friday of September.

Notification of sabbatical awards will be made by the respective college no later than November 1.

Sabbatical Eligibility expanding section

A faculty member is eligible for sabbatical leave under the following terms:

  1. A faculty member must have completed six or more years of full-time instructional service, or its equivalent, in the UW System and not have taken a sabbatical within the UW System during the previous six year of full-time service, or its equivalent.
  2. A faculty member must be tenured by the time the sabbatical is to begin.
  3. Leaves of absence, regardless of source of funding (including personal resources), will be excluded in determining a faculty member’s years of full-time service.
  4. Preference shall be given to those making significant contributions to teaching and who have not had a leave of absence, regardless of source of funding, in the previous four years.
  5. A sabbatical will not be awarded to a faculty member who does not plan to return to the institution from which the leave is granted for at least one academic year of service after the termination of the sabbatical. For example, a faculty member who has been denied reappointment to a permanent position in the year following the sabbatical leave, or a faculty member who plans to retire within one year following the sabbatical leave, is not eligible.
Sabbatical Types expanding section

Two types of sabbatical leaves are available to faculty members:

  1. A faculty member may take a sabbatical leave for an academic year and receive from the institution financial support at any level up to sixty-five percent of his/her full compensation for that period, in accordance with institutional policies.
  2. A faculty member may take a sabbatical leave for one semester of the academic year and receive from the institution financial support at any level up to a maximum of his/her full compensation for that period.

UW System policy does not allow sabbaticals to include summer leave. Thus, all eligible faculty may apply for a one- or two-semester sabbatical leave during the academic year whether they have an academic year (i.e., 9-month) or annual (i.e., 12-month) appointment.

Sabbatical Compensation expanding section

For sabbatical leaves lasting one semester, a faculty member may receive up to 100% of their full compensation from all sources of institutional support.

For sabbatical leaves lasting one academic year, a faculty member may receive up to 65% of their full compensation from all sources of institutional support.

A faculty member may receive and is encouraged to seek supplementary grants or awards, from the university and/or external sponsors, while on sabbatical leave. Compensation from external sponsors (i.e., non-UWL and non-UW System/WiSys sources), when combined with institutional compensation, shall not exceed 100% of the full compensation normally received by the faculty member for that period. Compensation paid by university and/or UW System/WiSys awards constitutes institutional support, and so salary from such sources paid to faculty on sabbatical leave is generally allowable during summer but not during the academic year.

Supplementary grants or awards applied for and/or received during sabbatical are also subject to the following conditions:

  1. Such additional grants or awards may be received by a faculty member only if the conditions for accepting the additional resources do not interfere with the stated purposes of a faculty member’s sabbatical program.
  2. A faculty member may seek additional support specifically for travel or unusual living expenses associated with their sabbatical. Such expenses are not subject to the compensation limits above.
  3. A faculty member may not use the sabbatical leave to accept other paid employment during the period of the leave, unless as stipulated as a condition of the leave. If so stipulated, the compensation limits above apply.
  4. A faculty member must specify all grants or other awards applied for or to be received during the leave in their application for the sabbatical program.
Grants & Other Awards for Sabbatical Activities expanding section

Faculty members are encouraged to apply for supplementary grants and/or other awards, from the university or external sponsors, in support of sabbatical activities. Regardless of the funding source, supplementary funding is subject to the limits and conditions described under Sabbatical Compensation. Additionally, faculty should adhere to the following guidance.

Chart of timelines as they relate to other UWL Grant Initatives.

University Grants

Faculty are encouraged to apply to university funding sources in support of sabbatical activities. Most university grants, guidelines, and submission deadlines are listed on the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP) website.

Individual colleges may offer additional funding opportunities; consult with your dean’s office for further information. Examples of UWL grants that may be of particular interest to faculty planning sabbatical leave include the Faculty Development Grant program, Faculty Research Grant program, and International Scholarship Grant.

In determining when to apply, be mindful that most university grant programs award funds that become available the following fiscal year. For example, Faculty Research Grants are due the fourth Wednesday of October, and award funding becomes available the following July 1.

UWL Grant Proposal Conditions

University grant proposals should first adhere to the specific grant program guidelines. Within the context of those guidelines, all university grant proposals that request support for sabbatical activities should also adhere to the following standards:

Required Sabbatical Supplementary Information Form

In addition to other documents required by the targeted university grant program, faculty must download and fill out the Sabbatical Supplementary Information form. The completed form should be uploaded as a PDF into the Digital Measures Internal Grant Proposal form under Additional Supporting Documents.

Download Sabbatical Supplementary Information Form

Budget Considerations

  1. Travel, supplies, and other expenses that are not faculty salary are allowable so long as they support activities consistent with the purpose(s) of the sabbatical program.
    1. For projects requiring travel, living expenses (lodging and meals) are limited to a total of $4,000, which is intended to cover approximately one month of such expenses.
      • Travel reimbursement process:
        1. Faculty should submit their TER documentation to their respective department ADAs.
        2. ADAs should enter a single travel reduction line when entering the TER to keep the reimbursement within the $4,000 living expenses cap. (If there are additional travel reductions required, each reduction should be entered separately with an accompanying explanation.)
        3. ADAs should enter the following language into the travel reduction line “Comments” section: “Lodging and meals have been reduced to comply with the award terms limiting travel to $4,000.”
        4. ADAs should upload a copy of the grant award letter to the TER as supporting documentation.
  2. Faculty salary (if allowed by the specific grant program):
    1. Is not allowed for sabbatical activities undertaken during the academic year.
    2. Is allowed for sabbatical activities undertaken during the summer.
      • If the grant program allows summer compensation, and the faculty member is requesting it, explicitly outline the summer work plan in the application (i.e., what project activities will be conducted during the summer?). The proposed summer work plan’s scope should align with the amount of compensation requested (e.g., one-month work plan to justify a one-month summer stipend).
      • Summer compensation is subject to UW System and UWL limits. See the UWL overload policy for more information.
  3. Summer compensation for collaborating university faculty and staff not on sabbatical leave during the proposed project is allowable (subject to the grant program guidelines).
  4. If appropriate, faculty may apply concurrently for project funding from more than one university grant program. However, funding for the same expenses may not be duplicated between grant programs if more than one award is made. Additionally, the maximum total funding that a faculty member may receive from one or more university grant programs is $10,000 during the fiscal year in which the sabbatical takes place.

External Grants & Other Awards

Faculty are encouraged to apply for external funding sources, such as grants and fellowships, in support of sabbatical activities. UWL and UW System/WiSys funding sources are defined as institutional support, and are thus not categorized as external funding sources.  For assistance identifying potential funding sources, contact the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP) early in the process. Be mindful that it often takes at least one year to identify, apply for, and (if funded) receive an award. Faculty are thus encouraged to plan far in advance to identify and apply for funding sources.

External grant/award proposals must adhere to university and sponsor requirements, as well as applicable state and federal regulations. Contact ORSP for assistance. Additionally, external proposals that request support for sabbatical activities should adhere to the following standards:

  1. All proposals for external funding must be consistent with the sabbatical’s purpose(s).
  2. Travel, supplies, and other expenses that are not faculty salary are allowable so long as they support activities consistent with the purpose(s) of the sabbatical program.
  3. Faculty salary (if allowed by the specific grant program):
    1. When combined with institutional compensation, faculty salary from external grants/awards is allowed for sabbatical activities undertaken during the academic year up to 100% of the faculty member’s compensation typically received for the same period.
      • In cases where faculty take a leave of unpaid absence from the university, the faculty member should make arrangements with their respective department chair and dean to ensure continuity of their health insurance and other fringe benefits while on unpaid leave. Additionally, compensation from the external source remains subject to the UW System sabbatical compensation limits (see Sabbatical Compensation).
    2. Is allowed for sabbatical activities undertaken during the summer.
      • If the grant program allows summer compensation, and the faculty member is requesting it, summer compensation must be based on a faculty member’s institutional base salary and may not exceed UW System compensation limits (see Sabbatical Compensation).
      • Summer compensation is subject to UW System and UWL limits. See the UWL overload policy for more information.
  4. Salary for collaborating university faculty and staff not on sabbatical leave during the proposed project is allowable (subject to the grant program guidelines).
  5. Grants and other awards applied for in support of sabbatical activities must be specified in the faculty member’s sabbatical application.
  6. A faculty member may not use the sabbatical leave to accept other paid employment during the period of the leave, unless as stipulated as a condition of the leave. If so stipulated, the UW System compensation limits apply.

Fulbright Awards

Faculty are encouraged to seek a sabbatical if applying for a Fulbright to avoid any interruption of benefits. Faculty should meet with their chair, dean, HR, and the Fulbright Scholar Liaison prior to applying for a Fulbright award. To ensure compliance with UW System sabbatical policy limits on compensation, if a faculty member receives a Fulbright award for support of a sabbatical project, the stipend received should be applied toward living expenses.

Fulbright proposals are due in August prior to sabbatical deadlines. Sabbatical decisions are announced first. If a sabbatical is awarded but a Fulbright is not, please work with your dean and HR, as a Fulbright without sabbatical has implications for paid and unpaid leave.

Additional Considerations expanding section

Before applying for sabbatical, all faculty are encouraged to consult with HR regarding the use of their healthcare benefits during sabbatical leave. In particular, faculty who will be conducting sabbatical activities outside of Wisconsin should consider the logistics of using their health insurance during that time (e.g., accessibility of in-network providers for HMO plans).

Chart of timelines as they relate to other UWL Grant Initatives.