Guidelines for a successful sabbatical application

Sabbatical leaves in academia represent an opportunity for faculty to focus intensively on their scholarship or artistry for periods ranging from one semester to a full year. Though sabbatical leaves are a long-standing tradition in academia, it should be understood that such leaves are a privilege and not an entitlement for years of service. Sabbaticals are earned through a demonstrated record of scholarly or artistic accomplishment that is complemented by a well-justified sabbatical plan.

The application form provides clear guidelines on the information that is needed. Follow the guidelines and provide the requested information.

What to include and avoid in your sabbatical application

  • Elements to include in your sabbatical application and proposal

    Enhances scholarship or artistry. Your sabbatical should allow you to enhance your scholarship or artistry in a way that would not be possible or reasonable without the sabbatical leave. Clearly indicate why it will.

    Substantial scholarly or artistic endeavors. Your sabbatical should provide an opportunity to participate in or complete a substantial scholarly or artistic endeavor that would not be possible otherwise. Clearly indicate why it does.

    Productive collaborations. Your proposed sabbatical may initiate or substantial advance productive collaborations with faculty at other institutions. Provide compelling evidence that it will.

    Enhance scholarship or develop skills. A sabbatical leave may provide the opportunity to learn new techniques or skills that substantially enhance scholarship or artistry, or allow you to embark on a new direction to your scholarship or artistry. Describe how this will be achieved.

    Improve scholarly or arististic skills. A sabbatical leave may provide the opportunity to substantially improve your current scholarly or artistic skills. Describe how this will happen.

    Advance progress on project. A sabbatical leave may provide an opportunity to make important progress on a major scholarly publication or artistic production. Describe the project and why the sabbatical is needed to make progress.

    Visits to other institutions. A sabbatical leave may allow for an opportunity for an extended visit to another university, research, institute, or facility that provides resources or opportunities not available at UNR, such as archives, museums, libraries, or specialized research equipment. Be clear about where you will go, how much time you will spend there, and how you will manage travel expenses.

    Case for travel. It is especially important to make the case for why the sabbatical leave is justified if travel for research or artistic purposes is not a necessary part of the proposal. Even when personal circumstances make travel impractical, a compelling case needs to be made that scholarship or artistry will be substantially enhanced through the sabbatical leave.

    Letters of support. If a stay at another institution is a necessary part of the proposal (a good thing!), provide letters of support from institutions or individuals that will host the sabbatical recipient. These can range from formal letters of invitation or simple emails from colleagues.

    Teaching activity and visiting appointments. It is not uncommon for faculty to teach a course while visiting another university during their sabbatical. In such cases, the proposal should clearly indicate how the teaching activity will enhance your scholarship (e.g., interaction with graduate students). If you are on a full-year sabbatical you may hold a visiting appointment at another university that includes compensation for no more than one course during the academic year.

  • Elements to avoid in your sabbatical application and proposal
    • Don’t propose a sabbatical leave that would simply continue your normal scholarly/artistic activities.
    • While it is certainly true that sabbatical leaves should be invigorating, a proposal that emphasizes a need for “rest” or “recharging” will likely not be successful.
    • Generally speaking, sabbaticals will not be awarded to develop a course or a new degree program or to work on accreditation projects. While there may well be justification for release time for such activities, this can normally be managed by deans and department chairs, and does not require a sabbatical.
    • If you are on a half-year sabbatical (receiving full salary from the University), you may not receive compensation from another institution for teaching during the sabbatical.
    • University faculty are not allowed to teach University of Nevada, Reno courses for additional compensation during the contract year of a sabbatical leave.
    • Faculty on sabbatical remain University employees and must follow the university conflict-of-interest and consulting policies regarding compensation from other institutions or companies. They may not be employed by another institution or a private company in a manner at odds with those policies.