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PAc-17: Sabbatical Leave of Absence

Policy: PAc-17
Subject: Sabbatical Leave of Absence
Approval Date: 07/01/85
Revision Date: 03/10/97
Revision Date: 03/03/2001
Revision Date: 06/10/2001; 10/18/2012
Last Review Date: 04/11/2020


To provide a leave of absence with pay for research and independent study, professional enhancement such as institutes and workshops, and travel related to the applicant's professional interests. Sabbatical leaves will not be granted for the purpose of pursuing an advanced degree.



The privilege of a sabbatical leave of absence may be granted to an individual who has demonstrated through annual performance evaluations (1) above-average teaching, scholarship, or service, and (2) a good potential to provide tangible contributions to the University upon completion of the sabbatical leave of absence.

All requests for sabbatical leave will be considered. However, budgetary constraints may limit the number of leaves granted.


Full-time faculty members and academic administrators may apply for a sabbatical leave of absence provided they meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor.
  2. A minimum of six consecutive contract years of full-time service.
    1. Tenured (if they are paid through the University) or
    2. If paid with funds provided by an agency other than the University, and in a non-tenured position, they have served at least seven years in one of the ranks listed above. In these cases, the use of restricted funds for sabbatical leaves must be allowed by the granting agency.
  3. Must agree to provide two contract years of full-time service to the University following return from the sabbatical leave.
  4. Professional librarians may also apply for a sabbatical leave of absence provided they meet all of the following criteria:
  5. A minimum of six consecutive contract years of full-time service
  6. Must agree to provide two contract years of full-time service to the University following return from the sabbatical leave.


All of the following factors will be considered when evaluating an application for sabbatical leave:

  1. The potential value of the leave for the professional growth of the applicant.
  2. The quality of the applicant's teaching, scholarship, and service (or performance in equivalent areas for professional librarians) as demonstrated by the applicant's annual performance evaluations.
  3. The potential to enhance the University, enhance an academic program, or help to meet a program's goals and objectives.
  4. The completeness of the sabbatical leave application form.


The applicant is responsible for submitting the application for a sabbatical leave on a form provided. Such applications shall be submitted to the Department Chair no later than September 15 preceding the fiscal year during which the leave is to begin. An applicant may submit an application a year in advance.


The applications shall be reviewed by a Department Leave Committee (composed of tenured faculty members), and in turn by the Department Chair, the College Dean, the University Professional Development Committee, and the Provost. No person shall be on both the departmental leave committee and the University Professional Development committees and no applicant for sabbatical leave shall serve on either. The recommendations of each review level shall be recorded and submitted to the next higher level of review.

The University Professional Development Committee will make recommendations, accompanied by brief evaluations of the applications, in writing to the Provost. At this point the applicants may examine recommendations from all levels of review and, if the recommendations of the Professional Development Committee are negative, the applicant may respond to the Provost in writing.

The Provost will make recommendations to the President who will make recommendations to the Board of Regents. All dates and deadlines are enumerated in the Personnel Action Calendar Summary. Sabbatical leave of absence applications which are recommended by the President are sent to the Board of Regents for final approval at its second quarterly meeting. Applications submitted a year in advance will be reviewed a year in advance. If a sabbatical leave is denied, a new application may be filed for a future year.


Payment while on leave:

A person granted a sabbatical leave may receive full monthly base salary for up to one semester payable over the semester or one-half of the monthly base salary for up to two semesters payable over twelve months. The salary will be based upon that which the person would have received for the academic year had the sabbatical leave not been taken.

Recipient rights during the leave:

  • The recipient of a sabbatical leave will retain the following rights during time spent on a sabbatical leave of absence:
  • The recipient may share in the salary increases awarded by the University.
  • If the recipient is a KTRS participant, retirement contributions will not be withheld during the time spent on sabbatical nor will the University make retirement contributions on your behalf. However, sabbatical recipients will be eligible to purchase service credit for the period of time spent on a sabbatical according to the guidelines set forth by the KTRS. If the sabbatical participant chooses to purchase the service credit within the "interest-free period" as established by the KTRS, the University will pay the difference between the service credit purchase price and the amount that would have otherwise been deducted from the recipient's pay if contributions had been allowed by KTRS. If the sabbatical participant chooses not to purchase the service credit, the University will make no contributions on the participant's behalf. Retirement withholdings for non-KTRS sabbatical recipients and contributions by the University on their behalf will continue at the rates in effect before the sabbatical began.[i]
  • The leave period counts toward requirement for promotion.
  • The recipient will return to the former position with the University unless otherwise agreed to by the employer and employee.
  • The recipient who is a member of a University insurance coverage plan will continue to receive coverage at the same rates while on a sabbatical leave. This applies to dependents as well.

Recipient obligations regarding the leave:

The recipient of a sabbatical leave will accept the following obligations regarding the sabbatical leave of absence:

  • After the leave expires, the recipient shall return to service at Morehead State University for at least two years or repay the amount of compensation received while on leave. If the recipient of a sabbatical leave returns to the University for a period less than two years, the amount repayable shall be prorated in relation to the amount of return service given. For example, if he/she returns for one year, the repayable amount shall be one-half the compensation received while on leave.
  • An agreement will be drawn up between the recipient and the University confirming the approved sabbatical plan and the recipient's rights and obligations. The recipient shall make a progress reports to the appropriate college dean at the mid-point and a final report to both the dean and the Provost at the end of the sabbatical leave. Failure of the recipient to comply with the contracted provisions of the sabbatical will result in cancellation of the sabbatical, repayment of all salaries received as a result of being granted the leave, and forfeiture of all rights specified in the sabbatical leave agreement.
  • Since the sabbatical leave is granted for academic purposes, paid employment is not an acceptable basis for such a leave. However, it is recognized that some forms of remuneration as well as scholarships, fellowships, and other honorary stipends may be a legitimate component of an academic experience. Therefore, a limited amount of income is allowable as part of the sabbatical experience. The determination of any limits to be placed on income earned during a sabbatical leave should be made by the University Professional Development Committee as a part of its review of the application. Recommendations as to such limits can be made at all other levels of review.


An individual becomes eligible to apply for a subsequent sabbatical leave under the terms and conditions specified above, provided that a minimum of six contract years of full-time service has elapsed since ending a previous sabbatical leave and that the applicant has met all obligations of the previous sabbatical leave, including submission of the final report to the Provost.


The President has the option of making exceptions to this policy when deemed in the best interest of the University.

[i] In this section it states that if you are a KTRS participant retirement contributions will not be withheld, however, after the policy was approved by the Board of Regents we were notified that people taking a half year sabbatical with full pay will earn KTRS credit and KTRS deductions will be withheld. We are unable to determine at this time if this will be an ongoing KTRS policy. When we are able to determine if this change is ongoing, this policy will be revised as appropriate with subsequent approvals.

The leave period counts toward requirement for promotion.

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