Section: Personnel
Policy Number: 4-88
Date: 1997
Revisions: December 2000


  1. Purpose

    Professional leaves are granted by the University to full-time professional employees:

    1. to provide time for research or other professional or creative activity;
    2. to provide time for improvement of resource materials and techniques.

    The justification of a professional leave is determined on the basis of a written proposal outlining the nature of the program to be undertaken and the benefits to the individual and to the University that may reasonably be expected. The vice president, dean or other administrative officer will consider the merits of each proposal prior to forwarding a recommendation for approval or disapproval to the provost. The final approval of professional leaves is the responsibility of the president. Each case is considered individually, but in general, approval is limited to those applications that present a well thought through plan of study, research, travel and/or other activity clearly related to the employee's field and duties at the University. Of primary importance in the consideration of a professional leave is its value in improving ongoing or planned programs or their administration.

  2. Qualifications

    Apart from the merits of the written proposals, prerequisites for obtaining leave are as follows:

    1. The applicant shall have been a full-time professional employee for six full years to be eligible for professional leave under salary option III (A); or for three full years for leave under option III (B).

    2. Leaves of absence without pay exceeding ninety days shall not be counted toward the minimum number of years for eligibility; neither shall such leave disqualify a candidate's application for professional leave.

    3. The credit toward a professional leave does not begin to accumulate until the beginning of the next appointment year after returning from a professional leave.

    4. Professional employees are not eligible for leave while they are in a position funded wholly from other than University funds.

    The award of extramural grants from appropriately accredited agencies shall not be construed as disqualifying a candidate for professional leave but, on the contrary, may be taken, in part, as endorsing her/his application. Teaching appointments, especially abroad, shall also be regarded as a positive recommendation, but professional employees may not agree to accept more than half-time employment while on leave.

    It may be necessary for the University to postpone the award of an acceptable leave request for reasons that have nothing to do with the specific merits of the application itself. In the event of postponement or deferment of leave by the University administration, the intervening period shall be counted toward the accrued time required from the next leave application. On the other hand, if a professional employee delays application until after the normal period has elapsed, the intervening time may not be claimed toward another leave request.

  3. Compensation

    The following professional salary options are available:

    1. After six appointment years of full-time service: one appointment year at half salary or one-half an appointment year at full salary.

    2. After three appointment years of full-time service: one-half an appointment year at half salary.

    3. Inasmuch as the professional employee on leave is still considered to be a full-time employee, all University of Delaware regulations and benefits shall apply to the recipient while on leave. The University and the recipient shall both continue to carry on respective financial responsibilities for all benefits. Recipients participating in the TIAA/CREF annuity program may elect to reduce the premium in the same proportion the total salary is reduced while on leave. In all instances, however, the University's premium payments will remain at their usual level.

    4. The recipient of a professional leave is required to return to the University of Delaware for at least one full year's service at the conclusion of the leave. If a professional employee resigns during or at the completion of a leave, the salary received while on leave must be returned to the University.

    5. The employee will return to the same or similar position and salary upon return to the University.

  4. Procedure

    1. Applications for leave are made through the appropriate vice president, dean or other administrative officer. Applications must include an outline of activities to be engaged in while on leave and a statement indicating how the leave will promote the person's professional development and benefit the University of Delaware.

    2. Applications for full-year professional leave should reach the vice president, dean or other administrative officer by September 1, twelve months before the leave period; notification of the action shall be made not later than December 1 or March 1 following. The importance of the early application and early notification for the University and for the individual professional employee cannot be overemphasized. Applications received with less than the lead time indicated may be accepted, but the disadvantages of risking later notification or lower priority rating should be recognized.

    3. After consideration of the proposal, the vice president, dean or administrative officer will forward recommendations to the provost, along with a proposed plan outlining how the work will be handled in the employee's absence and where required, budgetary recommendations. Professional leaves are approved by the Provost for professionals in academic units. All others are approved by the Executive Vice President.

  5. Reporting of Accomplishment

    Upon return, recipients of professional leaves shall submit a written report to the vice president, dean or administrative officer, with copies to the provost and the president. This report should summarize activities and accomplishments during the leave. Subsequent awards will, in part, be evaluated on the basis of the achievements of previous grants.

Submitted by: Labor Relations