Preparing for Sabbatical


Preparing for Sabbatical: An ORPFD Workshop

Bill Strom, Faculty Development Bob Burkinshaw, Dean, FHSS Carolyn Kristjansson, MA TESOL Paul Rowe, Political Studies & International Studies, MAIH


Today’s goal: to review sabbatical policies, learn how to write a good sabbatical proposal, and to hear testimonies of the joys and challenges afforded by different types of sabbaticals, in order to prepare you for sabbatical.

Sabbatical Policy (Faculty Handbook, 44-45)




: “To increase professional and spiritual development by affording opportunity for study and research, thereby enhancing the applicant’s capacity for service to the University.”


: 1) a privilege, 2) granted after 6 years of consecutive service, 3) and submission of an acceptable application, 4) for tenured, tenure-track, and continuing long-term sessional faculty members.

Sabbatical policy (cont.)


Application deadline:

proposed leave; Provost office will notify of success or not by December 1 st September 15 in year before . (This year due Sept. 17) 4.

Leave Period:

semester sabbaticals must be consecutive semesters.

One or two semesters. Two 5.


You may choose between: a) full-salary for 1 semester b) 2/3rds salary for 2 semesters (both based on current year of salary) Please avoid other paid work and (competing) grant activity which hinder the purpose for which the sabbatical is granted. Benefit contributions and government deductions continue in full regardless of your pay.

Sabbatical Policy (cont.)


Post-leave Responsibilities

: 1) one full academic year (or refund University all compensation), 2) submit a report of sabbatical activity to Provost office.


Equivalency & revision:

Your sabbatical counts as regular service to TWU in future salary and promotion criteria.


Special Provisions

: You may apply for a semester leave at 2/3rds pay (in year 4); you may apply for a ½ time sabbatical for one year at full pay.

Some successful applications

Rowe (Spring 2012) Kristjansson (2011-2012) Strom (Spring 2013)

Criteria and tips for writing a good sabbatical proposal.

Your Sabbatical Proposal

1. Indicate consecutive years of full-time service, and number of years since your last sabbatical (if applicable) 2. Indicate the length and semester(s) for which you are applying, and how your department will "cover" your courses during your leave (discuss with your chair and/or dean).

2. Describe what you accomplished during your previous sabbatical (relate to the previous proposal), as well as your scholarship since your last sabbatical.

Your proposal (cont.)

Include a well-developed proposal that includes:

1. A one-page description of your planned scholarly work

. Describe how it relates to previous research and/or scholarship. Also indicate your plans for relevant scholarly presentations (academic associations) and publications (names of potential journals or book publishers). Include significance of scholarship for your field and for your career. Be sure to write for a non-specialist audience.

Your proposal (cont.)

2. A description of related activities

that you plan to undertake (readings related to your discipline or to spiritual growth; consultation with other scholars; attendance at academic conferences; etc.).

3. An indication of how your sabbatical plans will

benefit the university and its program development


4. An indication of how your sabbatical plans will contribute to

the development and attainment of the mission of the university


Sabbatical Proposal Pitfalls

Including an unrealistic amount of planned scholarly work.

Including an unfocused "scattering" of undertakings.

Including insufficient planned scholarly work.

Failure to showing how ones research to date has prepared one for the project(s) proposed.

Failure to show how essential courses and administrative responsibilities will be covered Failure to address contributions to university and its mission.

Failure to explain how you expect to attain your objectives if you failed to so in the past.

Writing an incoherent or inarticulate proposal at 2AM on September 17  .

Deans Council Criteria for Sabbatical Proposal Assessment

(See handout) 1. Eligibility (10 points) 2. Proposal's overall quality and likelihood of success (10 points) 3. Proposal's contribution to the university's program development (5 points) 4. Proposal's contribution to the university's mission (5 points)

Carolyn’s Experience

Carolyn took a year sabbatical (May – August (15 months), and discovered the longer span allowed her to rest, reflect, and write in a balanced, unrushed way. She lived locally, wrote from home, travelled extensively to four conferences, edited a major book project, and had opportunity for holiday time with her family which a regular teaching schedule does not afford. The singular challenge was the reduction in pay that did not allow for more family travel or relocation. She would take a year sabbatical again as it afforded time to approach projects in season and rejuvenated her spirit.

Paul’s Experience

Paul proposed an robust travel and research sabbatical plan only to see international politics close several doors. However one of his four initiatives (to visit India for research and networking purposes) came through, and in fact led to many serendipitous opportunities for ministry and speaking that he could not have predicted. In the end he was able to back-fill his sabbatical with projects he already had in the works (but were not proposed on his application), and so sabbatical worked well to close of those initiatives and begin new ones in South Asia. He imagined a year-long sabbatical would be ideal, but the finances would be challenging.