Academic Personnel

Sabbatical Leave

(Formerly Paid Professional Leave)

The purpose of sabbatical leave is to increase the scholarship and professional development of members of the faculty and thereby enhance their capacity for service to the University of Washington. Leave of this type from academic duties is a privilege granted normally to those of professorial rank to afford them the opportunity for study, investigation and research.

The responsibility for reviewing the merits of the applications and the administrative feasibility of the leave shall be determined by each department’s chair/director, dean/chancellor and the provost in accordance with procedures established by the provost.

UW Salary Support during Sabbatical

Per UW Executive Order 33, the UW will provide salary support during sabbatical as follows:

  • 100% of the tenure-backed salary for a leave of one quarter
  • 75% of the tenure-backed salary for a leave of two quarters
  • 67% of the tenure-backed salary for a leave of a full academic year (i.e., three quarters for a 9-month service
    period, four quarters for a 12-month service period)

If the applicant secures outside grant, gift, or endowment support, which is designated for salary purposes, such funds may be applied to increase the faculty member’s remuneration for the period of the leave to full salary, and thereafter to reduce the University contribution. Except as provided in Executive Order 33 Subsection 2.E, the combined remuneration of a person while on sabbatical leave shall not exceed the individual’s regularly established full salary.

Statutory Limits to State/Local Funded Salaries

State law limits the actual dollar amount of general state and local funds the UW may pay to faculty while on sabbatical. The maximum monthly salary limit for those on sabbatical during the 2020-21 Academic Year is $19,771. Leave requests should be reviewed to ensure this limit is not exceeded. Since this limitation applies only to general state and local funds, faculty may use external support for those portions of their salary not payable by the UW because of this statutory limitation. Use of external sources must be consistent with funding agency requirements.

Application Procedures for Sabbatical Leave with Pay

Contact your unit administrator for guidance about the leave request process.

Who is Eligible?

A faculty member is eligible for a sabbatical leave in their seventh year of service to the University or in the seventh year after returning from a previous sabbatical leave. Assistant Professors are not eligible for sabbatical leave until they have been reviewed and approved for tenure/promotion.

Applications for sabbatical leave of absence should be submitted nine months in advance of the date of the proposed leave. Please check with your dean/chancellor’s office for the specific due date in your area. Leaves are awarded to coincide with the normal academic quarter dates:

  • Autumn quarter: September 16 – December 15
  • Winter quarter: December 16 – March 15
  • Spring quarter: March 16 – June 15
  • Summer quarter: June 16 – September 15

Before the Leave

The following documentation is required of the applicant:

  1. Faculty Application for Sabbatical Leave. If the faculty member obtains grant funds that will be used to supplement a sabbatical leave of less than 100%, that information should be included on the form.
  2. Original and one copy of a letter stating the following facts:
    • Purpose of leave: A detailed statement of the applicant’s plans for utilizing the time requested. This statement should include such information as the time sequence for completion of any project or plan.
    • Who, what, where: The names of foundations or institutions, if any, with which the applicant expects to be affiliated during the leave, an outline of special resources available for the proposed work, and the source and amount of any supplementary grants or salary.
  3. One copy of the applicant’s CV.
  4. If the applicant so desires, he/she may submit supporting letters from faculty members of the rank of associate or full professor, or from any other appropriate individuals not necessarily associated with the University.

Upon receipt of an application for sabbatical leave, the chair/director prepares either a statement of recommendation approving the leave and stating the merits of the applicant’s program, his/her ability to accomplish it successfully, and the benefits which will accrue to the University as a result of the proposed leave; or a statement disapproving the leave and stating the reasons for disapproval. The dean/chancellor reviews the application and a copy of the chair/director’s recommendation. Applications that are approved by the dean/chancellor go to AHR for review by Academic Personnel. Applications that aren’t approved at the dean/chancellor level do not need to be forwarded to AHR.

Sabbatical Application Packet for OAP

Unit administrators should email one PDF per sabbatical applicant to prepared in the following order:

  • Application for sabbatical leave
  • Chair/director’s letter
  • Faculty letter
  • CV
  • Supporting documentation

Travel Expenses While on Leave

Faculty who request funds for travel expenses while on sabbatical leave must obtain written permission from the chair/director or dean/chancellor and submit it with the Travel Expense Voucher (TEV) to the Travel Office. Please refer to the Travel Office for more information.

After the Leave

A summary of the leave activities should be emailed to OAP at upon return to be reviewed by the provost.  The summary should include:

  • Accomplishments: A statement of evidence of productivity in scholarly or creative work and a brief review of professional activities.
  • How did it benefit the UW: A statement regarding the value of the applicant’s project in terms of benefit to the institution upon return from sabbatical leave.

Following the sabbatical leave, a faculty member must return and work for the University for the period of one year at the FTE percentage they held prior to going on leave. Failure to comply with this agreement shall constitute an obligation on the faculty member’s part to repay the University any remuneration during the period of the leave.