Faculty Sabbaticals vs. The Jobs Bank
On this post, CD regular Walt G. comments: "I see that tenured professors can get a sabbatical leave (jobs-bank type leave) for six months every six years of employment (Source: The University of Michigan SPG 201.30-2). Accordingly, every 12 years they can get one year off work with full pay and benefits (except paid vacation): that’s 8½ % of the time they get paid for not working."
1. According to the University of Michigan Standard Practice Guide (SPG), "Members of the regular instructional staff who have completed six years of service in regular professorial ranks at the University are eligible for a sabbatical leave." That means that eligible faculty who complete six years of service would be eligible to take a sabbatical leave in his or her seventh year, and over a 14-year period would receive one year total sabbatical leave.
2. From the SPG: "Application for sabbatical leave shall be made in writing (using Form J) and submitted to the Dean of the unit concerned not later than February 1 preceding the appointment year within which the leave is desired. The application must be accompanied by a statement of a well-considered plan for the sabbatical which includes its significance as a contribution to the professional effectiveness of the applicant and the best interest of the University."
3. Further, "Upon completion of the sabbatical leave, the recipient shall submit a report of the results of the leave within 90 days following return from leave. The report shall be submitted to the chairman who will acknowledge receipt of the report and forward a copy of the acknowledgment memo to the dean and the Staff Records Office. The report shall include:
a) An account of activities during the leave, including travel itineraries, institutions visited and persons consulted.
b) A statement of progress made on the sabbatical leave program as proposed in the application and an explanation of any significant changes made in the program.
c) An appraisal of the relationship between the results obtained and those anticipated in the sabbatical leave program statement.
Bottom Line: There seems to be some general misunderstanding about sabbatical leaves for faculty at research institutions. As the application guidelines above suggest, sabbaticals are not paid vacations, they are probably better described as "research leaves from teaching" for professional development. Therefore, any comparisons of: a) sabbatical leaves from teaching to focus on scholarly research for a semester, to b) "working" in a "jobs" bank (i.e. playing cards or reading newspapers) sometimes for ten years or more with almost full pay, are a real stretch.
Faculty time at research universities is allocated among teaching, research and service, but what often happens is that teaching and service become so time-consuming that it detracts from scholarly research. Having a semester every seven years without any obligations for teaching and service allows research-oriented faculty an opportunity to devote full-time attention to research projects that are often impossible to complete with teaching and service obligations, e.g. write a book, or travel internationally to collect scientific data or conduct scientific studies, etc.
Here's one way to think about faculty sabbaticals. If you're thinking about attending graduate school (especially a Ph.D. program), I would think you would want a degree from ONLY schools that had faculty sabbatical leaves, because it's those universities that recognize and reward scholarly research, and it's faculty actively engaged in research who are best qualified to teach graduate classes in graduate programs. If you don't think faculty sabbatical leaves for research are a good idea, then you'll probably be left with choices like the University of Phoenix, Capella Universities, and NOVA Southeastern, etc.