A Summary of Faculty Leaves

Leaves can be unpaid or paid and can be broadly grouped into health/family-related leaves, administered through Human Resources, or research/career leaves (“Academic leaves”) that enhance faculty’s contribution to the College and are administered through Academic Affairs. Both offices collaborate to ensure that faculty are fully supported and receive consistent information.

Academic leaves support faculty career progress and enhance faculty contributions to the College by providing for respite from full-time service. The rules and concepts governing academic leaves are found in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Faculty Handbook, which are the core faculty governance documents. In addition, where appropriate to address more traditional non-academic employment related matters, Human Resources policies and applicable state and federal laws may govern.

Because information concerning faculty leaves is found in a variety of sources, Academic Affairs thought it might be helpful to collect the relevant information and summarize it for the faculty. This summary does not represent any policy changes.

Emerson College supports faculty in their efforts to advance in their careers, whether through tenure and promotion, or through multi-year contracts and advanced status. Accordingly, in many cases, faculty members on leave are considered to be engaged in continuous service to the College, which means that their progress toward promotion and increased salary continues and is not impeded. In the Faculty Handbook, the exceptions to leaves with “continuous service” status are Special Leaves, Professional Leaves, and Administrative Leaves. The status of those leaves as “continuous service,” or not, is evaluated on a case-by-case basis with the final determination by the President.

While most semester-long leaves count as continuous service for determining promotion and salary, they do not also count as full-time service. Full-time service requires teaching at Emerson. The Faculty Handbook distinguishes between "continuous service," (sec. 13.1.6) which ensures progress toward promotion and moving forward on the salary grid, and "full-time service" (secs. 13.1.1, 13.2.1 & 13.3) and years of "teaching at Emerson," (sec. 13.1.8) which determine eligibility for pre-tenure, professional, and sabbatical leaves.

Full-time service for purposes of sabbatical leave requires teaching, research and service. It is helpful to consider that a sabbatical is necessarily a respite from active teaching activities that have accrued over time. Thus, a break in teaching duties must follow the full performance of the required teaching, scholarly or creative/professional work, and service during the entirety of the time, thereby creating the eligibility for a sabbatical. Following a sabbatical leave, a faculty member is eligible for a subsequent sabbatical after “completing at least six academic years teaching at Emerson” (sec. 13.1.8). An “academic year” consists of two terms – fall and spring (ECCAAUP CBA sec. 12.5); accordingly, a faculty member becomes eligible for a subsequent sabbatical after completing 12 terms of full-time service.

The Huret Faculty Excellence Award is a research leave that is an exception to the Faculty Handbook (13.1) since it is internal; it counts as a continuous service toward promotion, but not as full-time service, since there is no teaching involved, and hence not toward time-at-the-College for sabbatical purposes.