Professional Leaves & Special Assignments


Faculty Professional Leave

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This is a timetable for Columbus campus faculty applying for faculty professional leaves (FPLs) to be taken in 2022-2023.

NOTE: Regional campus faculty should follow processes established for their campus. Regional campus deans/directors send FPLs for ASC faculty to the appropriate department chair or school director for approval. Chairs and directors should return the FPLs to the appropriate regional campus administrator; they are not submitted to the Arts and Sciences college office.

Timetable for Columbus Campus Faculty Professional Leave
Date Stage of Application
Autumn 2021 January 2022 Online applications submitted by faculty via DocuSign format in the Applications section below.

Divisional deans support staff sends applications to chairs via BuckeyeBox as they are received.
January 18, 2022 Recommended final departmental due date for faculty to submit FPL and special assignment applications to chairs/directors (units may set earlier deadlines to facilitate peer review.)
February 2, 2022 Letter from chairs and directors to divisional dean summarizing, rank-ordering and approving FPL applications due to (one letter addressing all FPLs); college review begins.
March 2, 2022 Deans’ recommendations forwarded to the Office of Academic Affairs.
March 11, 2022* Deadline for OAA to forward approved FPLs to the Board of Trustees; units notified of college and OAA approval soon after this date.
June 3, 2022* Vote for approval by Board of Trustees.

The FPL program is designed to give tenured faculty a period of uninterrupted time to invest in their scholarship and professional development. Activities that entail little or no investment in new skills or knowledge are not appropriate for the program. In evaluating and funding FPL proposals, departments/schools and the college will place greatest weight on the merits of the proposal in light of the faculty member’s plans for advancing his or her research or creative activity and the advancement of the academic mission of the department/school and the college. Although there are many advantages to spending the FPL at another university or some other appropriate institution, such an appointment is not essential if the plan for the leave is meritorious in its own right. Faculty who apply for an FPL will therefore need to explain clearly why an extended period of time is necessary for the advancement of their scholarship and professional development and what outcomes they expect to accomplish during that time.

The basic policies and guidelines for Faculty Professional Leaves are maintained by the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA).

OAA Faculty Leave Policies [pdf]

  1. All tenured faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences with at least seven (7) academic years of service at the university may be granted professional leave for a period not to exceed one academic year. This seven-year service requirement is mandated by the Ohio legislature and stipulated in the Ohio Revised Code. For the purposes of this program, a “faculty member” is defined as any associate or full professor on at least a 50 percent appointment in the college, and “academic year of teaching service” is defined as any academic year in which the faculty member, while in such status, has significant responsibilities to an instructional unit or units in the college.
  2. A full-time faculty member becomes eligible for a second professional leave after completion of seven years of service following the end of the first professional leave. If there is a break in service (e.g., a faculty member resigns from the university and then later returns and is reappointed), the seven-year period begins with the date of reappointment.  
  3. Unpaid leaves of greater than one semester do not count toward years of service. 
  4. There is no set number of FPLs awarded in any given year. FPLs are counted as departmental/school course releases in the faculty course assignment inventories that are submitted to the college, and chairs and directors should factor FPLs into their planning regarding course assignments and course releases. In addition, the college is responsible for ensuring that no more than 10% of the faculty is on leave at any one time (see departmental review process, below, which gives more information on definitions of leaves), and in general departments and schools should follow this guideline as well.

Length of leave. Faculty Professional Leaves may be taken for a full academic year or for either fall semester or spring semester.  They may not be taken across academic years.

Release from service and teaching obligations. An FPL entails a complete reduction of teaching and service obligations; however, faculty members are still expected to continue to advise graduate students or to make provisions for their supervision. They are not required to attend promotion and tenure meetings, and faculty members who are on FPL do not count toward the quorum of eligible faculty. If they choose to attend the meetings while on FPL, they are included in the quorum.

In general, faculty who take a one semester FPL will be expected to be on duty and actively involved in teaching and service during the other semester. In rare circumstances, when the department can accommodate an additional teaching release, the FPL can be taken in conjunction with a special assignment in a contiguous semester. Such an arrangement is contingent on approval by the chair and the relevant divisional dean.

Salary. Faculty Professional Leaves of one semester may be taken at full salary and two semesters (full academic year) may be taken at 67% base salary. 

Benefits. Because faculty members with reduced salary are still considered full-time employees, there is no reduction of benefits associated with this program. However, retirement contributions are directly linked to the amount of salary: faculty members on full-year FPL who are members of the State Teachers Retirement System should complete the STRS Notification of Professional Leave of Absence Form.

Download the STRS Leave Form [pdf]

The college faculty affairs office will send this form to anyone applying for a full-year FPL who is a member of STRS. Once completed, the college office will hold these forms and then process them pending final approval of the FPL by the Board of Trustees. 

Grants and supplemental compensation. Faculty members on a reduced salary may accept external grants for research or creative activity to augment the leave stipend to the level of their full-time salary, provided that the grant activity is related to the project outlined for the professional leave and that the granting agency approves the use of funds for this purpose. External funding in excess of the base salary can be accepted as personal income only with the approval of the college and of the Office of Academic Affairs, and will be based on documentation of increased living costs necessitated by the leave. During the FPL, total income cannot be greater than the base salary and expenses. Faculty may not receive additional compensation from the university to teach or do additional service projects during the leave. Faculty may accept off duty pay in the summer (after the conclusion of final exams for spring semester), though some external sponsors do not allow both off duty pay and augmentation of regular salary.  

Return to campus after leave. A professional leave may not be a terminal leave.  In accepting professional leave, faculty members must indicate that they recognize their responsibility to return to the university for at least one year thereafter. The application must include a written and signed statement indicating understanding of this requirement.

Final report.  Within two months after returning to service from professional leave, each recipient must submit a brief (one page) report summarizing work completed while on the leave. Reports on fall semester FPLs will be due on March 1 of each year while reports on spring semester and full-year FPLs will be due on November 1. FPL reports should be sent to and copied to the faculty member’s divisional dean. The college will forward the reports to the Office of Academic Affairs, who are mandated by the Board of Trustees to collect them


Click Here to Apply for your 2022-2023 FPL Application

Request for Change or Cancellation of Faculty Professional Leave

  • Online application form signed via DocuSign, available at the link above.
  • A detailed description of the proposed project that describes relevant previous work; goals for the project; and a work plan during the leave. This statement must be no longer than three pages, single-spaced.
  • A copy of the applicant’s CV. The college and OAA prefer an abbreviated CV if it is readily available, but will accept a full CV if creating an abbreviated one entails extra work for the applicant. 
  • If applicable, a copy of notification of fellowships or any letters of invitation to other institutions that are related to the leave (e.g., invitation to do research at another institution or library; details about a fellowship or grant that will off-set the reduction in salary for a full-year leave)

Faculty members interested in applying for FPL should submit an online application by January 18, 2022 or by the departmental or school deadline, whichever comes first.

Chairs and directors may set earlier deadlines to facilitate review of applications. Regional campus FPL applications are submitted to the regional campus and follow deadlines set by the regional campus deans and directors.


Department/School: Chairs and directors should follow the process outlined for review of FPLs that is described in the pattern of administration of their unit; university policy states that such review should include some form of peer review.

The review should consider the following criteria in reviewing the merit of the applications:

  • clarity of the project description, the specific objective for the leave, and the purpose of the project being undertaken
  • evidence that the project will make a significant contribution to the field involved
  • evidence that the applicant will be able to make substantial progress on the project or in the area of study during the requested leave period
  • the qualifications of the applicant to undertake the proposed study and the importance of the project to their professional development

By February 2, 2022, chairs and directors must submit a single letter to, directed to their divisional deans, that:

  • in ranked order of priority, provides a brief description of and assessment of the merits of each proposal being recommended for approval by the college
  • details the specific arrangements that will be made to cover the teaching and/or service responsibilities of the recommended applicants during their absence. It is the responsibility of the department/school to ensure that adequate funds are available for the leave, and that teaching and other obligations of the faculty member on leave can be satisfactorily met. In this regard, chairs and directors should plan for course releases from FPLs in the context of the overall teaching loads for the unit and the target guideline of an 85% teaching yield. Note that the funds released by the 1/3 salary reduction for faculty on a full-year leave are left in the unit in order to help cover teaching replacements or other costs associated with the leave.
  • briefly describes any applications received that the chair/director is not approving and the rationale for not moving those applications forward.
  • contextualizes the list by indicating the number of tenure-track faculty in the unit on the Columbus campus and the percentage who will be on leave if all FPLs are approved, as well as any other known leaves. In general, units should follow the college guideline that no more than 10% of the tenure-track faculty on the Columbus campus will be on leave at the same time. The types of leave included in this guideline include discretionary (extended absence from campus), medical/FMLA, unpaid, and FPL. Special assignments involve a temporary reassignment of duties and are not categorized as leaves. Read Section XII of the document below for more information.

In cases where a faculty member has a joint appointment in more than one unit, the chairs and directors in both units should consult, and the chair or director writing the letter should describe the arrangements in both units.          

College: The divisional deans, in consultation with the vice dean, will review the applications for evidence of merit as reflected in the project statement and in the departmental or school rank ordering of applications, and for evidence that they meet the criteria stated above.

They will also consider the budgetary implications of the leaves and ensure that the college is following the guideline in its pattern of administration that no more than 10% of the faculty will be on leave at one time.

The divisional deans will then discuss the chairs’ recommended approvals with the executive dean, who will make the final college approvals and forward the applications to the Office of Academic Affairs.  

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Special Assignment

Tenure track faculty instructions:

Tenure track faculty application:

Course assignment inventory and approval process for special assignments: