Swarthmore College grants a semester of paid leave every fourth year to continuing members of the faculty whose appointments are in the ranks of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor or Instructor. Leaves may be granted as often as once in four years and are normally granted for a half-year at full salary or for a full year with as much as half-salary. Faculty members who take only a one-semester leave are expected to teach two courses in the other semester.
A paid leave depends on the presentation of a definite program of research, writings, or other activity that demonstrates a faculty member's future contribution to the College. An application for leave includes a written proposal that summarizes both the aims and the results of the last Swarthmore leave, recent research activities, the relation of the proposed leave to ongoing scholarly goals, and an updated curriculum vitae. Faculty are expected to report on completed leaves. Applications for leave are solicited by the Provost each fall and are usually due September 15.
The College expects faculty members who receive leaves paid for wholly or in part by Swarthmore College to return to their teaching responsibilities at the College for at least one year after their sabbatical leave. The College expects faculty members who do not return to repay the College for the amount of their leave support.
Second Semester Funding
Faculty are strongly encouraged to seek funding for a second semester of leave from both external and college funding sources.
External funding: Faculty are encouraged to apply for external funding for second semester leaves. External applications provide an opportunity for faculty to focus research plans in ways that will be appreciated by your scholarly peers, to network with colleagues from whom you seek recommendations, and to remind others (e.g., on the review panels) of your noteworthy presence in your field. Assistance is available from the Sponsored Programs Office for faculty seeking external funding.
College funding: The College funds 10 to 12 second-semester leaves each year, including those supported by Eugene M. Lang Faculty Fellowships, and gifts from James Michener, Brand Blanshard, George Becker and Mary Albertson. Any regular member of the faculty who is eligible for leave may apply. The fellowships provide financial support for faculty leaves through a grant of one-half the recipient's leave year salary.
Applications for second semester funding are evaluated in terms of high scholarly merit, originality of purpose, and potential for stimulating scholarly interest. At least one of the Lang Fellowships can also be awarded to foster scholarship and/or course development, in particular in interdisciplinary programs such as Black Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Environmental Studies.
Applications: Applications for second semester College funding, normally due December 15, must include a three page (double spaced) project proposal; a one page summary of both goals and results of your last Swarthmore leave (if applicable); a list of all past Swarthmore College funds received for second semester leaves (if you have received any); and a list of foundations, government agencies, or other institutions to which you have applied for funding for this leave and any information you have received about these applications.
The selection process: The selection committee consists of the Provost, the three division chairs and the interdisciplinary representative, and three other persons selected by the President, of whom at least two must be Swarthmore alumni. The Committee reads all proposals and chooses a list of finalists. Finalists meet individually with the committee, normally in February.
In addition to evaluating the substance of proposals, the committee looks at whether or not applicants have had college-administered second semester leave money before and, if so, whether or not they have made good use of it. The selection committee will also consider whether or not applicants have made earnest efforts to apply for funding elsewhere. They may ask outside referees to read some of the applications. They will evaluate the quality of the proposals as best they can -- realizing that there are few fields in which they can themselves be considered experts. Other things being equal, preference will be given to those who have not previously received college-administered funding, and to those who have made the greatest effort to obtain funding elsewhere. While the probability of receiving second semester funding from the College for two successive leaves is thus smaller, anyone who hopes for any college support should nonetheless apply; it is possible to give repeat awards to some deserving applicants.
Housing Resources while on Sabbatical
Although Swarthmore does not provide direct resources for finding or listing sabbatical housing, some faculty have made use of the following resources:
- SabbaticalHomes.com — find or list sabbatical housing
- University of Pennsylvania off-campus housing
- Swarthmore College off-campus housing listings
A faculty member who rents a college-owned house or apartment may continue to hold the lease on the unit while he/she is on sabbatical leave, whether living in Swarthmore or traveling or working away from campus for the year. The faculty member is responsible for the monthly rent as usual. The College permits the faculty member to sublet the unit for the period of time they are away from campus for sabbatical leave or other College-related travel.
The Provost's Office can sometimes be helpful in finding someone to sublet the unit, e.g. a leave replacement person who might be coming for one year, and welcomes faculty to be in contact about that possibility. Whether the sublease is contracted with a faculty member, other employee of the College, students, or someone from outside the College community, both the Provost's Office and the Office of the Vice President for Facilities and Services must be notified of the arrangement. A sublease notification form, available at the Facilities and Services Office, must be completed, signed and approved prior to the sublease start date. The appropriate contacts are: for the Provost's Office, Marcia Brown; for the Vice President's Office, Christi Pappert.
Sublease arrangements of College-owned property for reasons other than the faculty member's absence from campus during an approved sabbatical leave or for other College-related responsibilities such as service at foreign study locations are not normally permitted. Any questions about this policy should be directed to the Provost's Office.