Sabbatical Leave for Administrators

Policy number03-04
Responsible officeProvost and Academic Affairs
Enforcement officialProvost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
ClassificationBoard of Trustees-delegated Policy
Category03. Academic Affairs

Statement of policy

This policy articulates the requirements for an administrator to qualify and apply for sabbatical leave.  Academic administrators who are in good standing and who have served in an administrative capacity for four years are eligible to apply for an administrator sabbatical leave. An administrator sabbatical leave is separate and distinct from sabbaticals covered by the WMU/WMU-AAUP Collective Bargaining Agreement (WMU/WMU-AAUP Agreement).

Summary of contents/major changes

Updated and clarified requirements for an administrator sabbatical leave, including updates to reflect Article 26 of the WMU/WMU-AAUP Agreement.

1. Purpose of Policy

This policy articulates the requirements for qualifying and applying for an administrator sabbatical leave and sets forth the terms and conditions an academic administrator must meet to receive an administrator sabbatical leave.

2. Stakeholders Most Impacted by the Policy

Current administrators in Academic Affairs who (a) seek to take a temporary leave from their administrative position in order to pursue scholarly activities in their field of discipline, or (b) who are leaving their administrative position to return to a faculty position at WMU and who seek an opportunity to prepare to return to faculty.

3. Key Definitions

3.1.  Administrator:  chair, director, dean, associate provost, associate dean, or assistant dean within Academic Affairs.

3.2.  In good standing:  an administrator who has complied with all the terms of their appointment and who has not incurred any sanction, disciplinary action, or suspension during their time as administrator.

3.3.  Faculty member:   a member of the WMU/WMUAAUP bargaining unit.

4. Full Policy Details

4.1.  Academic administrators who meet all of the following criteria may apply for the Administrator Sabbatical Leave:

  • 4.1.1. Have rank and tenure in an academic department as defined by the WMU/WMU-AAUP Agreement;
  • 4.1.2. Have served as an administrator for at least four years; 
  • 4.1.3. Have completed their administrative assignment in good standing;  
  • 4.1.4. Meet the eligibility requirements for a sabbatical leave as stated in Article 26.1 of the WMU/WMU-AAUP Agreement; 
  • 4.1.5. Submit a proposal consistent with the requirements of a sabbatical leave as described in Article 26.2 of the WMU/WMU-AAUP Agreement; and
  • 4.1.6. Who agree to the provisions of Articles 26.2 and 26.4 of the WMU/WMU-AAUP Agreement.

4.2. If granted, the sabbatical will be effective for one or two semesters, as determined by the Provost. During the sabbatical, the administrator will be classified as faculty and as a member of the bargaining unit. The administrator will receive their “return to faculty salary” and will be considered a former administrator during their sabbatical as outlined in Article 26.4 of the WMU/WMU-AAUP Agreement.

4.3. Sabbaticals awarded under this Policy are not part of the sabbatical selection process as provided in Article 26.3 of the WMU/WMU-AAUP Agreement because eligibility is based on being an administrator. Instead, an academic administrator must follow the selection process below to receive an administrator sabbatical leave:

  • 4.2.1. The administrator will write a proposal, following the guidelines stated in Article 26.3 of the WMU/WMU-AAUP Agreement.
  • 4.2.2. If the Administrator is a chair or director, they must submit their proposal to the Dean of their college who, if they approve, will forward the request to the Provost.
  • 4.2.3. If the Administrator is a Dean or Associate Provost, they will submit their proposal directly to the Provost.
  • 4.2.4. The Provost will recommend to the President whether to grant or deny the proposed sabbatical.
  • 4.2.5. If the President approves the proposal, the President will take it to the Board of Trustees for their review.

4.3.  In order to take the proposed sabbatical, the Provost must approve the Administrator’s proposal prior to the Administrator’s last day in office as an administrator. 

4.4.  Exceptions: There are no exceptions permitted.

4.5.  Communication:  This policy will be posted on the University Policies web page and communicated via the Provost Council.

5. Accountability

Failure to comply with the requirements stated in this Policy could lead to discipline up to and including dismissal, to include neglect of duty and/or insubordination as described in the WMU/WMU-AAUP Agreement.

6. Related Procedures and Guidelines

Please refer to Article 26.1, 26.2, and 26.4 of the WMU/WMU-AAUP Agreement

8. FAQs

8.1.  Do my four years of service need to be continuous? No, they do not.

8.2.  May I have a break in service between my time as an administrator and when I can apply for an administrator sabbatical?  No, a sabbatical must be approved before leaving  an administrator position.

8.3.  May I take my administrator sabbatical and return to my administrator position?  Yes, as long as you receive prior approval from the Provost.

8.4.  While I am on administrative sabbatical, will I receive my administrator salary?  No. You will receive your return-to-faculty salary as set out in Article 26.4 of the WMU/WMU-AAUP Agreement.


Effective date of current versionJanuary 1, 2020
Date first adoptedJanuary 5, 2015
Proposed date of next reviewJanuary 1, 2023


Certified by

Christopher Cheatham

Vice Provost of Budget and Personnel

At the direction of

Dr. Jennifer Bott 

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs