The university understands that faculty development is essential to the health and rigor of its academic programs. For that reason it supports a number of opportunities for faculty to enhance their skills and pursue individual areas of research, scholarship, and creative activity. Among those opportunities are sabbatical leaves, junior faculty research accommodations, travel to conferences and workshops, university-sponsored grants, and programs sponsored by the Faculty Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.
A. Sabbatical Leaves
As a leave program represents one of the primary opportunities for a faculty member to devote the time and energy to research and reflection necessary to sustained success as a teacher and scholar, such a program well serves Columbus State’s overall mission. Thus, when financial resources permit, the university annually funds a number of faculty sabbaticals.
University administration, in conjunction with the Faculty Senate, has developed Sabbatical Leave Guidelines for determining the qualifications and conditions necessary to sabbatical leave, the compensation formulas pertaining to sabbaticals, and the obligations of each sabbatical recipient. The guidelines also establish the criteria for selecting sabbatical recipients, steps for preparing a sabbatical proposal, dates and deadlines of the application process, and procedures for closing the sabbatical period. Finally, the guidelines provide links to recent, successful applications that may serve as examples.
B. Junior Faculty Research Accommodations
In some cases—often at the time of hire and depending on a variety of factors including job-market conditions in a particular discipline—junior faculty may negotiate for research accommodations, which are generally governed at the college level at CSU. Examples of the kinds of accommodations the university grants include support for summer research programs, reduced teaching loads during the academic year, subsidizing laboratory costs, and others. Junior faculty interested in exploring research accommodations not specifically covered in this section of the handbook should consult with administrators in their college.
C. Conferences and Workshops
Columbus State University encourages faculty and staff to participate in professional conferences and workshops. Typically, financial and other forms of support for such activities come at the college level. Faculty interested in seeking funding or other forms of support in order to attend professional conferences and/or workshops should seek information from the administrative offices in their college. The Travel Policies and Procedures page, which covers specific details regarding all forms of travel at CSU, outlines the steps for securing travel funding from the university for conferences and workshops, and it provides links to CSU travel forms, which may also be accessed directly on the CougarNet site under the Faculty tab in the “CSU Forms” section by clicking on the “Administrative” link and scrolling down to “Travel Forms.”
The University Grants Program supports the vision of Columbus State University by providing funding for faculty activities related to scholarship and professional development. Stressing flexibility and accountability, the University Grants Criteria and Guidelines take into consideration differences in each college’s focus, accreditation requirements, and funding priorities. Competitive University Grants applications are those that commit to one or more specific, tangible products of a research, scholarship, or professional development project, including but not limited to:
- an article submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal
- a juried or peer-reviewed performance or exhibition
- a proposal submitted for external funding
- research project development, data collection, or analysis
- continuing education opportunities
- a presentation of scholarship at a professional conference
The tangible outcome of the project should be achievable within one year of the award of funds. In the case of multi-year projects, the applicant must identify a specific benchmark for each year of the proposed project. At the end of each year, the recipient will generate an accountability report indicating the progress of the project.
All University Grants are limited to a maximum of $10,000.
E. Tuition Remission and Waivers
The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) represents a commitment by the University System of Georgia (USG) to “meet its employees evolving needs” by offering “an educational assistance program . . . that fosters the professional growth and development of its eligible employees.” TAP provides tuition remission or tuition waivers to Columbus State University employees who enroll in courses offered by CSU or other USG-governed institutions of higher learning.
To participate in TAP, full-time benefits-eligible Columbus State University employees must register on or after the dates established by the USG. A system-wide TAP application form is also available from the USG. Interested CSU employees must register for courses that do not conflict with daily work responsibilities and schedules. In some instances, CSU supervisors may provide work-related accommodations if they can certify that (1) an employee’s request for TAP participation does not conflict with work schedules or (2) if a conflict is present, agreed-upon accommodations have been made to facilitate the employee’s TAP participation. Finally, all participating CSU faculty should become aware of current federal guidelines regarding the tax-exempt status of TAP remissions and/or waivers—guidelines identifying the extent to which TAP participation may affect tax payments on annual income.
F. Faculty Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
The Faculty Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (FCETL) offers resources to assist faculty in teaching effectively, in pursuing scholarly research and opportunities for creative activity, and in making progress toward career and professional goals. The Faculty Center provides programs to support the continuous development of all faculty members, promoting faculty initiative and engagement, and celebrating faculty achievements. Programs include faculty roundtable discussions, teaching workshops, faculty research presentations, faculty reading groups, and research and grant-writing boot camps. The Center website offers links to development resources online, including internal grant and fellowship opportunities.
The university administration, in conjunction with the Faculty Senate, developed the guidelines below for determining the qualifications for sabbatical leave and the obligations of sabbatical recipients.
General Qualifications and Responsibilities
Eligibility. Any tenured full-time faculty member holding the rank of associate professor or professor is eligible for consideration for a sabbatical assignment. The Faculty Development Committee selects recipients of sabbatical awards from a pool of screened applicants according to established criteria.
Purposes. CSU grants sabbatical leaves to faculty members to engage in research, writing, study, or other activity determined to contribute to the faculty members’ professional development and to the reputation of the university.
Conditions. The awarding of a sabbatical is not automatic and depends on the merits of the request and on conditions prevailing in the department, school, or college at the time. The Faculty Development Committee makes sabbatical award recommendations from a final list of applicants identified from the aforementioned pool, and the provost presents those recommendations for the president’s approval.
Compensation. The duration of the sabbatical may be for one semester (not to include summers) at full salary and benefits for that semester, or for two sequential semesters (not to include summers) at one-half of the recipient’s salary for the academic year. During either period the recipient will be relieved from teaching responsibilities and routine service requirements in order to devote full time to the approved project.
Obligations. The following rules apply to faculty members applying for and receiving sabbatical leave:
- Applicants for sabbatical awards must submit to their department chair seven copies of a detailed plan of activity they propose to follow. The dean must complete the recommendation sheet before submitting it to the provost.
- While on sabbatical leave, sabbatical recipients may not accept remunerative employment without the written consent of the president or a designated university representative. Sabbatical recipients may not accept any form of employment during the project period that would interfere with the completion of the sabbatical project.
- Within one month upon return from sabbatical leave, sabbatical recipients must file with the provost a written report of the scholarly activities conducted while on sabbatical leave. Sabbatical recipients should submit copies of this report to their department chair and dean, and to the chair of the Faculty Development Committee.
- Sabbatical recipients are obligated to return to Columbus State University for a full academic/fiscal year of service upon completion of the project. Failure to return will obligate sabbatical recipients to fully reimburse the institution for costs it incurred as a result of the sabbatical leave. In accepting sabbatical awards, faculty members sign a statement indicating their awareness of, and agreement to, this repayment provision, and to all other conditions of the project as specified herein.
Criteria for Selecting Sabbatical Recipients
Screeners evaluate proposed sabbatical activities in view of the value it would have for faculty members’ professional growth and the contribution it would make toward improving their value to Columbus State University. In that regard, screeners give preference to sabbatical candidates (1) proposing to update or improve knowledge in a field that will be taught in the immediate future, as certified by the faculty member’s department chair and dean, (2) whose research could not be carried out at CSU while performing other assigned duties (teaching, service, etc.), and (3) whose scholarly writing is scheduled for publication. In cases of candidates having equal merit according to the above criteria, screeners will base the decision to recommend a recipient on the Faculty Development Committee's confidence in that candidate's potential for success.
Sabbatical Application Guidelines
The following guidelines pertain to eligible faculty applying for sabbatical leave:
Preparing a Sabbatical Proposal Portfolio. The sabbatical proposal portfolio should consist of two parts: (1) a formal written proposal not to exceed 10 pages, and (2) an appendage of support documents.
In general, the formal proposal should contain the following:
- Cover Sheet (includes name, department, college, academic rank, proposal title, award period, check list)
- Summary (one page maximum)
- Introduction (a detailed statement of the request, its objectives, its benefits to the applicant and Columbus State University in definitive and measurable terms, the results expected, and the period of time covered by the proposed sabbatical)
- Methods and Evaluation (a detailed description of the applicant’s “Sabbatical Program,” including activities to be employed to achieve the desired results; a detailed plan for determining the degree to which the applicant’s objectives will be met and can be assessed)
- Future Plans (if applicable, the applicant should describe a plan for continuation of activities beyond the sabbatical period which will benefit the applicant’s professional development and Columbus State University; the plan should relate to the objectives and expected outcomes of the sabbatical)
- Budget (a clear delineation of cost, other than salary, associated with the applicant’s “sabbatical program,” including funding sources (grants, stipends, etc.), travel, etc.
The proposal appendage noted above should contain supporting documents, including, but not limited to:
- a current curriculum vitae
- a summary of previous activities which uniquely qualify the applicant to undertake the proposed sabbatical activity
- a summary of previous activities clearly demonstrating that the applicant has the potential to successfully complete the “sabbatical program”
- if applicable, verification that support grants, stipends, and consortia arrangements relating to the “sabbatical program” have been authorized and approved (if the applicant is requesting additional faculty development funds to support sabbatical activities, it should be noted in the sabbatical application, and a separate faculty development proposal, properly referenced to the sabbatical proposal, should be submitted to the Faculty Development Committee).
Meeting Sabbatical Application Deadlines. Before submitting a sabbatical application, applicants must complete and sign a “Memorandum of Agreement” stating that they understand and agree to the terms of Columbus State University’s sabbatical program. Refer to the Academic Affairs Planning Calendar regarding deadlines for the following:
- Academic deans will submit both the sabbatical proposal portfolio and the “Memorandum of Agreement” to the provost by this date. Recommendations are to be on the appropriate form and submitted to the provost, with a copy to the chair of the Faculty Development Committee.
- The Faculty Development Committee will make its recommendations to the provost by this date.
- The provost will notify, in writing, each potential recipient of sabbatical decisions by this date.
- The sabbatical recipients must make a firm decision on their willingness to accept or reject the sabbatical by this date. This decision must be confirmed in writing to the provost, with copies to the faculty member’s department chair and dean, and to the chair of the Faculty Development Committee.
Closing the Sabbatical Leave
Within one (1) month upon return from a sabbatical, sabbatical recipients are to file with the provost a written report of their scholarly activities while on sabbatical. Recipients should submit copies of this report to their department chair and dean, and to the chair of the Faculty Development Committee. The report will identify all scholarly activities undertaken during the sabbatical. These activities should be properly referenced to the sabbatical plan submitted in the formal proposal. Recipients should note and explain all exceptions. If applicable, the university will expect recipients to share the results of their scholarly work through appropriate publications, conferences, workshops, and/or seminars, both on and off campus.
Recently successful applications in the areas of biology and history are available to faculty interested in pursuing sabbatical leave.
The university administration, in conjunction with the faculty senate, developed the guidelines below for screening applications for university grants.
Application and Screening Process
All University Grants applications are reviewed by two committees, one at the college level and one at the university level. Representatives from each department within a college make up the college’s screening committee as faculty members of the individual colleges are best equipped to evaluate the applications of their colleagues based on the funding and research needs of their college. The committees vet and prioritize applications from the faculty of their own college before sending the applications to the University Grants Committee for review and award.
All faculty members, including non-tenure track, are eligible to apply for funding through this program. All participants should consult the Academic Affairs Planning Calendar for the due dates for each step in the process.
- A faculty member completes the University Grants application and submits it to the department chair.
- The department chair reviews applications, adds comments, and passes the applications on to the college screening committee.
- The college screening committee reviews the applications using the University Grants Scoring Rubric. The committee prepares a rank-ordered list of applications, with a brief statement (1-3 sentences) justifying the ranking, for use by the University Screening Committee. (Note that the college screening committee may choose to screen out some applications.)
- The college screening committee sends the packets of applications to the dean.
- The dean reviews the applications, adds comments if necessary, and passes the applications on to the University Grants Committee.
- The University Grants Committee reviews the applications using the Scoring Rubric and considering comments received with the packet. The University Grant Committee makes award recommendations to the provost.
- The Provost’s Office makes the final decision and administers the awards.
The University Grant application may be found using the link above.
Concluding the University Grants Program
Successful grant recipients must file a University Grants Accountability Report with the Provost’s Office no later than 60 days after the target completion date of their project. Recipients also send copies of the report to the department chair and dean.