Sabbatical Leave and Sabbatical Assistance Grant

The sabbatical leave program is designed to support activities which will enhance a faculty member’s professional development and which will, as a result, benefit the university. Sabbaticals may be granted for activities ranging from "pure research" to concentrated study in a new area of one's discipline, to carefully planned programs for updating knowledge of one's discipline. They may also be granted for activities such as acquiring a new skill set or new knowledge, community engagement or service, or teaching-related study and experiences. In all cases, applicants must clearly explain how their goals and actiivties are of value to their individual professional development as well as of value to the university. Sabbatical leaves are not awarded for projects that involve substantial teaching responsibilities; this typically precludes sabbaticals that involve more than a one-course teaching load or equivalent per sabbatical semester. (Faculty Handbook section 9.5: see the Handbook for additional information)

Applicants may apply for a semester or full year sabbatical. Applicants for full-year sabbatical may apply for a Sabbatical Assistance Grant. The maximum amount for these awards, which are competitive, is $4000. The award can be used to cover expenses related to the project, including travel, but not for purchase of capital equipment (such as computers) or for a stipend.

Sabbatical recipients are required to return to the University for at least one full year of service following the sabbatical and to submit a Sabbatical Final Report to the Center for Faculty Development by October 1 of the year following the sabbatical leave.

Application Deadline: The deadline for Sabbatical Leave and Sabbatical Assistance Grant applications is 4:00 p.m. on October 1 (for the following year).  The Sabbatical Leave Chair/Dean Recommendation form must be submitted by the Chair to Faculty Development by 4:00 pm on October 8, and submitted by the Dean to Faculty Development by October 16.

Final Report Deadline: Final Report is due October 1 of the year following completion of the sabbatical.

Application Process: Applicants are strongly encouraged to begin planning their sabbaticals a year or more prior to the expected application date. The application form must be filled out completely with all requested information provided, including a copy of the final report from the previous sabbatical leave and a current CV. Applicants should carefully read the Instructions for Preparing the Sabbatical Narrative and address each of the required criteria. (Please note: application materials were revised in 2017.)

Applications should be emailed as one Word or PDF document to the Faculty Development Center ( In addition, the applicant must fill out the top portion of the Chair/Dean Recommendation form and send it with the application to the department Chair. The Chair fills out the Chair's section of the Recommendation form and forwards it to the Dean and to Faculty Development by October 8. The Dean fills out the Dean's section of the Recommendation form and sends it to Faculty Development by October 16. If the applicant is the department Chair, or in areas where there is no department Chair, the recommendation form should be filled out and forwarded to the Center by the Dean.

Selection Criteria: Proposals should be written in a way that minimizes disciplinary jargon as much as possible (if necessary to include, provide definitions) and is understandable for a non-technical reviewer.  Criteria by which proposals will be evaluated include, but are not limited to:

  • The possibility of significant value of the project 1) to the professional development of the applicant; and 2) to the University of St. Thomas;
  • Evidence that the applicant has given thought and preparation to the project;
  • Overall feasibility of the project with reasonable expectations for completion of work;
  • Clear rationale for why the requested leave (half year or full year) is necessary to accomplish the project;
  • Clarity of the proposal in convincing, well-written prose;
  • Support of the department Chair and the Dean (or only the Dean if the applicant is Chair or in areas with no department Chair).