James Madison University

Faculty Development

Guidelines for Faculty Educational Leaves for 2020-2021

Endorsement Required

The proposal for an Educational Leave must be endorsed by the faculty member’s academic unit head (AUH).  Applicants should share their proposals with the AUH in a timely manner. The Faculty Development Committee requests that the letter of endorsement from the unit head include an assessment of the effect of the educational leave proposal on the department.

Funds for Educational Leaves for the 2020-2021 academic year are available!
Due date for nominations is Monday, October 14, 2019, by 5:00 p.m. EST

Before beginning this process, please have the required documents ready to submit to the web page.  There is a link at the bottom of the page for your use in submitting the first three items.  The electronic submission will generate an automatic email to you, documenting receipt of your materials and containing a link that your academic unit head will use to submit the endorsement letter.  You will need to send that link to your AUH to ensure that the endorsement letter is submitted to complete your application. Academic unit heads will have one week from the time of the faculty member’s submission to submit their endorsement letter. Arrange your submission plans with your Academic Unit Head to ensure that he or she will be available to receive that link and respond on your behalf in a timely manner.


  • Project summary
  • Narrative (not to exceed five double-spaced typed pages or 1,250 words)
  •  Current curriculum vita
  •  Endorsement letter from academic unit head (submitted independently, as explained above)



The College of Health and Behavioral Studies offers Educational Leaves to provide faculty members with opportunities to expand their teaching abilities and foster intellectual growth, such as independent study, research, graduate/postgraduate study and direct clinical or applied activities. Leave activities should address issues relevant to the applicant's professional field or an area that will enhance the understanding and integration of related fields.  Projects may encompass an expansive field or a specific interest.  Inevitably, leave activities should result in enhanced teaching, research, or professional skills, and the leave recipient should realize a renewed capacity for personal contributions to the university community as a result of the Educational Leave. The purposes of these leaves are to sustain vigor, especially in the university's academic instructional programs, and to ensure that faculty members have the opportunity for professional development.

Faculty Eligibility

In order to be eligible to apply for an Educational Leave, a faculty member must meet the following qualifications:

  • The candidate must be a full-time faculty member or academic unit head.
  • The candidate must be in at least the sixth year of full-time faculty service at James Madison University at the time of application.
  • The candidate cannot have been a recipient of an educational leave within the past six years.

Terms of Leave

The terms of the Educational Leave enable a faculty member to elect to use one full academic year (nine months) at one-half salary or one semester (fall 2020 or spring 2021) at full salary for that semester.  If the one semester option is taken, the remaining semester of that year may not be applied to the accumulation of the six years of service required for Educational Leave eligibility.  With either option, the university will continue to contribute its full share of all established fringe benefits.

An applicant is expected to follow through with an Educational Leave once the application is approved and the leave is awarded.  If your Educational Leave plans change, the Dean’s Office must be notified.

A recipient of an Educational Leave is expected to return to full-time service at the university for at least one academic year after the leave is completed.

Educational Leave may be withheld whenever it is felt that the absence of the candidate for leave would be seriously detrimental to the interest of the university.

Reports and Acknowledgements

At the completion of leave activities, a written report summarizing accomplishments of the leave must be submitted to the Office of the Dean (CHBS) and also to the academic unit head as part of the FAR (Faculty Activity Report) for the academic year.  The faculty member will be expected to provide, in reasonable detail, a summary of his or her activities during the leave period and to address the extent to which the experience contributed to his or her teaching effectiveness and professional development. This written report will constitute a major portion of the faculty member's evaluation for that academic year.   When the faculty member returns from Educational Leave, the Dean and academic unit head may invite the faculty member to make his or her works known to other faculty via a lecture, seminar, presentation, workshop or participation in a colloquium.  Any publication or exhibition resulting from activity assisted by these grants shall indicate:  "This work was supported by the James Madison University Program of Grants for Faculty Educational Leaves."

Criteria/Governing Policies

The Faculty Development Committee will make recommendations based on the following criteria and governing policies:

  • Competition is limited to full-time faculty/academic unit heads who have completed a minimum of six full years of faculty service at James Madison University (application may be made during the sixth year of service).  An additional six full years of service must be completed before a subsequent Educational Leave may be awarded to the same individual with the leave activities to be pursued during the seventh year.
  • Proposals should be written in a clear, coherent, and concise manner and clearly express the concept and organization of the project.
  • The proposal should demonstrate a positive effect on the teaching quality and scholarly achievement of the applicant and of the university's academic programs.  While awards will not be given for proposals that involve preparing a dissertation for publication, graduate or postgraduate work encompassing activities that enhance the teaching effectiveness of the applicant through formal course work and related direct experience will warrant the consideration of the Faculty Development Committee.
  • Additional consideration will be given to proposals that address the mission and goals of James Madison University and strategic initiatives of the College.
  • The applicant must show commitment to work full time on the project and a desire to see its completion.
  • Final choices will be based upon the recommendations of the College Faculty Development Committee as they determine the relative merit of each proposal.  All things being equal, preference will be given to senior applicants who have demonstrated a high quality of service to the university and who have not received an educational leave while employed at JMU.
  • Support will not be given to projects already funded by publishers.  Applicants may submit proposals that lead to publication of books if explicit educational benefit(s) to the department, college or university are apparent.
  • If projects involve research or data collection using human subjects, the proposer must acknowledge that Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, according to policy number #1104, is required of all awarded leaves.  IRB approval and details of the IRB agreement should be submitted to Julie Love before any expenditures can occur.
  • If projects involve research or data collection using live, vertebrate animals, the proposer must acknowledge that Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approval, according to policy number #2202, is required of all awarded leaves.  IACUC approval and details of the IACUC agreement should be submitted to Julie Love before any expenditures can occur.
  • Faculty are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the University policy governing Intellectual Property.  Information regarding the university's policy on "intellectual property" is available in policy #1107 in the James Madison University Manual of Policies and Procedures.

Evaluation Procedures

The College Faculty Development Committee will review all proposals eligible for consideration for funding.  The peer review panel's recommendations are not subject to appeal, but the committee will maintain records of its deliberations and, upon written request of an applicant, provide a summary evaluation of the applicant's proposal after the announcement of leave recipients is made.  Leaves will be awarded on the basis of the merit of the proposals.  Seniority will be a factor in considering proposals of equal merit since, presumably, the need for renewal is greatest among those with the longest terms of service.  It shall be the function of the Faculty Development Committee to recommend for approval those whose leave will be of maximum benefit to the College, especially its teaching mission.

Guidelines for Proposal

Project Summary

A proposal is to be directed toward independent study, research, creative work, and/or graduate/postgraduate study which will enhance the applicant's teaching abilities and foster professional growth and development.  Include a short and descriptive project title and a one-paragraph abstract.


This description is the only demonstration that the College Faculty Development Committee will have of the substance and potential of your project.  It is important that the proposer not presume extensive knowledge on the part of the reviewers.  Since members of the Faculty Development Committee may not have a specialized knowledge of the proposer's field, the proposal must be sufficiently detailed to describe the project in non-technical language.  There is no required format for the narrative; however, the following points must be addressed:

  1. State the objectives of the leave.
  2. Describe the specific program of study or research, explain the basic ideas, problems, or questions intended to be examined, and illustrate the planned approach or line of thought.
  3. Incorporate statements about the need for and the contributions of the project to teaching and scholarship in the particular field of study.  Include a concise review of the relevant literature or state of affairs.
  4. Indicate the project's relation to long-range teaching and scholarly objectives.
  5. Specify where the project will be conducted and indicate the likelihood of access to archives, collections, or institutions, if pertinent.
  6. Describe the special skills needed for the project (e.g., foreign languages, computer literacy, etc.).
  7. State what future scholarly activities might be expected as a result of the leave.

The narrative of the proposal is not to exceed five double-spaced typed pages or 1,250 words.

Current Vita

The proposer shall provide an up-to-date outline of professional activities and accomplishments, including such items as:

  1. Degrees earned and date of conferral.
  2. Employment record.
  3. List of academic honors, awards, or fellowships received and dates.
  4. List of publications and important academic or professional presentations.
  5. Other pertinent experiences and current activities.

Note that the College Faculty Development Committee will evaluate leave applications first and foremost on the merit of the proposal.  Professional credentials will be considered when reviewing proposals of equal or comparable merit and when determining the applicant's potential for successful leave activities.

Notification of Leave Award

The College Faculty Development Committee will forward proposals recommended for funding under the Educational Leaves Program to the Dean’s Office.  The Dean will review the funds required by each academic unit to replace the faculty member on leave.  After determining the maximum number of leaves that can be supported from the total funds available for the 2020-2021 academic year, the awards will be made.  Recipients of the Faculty Education Leave awards will be notified in writing by the end of the 2019 fall semester.

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