Sabbaticals: Benefiting Faculty, The Institution, and Students

Spring
2007
Topic: 
Professional Standards
Committee: 
Educational Policies Committee

Sabbatical leave has a long and distinguished history in academe, both at universities and community colleges. By virtue of its traditional benefit to professors, institutions, and students, sabbaticals may appropriately be considered as a "right" by the professoriate. Even so, during statewide budgetary crises, sabbatical leave was temporarily suspended at some California community colleges. This situation prompted a resolution instructing the Academic Senate to develop a document in support of sabbaticals. Preparation for drafting the document included the "Survey on Sabbatical Leave Policies and Practices" that the Academic Senate distributed in Fall 2006. Findings from the survey demonstrate that sabbatical leave remains in effect at the vast majority of California's community colleges; however, the policies and procedures for establishing and overseeing sabbaticals vary widely across the System. While sabbaticals are a matter of course at most of California's community colleges, efforts to encourage, support, and account for sabbaticals require due diligence.

Leaves of absence are among the most important means by which the teaching effectiveness of faculty members may be enhanced, their scholarly usefulness enlarged, and an institution's academic program strengthened and developed. A sound program of leaves is therefore of vital importance to a college or university, and it is the obligation of faculty members to make sure of the available means, including leaves, to promote their professional competence. The major purpose is to provide opportunity for continued professional growth and new, or renewed, intellectual achievement through study, research, writing, and travel. (AAUP 1995)