5.26 Educational Leave
The term “educational leave” refers to the release from duties or time normally required of a full-time employee in carrying out his/her full responsibilities assigned. Educational leave is granted for purposes related to the employee’s work at the College. College funds may be used to pay employee salaries while they are on educational leave if the eligibility criteria are met. The College provides two types of educational leave – sabbatical leave and professional leave.
Sabbatical leave is intended to advance education or research related to the employee’s position.
Professional leave is intended for work exchange or other professional experience related to the employee’s position.
Procedures: (Adopted 6-16-2014)
5.26.1 Eligibility for Paid Educational Leave
Full-time, general fund (non-grant funded) employees may be granted paid educational leave after having been employed by the College for six years.
A. An eligible full-time employee may be granted educational leave for one full contract year (fall/spring semester) at one-half of the individual’s salary for the period.
B. An eligible full-time employee may be granted educational leave for six months or one semester during the regular academic year at the full contractual salary for the period of the leave.
Retention of benefits while on paid educational leave:
1) The salary computed will be the salary which the individual would receive in the period for which the leave is to be taken.
2) The employee shall retain all accumulated sick leave, personal leave and vacation leave, and years of service status.
3) The College will continue to provide benefits as defined in Policy 5.34 Insurance and Benefit Plans.
4) Educational leave will not constitute a break in service with the College.
5) Vacation leave, if applicable, and sick leave will accrue during the educational leave period. Personal leave will be earned per Policy.
6) Educational leave time will count toward years of service with the College.
7) To the extent permitted by the PSRS/PEERS requirements and guidelines, educational leave will count as service credit in the PSRS/PEERS system.
5.26.2 Eligibility for Unpaid Educational Leave
A request for educational leave for which the employee is not eligible under the foregoing leave-with-pay policy must meet the following criteria for consideration:
A. The benefit to the institution demonstrably outweighs the penalty incurred by the employee’s absence.
B. No additional cost is incurred by the institution as a result of the proposed educational leave.
Retention of Benefits while on unpaid educational leave:
1) The employee shall retain all accumulated vacation leave, personal leave and sick leave, as well as years of service status. Eligibility to accumulate leave and years of service credit ceases on the date educational leave without pay begins.
2) Accumulated vacation leave may be exhausted before going on educational leave without pay or the employee may choose to retain part or all of the accumulated leave until return to service.
3) While on unpaid educational leave, the employee may continue some College employee benefits, as defined in Policy 5.34, at the employee’s expense. The College will not make any contributions towards employee benefits during a period of unpaid educational leave.
4) Unpaid educational leave will not count toward years of service with the College.
5) Unpaid educational leave will not count as service credit in the PSRS/PEERS system.
6) The employee and/or family are not eligible for educational assistance.
7) Following the completion of unpaid educational leave, the employee is not eligible for unpaid educational leave for another six years.
5.26.3 General Principles
A. The College reserves the right to suspend or limit funding for educational leaves if the College determines that budget conditions do no support educational leaves. The notification of such suspension or limitation will occur by January 1 of each year.
B. Duties of the employee will be covered during the educational leave period in a manner that is acceptable to the administration.
C. Upon return from educational leave, the employee may return to his/her previous position or one which is comparable.
D. At the conclusion of paid educational leave, the employee must serve two full academic/fiscal years in service with the College or repay in full the cash value of salary and benefits for the educational leave. Should the employee serve at least one year but less than two years, one-half of the cash value of salary and benefits received shall be repaid. The employee will be required to sign a promissory note before commencement of paid educational leave. The President of the College has the right to waive any or all of these requirements.
E. Following the completion of paid educational leave, the employee is not eligible for paid educational leave for another six years.
5.26.4 Application Process
Applications for educational leave shall be filed with Human Resources no later than November 1 of the fiscal/academic year preceding the proposed start date of the educational leave. The employee will need a recommendation letter from the immediate supervisor and division Vice President supporting the employee’s request for educational leave. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
5.26.5 Selection Guidelines
The broad based activities considered part of educational leave include academic activities, scholarly endeavors and professional development.
Criteria to be used in determining eligibility of qualified applicants for sabbatical leave are:
1. Employees who need additional coursework to complete a degree, provided the degree is directly related to the employee’s assignment.
2. Employees requesting courses which will be beneficial to the College’s instructional programs.
3. Employees requesting academic travel, an immersion experience or an exchange program related to the faculty’s field or program.
Criteria to be used in determining eligibility of qualified applicants for professional leave are:
1. Employees requesting leave for advanced training applicable to their College assignment.
2. Employees requesting to accept and fulfill a leadership role in an organization outside of the College in order to enhance knowledge and skills.
3. Employees requesting other professional leave that would be beneficial to the College.
In the event that applications for educational leave in any given year exceed the number that can be released without jeopardizing the ongoing programs of the College, preference will be given to employees who have not previously utilized educational leave.
5.26.6 Review Committee
All applications for educational leave will be reviewed by a committee which shall consist of three faculty and two professional staff employees as selected by the respective employee association. The College President will appoint an administrator/Cabinet member to serve as a non-voting member on the committee.
The committee will review the educational leave proposals and make a recommendation to approve or not approve the requests based on the criteria and funding. Proposals selected by the committee will be presented to the College President for approval. The College President will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees for approval. The Board of Trustees will typically review the recommendation at its March meeting, but no later than the start of the next fiscal year.
If a request for educational leave is denied, the employee may submit a written request to the College President within seven days of such notification outlining the rationale for the additional review. A response to the employee’s appeal request will be provided in writing within fifteen business days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of the President is final.
At the conclusion of the educational leave, the employee returning from educational leave will present a written report to the appropriate Vice President and the employee’s supervisor. The report will summarize the educational leave activities, provide information on achieving the goals of the educational leave and outline the connection of the educational leave to the professional development goals of the individual.