Professional Improvement Leaves (PIL)

Professional improvement leaves are available to tenured faculty members who, at the time of application for the leave, are at least in the seventh full year of full-time employment in a tenure-track position or in the seventh full year since the completion of the academic year in which the faculty member most recently engaged in a professional improvement leave; see University Policy Register, 3342-6-12 and 6-12.101. While a faculty member with the necessary service years is entitled to apply for professional improvement leaves, the granting of such leaves is not automatic.

Requests for professional improvement leaves should be initiated as early as possible in order to permit scheduling of courses and hiring replacement faculty.  All requests for professional improvement leave are subject to approval by the Chair, the Dean, and the Provost. Professional improvement leave may be granted for either one semester at full pay, or one academic year at half pay. Other forms of leaves of absence such as due to disability can be found in the University Policy Register, 3342-6-11.3.

Requests for professional improvement leaves, take the form of a letter of request to the Chair.  The candidate is to attach to this letter:

  • updated curriculum vitae,
  • a 300-1000-word proposal that clearly describes:
    • the purpose of the leave project,
    • how it will advance both the professional growth and development of the individual and the mission of the department and university,
    • type of scholarship involved in the leave,
    • location of the leave, 
    • whether other appointments will be held during the leave period
  • a statement of how the project relates to the applicant’s professional growth and development,
  • a statement on results planned or anticipated from the current project,
  • a statement must also be given as to what was accomplished during previous PIL, if any. Such accomplishments and results must be highlighted on the applicant’s updated resume.

Applications for professional improvement leaves are generally due to the Chair by mid-October. The Chair, in consultation with the FAC, determines how the staffing needs of the department would be met if the leave were granted and prepares a recommendation to the Dean.

A faculty member who accepts a PIL is obligated to return to the university in active service for a period of at least one academic year following the completion of the PIL. Furthermore, a faculty member is required to submit a summary of her/his activities during the PIL within one semester of return from the leave.