Leaves of Absence & Sabbatical Leave

Please note that many policies governing faculty affairs at BU Wheelock are currently undergoing revision. Because of this, we ask you to consider these pages “under construction” and all content within them unofficial.

At various times throughout the course of a faculty member’s career, s/he may be eligible for a leave of absence or a sabbatical leave. These leaves may be academic in nature, to accommodate new caregiver needs, or for personal or family medical reasons. The faculty member is encouraged to work with the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs to resolve workload matters, if workload is impacted by the leave.

Childbirth Leave

Female full-time faculty who give birth may be eligible for up to six weeks of paid childbirth leave immediately following the birth of their baby. As soon as possible the faculty member should discuss with her Program Director her plan to request a leave of absence for childbirth so that appropriate course and service coverage can be arranged. She should complete the Provost’s Non-Academic Leave of Absence Request Form and forward this form to the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs for review. The Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs will forward completed forms to the Office of the Dean for approval and forwarding to the Office of the Provost. Further information can be found on the Provost’s website.

Primary Caregiver Workload Reduction

Full-time faculty who are serving as the primary caregiver of an infant or adopted child may be eligible for a temporary reduction in their workload. This reduction can be full-time for one semester or 50% time for two semesters, and it must be taken within 16 months of the child joining the family. As soon as possible, the faculty member should discuss with his/her Program Director a workload reduction request for caregiving so that appropriate course and service coverage can be arranged. The faculty member should complete the Provost’s Workload Reduction Request Form and forward this form to the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs for review. The Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs will forward completed forms to the Office of the Dean for approval and forwarding to the Office of the Provost. Learn more about Primary Caregiver Workload Reductions on the Provost’s website.

Temporary Disability Leave

Faculty who become ill or injured and require a temporary leave of absence for medical reasons may be eligible for a Temporary Disability Leave. These leaves are governed and approved by the University Human Resources Department and its policies. The ADFA may be asked to furbish a letter in support of the medical leave. Learn more about Temporary Disability Leave on the University Human Resources website.

Family Leave

Faculty who require a leave of absence to care for a spouse or family member may be eligible for a Family Leave under the US Family and Medical Leave Act. Up to 12 weeks of leave, typically unpaid, may be granted. These leaves are governed and approved by the University Human Resources Department and its policies. Learn more about Family Leave on the University Human Resources website.

Junior Scholar Leave

Once a tenure-track faculty member has successfully passed his/her Mid-Tenure Review (MTR) s/he is eligible for a Junior Scholar Leave. This leave is for one semester and must be taken prior to the start of the year in which his/her tenure decision will be made. To apply for a Junior Scholar Leave, the faculty member should identify the year and semester during which s/he would like to take the leave, discuss his/her plans with his/her Program Director to arrange appropriate course coverage during the leave, and draft a letter of request to the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs detailing the semester and year of the request and the nature of work planned during the leave. The Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs seeks any necessary clarification and provides requests to the Dean for approval. Learn more about Junior Scholar Leaves on the Provost’s website.

Sabbatical Leave

Tenured faculty members are eligible for a sabbatical after 12 semesters of full-time service. This leave may be full-time for one semester or 50% time for two semesters. To apply for a Sabbatical Leave, the faculty member should identify the year and semester during which s/he would like to take the sabbatical, discuss his/her plans with his/her Program Director to arrange appropriate course coverage during the sabbatical, draft a letter of request to the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs detailing the semester and year of the request and the nature of work planned during the leave, as well as complete the Provost’s BU Sabbatical Request Form. The Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs seeks any necessary clarification and provides requests to the Dean for approval. Requests first be approved by the Dean of Wheelock and then by the Provost. Learn more about Sabbatical Leaves on the Provost’s website.