This policy is intended to supplement but not supersede the information provided in Section 2.55 of the Syracuse University Faculty Manual.


  • Research leave in this context refers to a one-semester or one-year leave to support a faculty member's research, engaged scholarship, and/or creative activity.
  • Leaves consist of either one semester at full pay with benefits or a full academic year at one-half pay with benefits.


  • All full-time faculty members who are tenured or on the tenure track may submit applications for research leave. 
  • Tenured faculty are eligible to submit applications when 10 consecutive academic-year semesters have occurred between their previous research leave and the semester they seek to be on research leave.
  • Pre-tenure faculty members generally apply for a full semester of leave to take place in their fourth year, following their third-year review.
  • Individuals in associate dean or faculty director positions are not eligible for leave until their appointments are concluded. Center directors are eligible to apply, but their applications must specify a succession/coverage plan for their leave period.


  • Applications must be submitted to the Dean by October 15 for any kind of research leave—fall, spring, or full year—intended to take place in the following academic year.
  • Setting the School deadline earlier than the University deadline for a spring semester leave allows School and program leadership to plan with more precision for the full academic year.
  • Applications should include:
    • A completed University Leave application provided by the Provost’s office.
    • A description of the research leave that clearly states its objectives and outcomes and provides a rationale for why a research leave is needed to achieve them.
    • A current copy of the faculty member’s CV.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Applications will be evaluated on the quality of the faculty member’s argument for the leave to promote research, engaged scholarship, and/or creative activity that would not be possible while pursuing a full slate of regular duties.
  • Requests will also be prioritized on these bases:
    • Whether the faculty member is pre-tenure.
    • Whether the faculty member has had a research leave previously and if so, how long ago.
    • Whether the leave will be fully or partially supported by external funds.
    • Whether the faculty member is planning for promotion in the near future.
    • Whether the faculty member is returning to faculty from significant administrative service and leadership.

School-wide Considerations

  • According to University policy, “Leaves of absence will be scheduled within each department so that the teaching load of the person on leave may properly be carried on, or some or all of the courses normally scheduled for the person seeking leave may be omitted without detriment to the instructional program and the students for whom they are offered.”  To ensure a consistently excellent experience for students and manageable workload for colleagues, as well as adhere to accreditation requirements in multiple areas, the School of Education seeks to cap the percentage of full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty on research leave in a given academic year at 15%.
  • It is desirable for approved leaves to be evenly spread across the fall and spring semesters. 
  • The number of administrative, medical, or parental leaves approved in a given semester may influence how many research leaves the School can support, overall, although an individual faculty member’s use of these other types of leave will not be factored into the evaluation of their application.

Review Process

  • The Dean reviews and decides upon research leave requests in consultation with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Research, and the relevant Faculty Director(s), depending on the faculty member’s typical teaching, advising, and service assignments.
  • Applicants will be notified about the School level disposition of their requests by December 1. Applications that are approved at the School level will be forwarded to the provost’s office for University review and approval.
  • Applicants whose requests are denied will receive a written explanation of the decision when it is rendered. They will be eligible to re-apply in the following cycle.

Post-Leave Follow-up

  • Faculty granted a research leave must submit a report of their activities to the Dean and the Provost within 30 days of their return.
  • Per University policy, faculty granted research leave must return to full-time service at the University for a period equivalent to their leave.
  • No labels