Questions About Sabbatical Denials at Utah Valley

February 13, 2018

Professors at Utah Valley University are asking the institution for more transparency about how it assesses sabbatical applications in the wake of enrollment growth. In an open letter to administrators, 60 professors say that five of eight sabbatical applications from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences were rejected in January on the grounds that only one sabbatical could be granted per department due to resource constraints and enrollment increases. One of those decisions was later reversed, but the professors say that based on such a model, each faculty member in a large department could expect to go on sabbatical every 45 years, while one in a smaller department could take a sabbatical every five years.

Scott Trotter, university spokesperson, told the Daily Herald that faculty comments and concerns “are being considered carefully and we will reach out to our faculty members to address them directly.” Utah Valley’s sabbatical policy says that tenured professors who have been teaching for six years may take leave every six years if their applications are approved, “subject to availability of funds and suitable instructional replacements.” But professors say sabbatical applications have historically been assessed by their research merit and that changing how the policy is applied now pits research against teaching, to the university’s detriment.

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