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Sabbatical Leave Policy

This Policy is only applicable for those staff employed in UCL Australia

  1. UCL considers that sabbatical leave is an important element in the intellectual and academic life of individual members of academic staff and the institution as whole. It can assist staff to maintain the high calibre of research and scholarship for which UCL is renowned, and can equally encourage the enhancement of teaching quality and innovation.


  2. UCL offers all academic staff, in the grades of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader or Professor the opportunity to apply for sabbatical leave, one semester after four years. In a period of sabbatical leave academic staff are expected to produce tangible outcomes in furtherance of their research or teaching. Sabbatical leave requests should be made to the Director in writing, using the Sabbatical Leave Funding Application form (below). The right to apply for sabbatical leave will not be affected by any previous period of, or application for, maternity/paternity or parental leave. A report confirming what has been achieved during each period of sabbatical leave must be submitted to the Director within two months of return.


  3. The following criteria will be considered in relation to applications for sabbatical leave
    • The applicant must have successfully completed her/his probationary appointment
    • Any previous sabbatical leave should have resulted in an appropriate outcome
    • The period of sabbatical leave must have as its objective a clear outcome in furtherance of the individual’s research or teaching
    • Arrangements must be proposed in relation to cover for teaching and administrative duties
    • Adequate notice must be possible for the supervision of graduate students or provision of a specialised course.


  4. Authority for approval of sabbatical leave and responsibility for arranging cover for teaching and administrative responsibilities etc. are vested in the Director. Departments will normally meet the cost of covering sabbatical leave but there is a limited fund available centrally to support sabbatical leave requests within departments that have particular financial problems in the year of application. This comprises £7,000 per Faculty, per each Academic Session (see the accompanying Procedure For Sabbatical Leave Funding Requests).


  5. The Faculty Deans will recommend funding amounts for applications within their respective faculties. The Deans will receive requests for funding from Heads of Department (Director, UCL Australia) who should complete and submit the attached form. The Deans will receive copies of reports following all sabbatical leave for which they approve funding.


  6. A nominated Dean will consider appeals from any individual whose application for sabbatical leave has been turned down by the Director. In order to consider an appeal against the Director’s decision on sabbatical leave, the Dean will require completion of the attached form including an indication from the Director of the reason for not approving the application.


  7. Departmental Strategic Plans should address sabbatical leave priorities and the provision of cover for sabbatical leave. There is already a range of good practice in academic departments with some encouraging staff to take leave in rotation and to cover each other’s teaching as far as is possible. In some departments, ‘points based’ systems are used to establish priority eligibility for sabbatical leave where there are competing requests.


  8. The Director must inform all staff of eligibility to apply for sabbatical leave as part of the induction process and of any particular arrangements within the department to facilitate sabbatical leave. An individual’s aspirations for sabbatical leave and its intended outcomes should be discussed as part of the Staff Review process. The Provost will discuss with potential Heads of Department (Director, UCL Australia) their aspirations for sabbatical leave and will take these into consideration in proposing Headship appointments (and renewal of appointments) to Council.


  9. Sabbatical leave that is granted through this policy is monitored for equal opportunities purposes.


  10. In addition to the provisions of this policy, UCL's Gender Equality Scheme provides for one semester of sabbatical leave without teaching commitments for research active academics returning from maternity, adoption, extended carer's, or long term sickness leave. This leave will enable staff to more quickly re-establish their research activity. Academics interested in this term should meet with their Director and complete the Sabbatical Term Expression of Interest form (below) within four weeks of their return from leave. The form should then be forwarded to the Sabbatical Leave Committee Secretary.


  11. Any queries in relation to the operation of this policy should be directed to the Human Resources Division.