Research Leaves for Assistant Professors


The demands of teaching and departmental responsibilities often hinder young faculty members' efforts to find the periods of concentration required to bring their scholarship to distinguished levels. While fellowships and grants provide some junior faculty members with opportunities to focus their energies on their scholarship, these resources are not uniformly available in all disciplines. Moreover, they cannot be forecast with confidence in any discipline; few junior faculty members can plan on the availability of such resources to support their scholarship. We believe that it is essential that all of our promising junior faculty members be given an opportunity to focus attention on their scholarship at some time during their probationary period. Moreover, we are convinced that it is important that these faculty members know from the time they join the School of Arts and Sciences that this opportunity will be made available.

The program we have developed is intended to guarantee that each assistant professor will receive, during the first five years of his or her appointment here, the equivalent of complete relief from teaching responsibilities for one semester. We anticipate that many junior faculty members will not need to seek support from this program. The program will, however, assure all promising junior faculty members that they can expect a period of concentrated scholarship prior to the end of their probationary period.


The School of Arts and Sciences may provide support, in the form of relief from teaching responsibilities, to Assistant Professors who have been reappointed in that rank. This support will normally be one semester (or equivalent) relief from teaching for any junior faculty member who has not previously been able to devote extensive time to his or her scholarship. Junior faculty members who have or have had support available from fellowships or grants may receive additional teaching relief for up to one semester (or equivalent). In no case, however, may a Research Leave be used to extend the total period a junior faculty member is free from teaching for more than one full year (or equivalent) during the first five years of his or her appointment. Research Leaves may be taken at any time between the beginning of the fourth year and the end of the fifth year of full-time service at the rank of Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.


Assistant Professors who have been formally reappointed for a multi-year term after an initial appointment may apply to the School of Arts and Sciences for support for a Research Leave (SAS Form 99-23 – see link at right). An Assistant Professor who expects to request a Research Leave should discuss his or her plans with the department chair well in advance of the formal application deadline. The application for support for a Research Leave for an Assistant Professor must be presented to the Chair no later than one full semester before the beginning of the requested leave (by January 15 for leaves in the fall semester and by September 1 for leaves in the spring semester). The application should indicate the extent of the relief time requested and the specific work to be undertaken during the leave period. The endorsement of the Chair should indicate the extent of any previous teaching relief provided to the candidate and outline the department's plans to meet its teaching commitments during the period of the requested leave.