2.8. Faculty Development

2.8.1  Faculty Development Plans Specificity of Plans Department Head Responsibility

2.8.2 Sabbatical Leaves Application for Sabbatical Leave

2.8.3 The Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence

2.8.4 Faculty Exchanges Faculty Travel Faculty Exchange Application Procedure

2.8.5 Student Evaluations

To assist faculty members in improving performance in teaching, scholarly activity, and service, the University, through the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, provides, subject to the availability of funds, a range of faculty development programs that may include provisions for travel; teaching improvement activities; alternate work from teaching; assistance in proposing and conducting unpaid research; support for publication, consulting, or grant activities; secretarial assistance; computer access; and other such institutional support as may be reasonably expected to enhance faculty development.

Sabbatical leave, with its provisions for educational leaves, represents a major form of faculty development. The leave is not granted automatically and considerations for approval shall include the totality of circumstances surrounding the requests, including but not necessarily limited to previous forms of institutional support.

Faculty development plans assist faculty members and the institution in designing, funding, and implementing faculty development programs.

2.8.1  Faculty Development Plans

An individual Faculty Development Plan is fundamental to a faculty member’s professional growth and successful performance in teaching, scholarly activity, and service. This plan should respond to the missions, goals, and objectives of the Department, College, and University.

In consideration of the individual faculty member’s priorities for professional growth and development, all academic faculty shall prepare and submit to the Department Head annual development plans (known as the Faculty Evaluation Agreement Form) that specify personal priorities in teaching or librarianship, scholarly activity, and service, as well as personal plans for promotion, tenure, and participation in faculty development programs. Department Heads shall submit these plans to their Dean.

Back to Top Specificity of Plans

While the format of development plans may vary by department or college, faculty members shall prepare annual development plans to be submitted to the Department Head for approval by January 25, with the previous year’s Common Form. Modifications to faculty evaluation agreement forms may be submitted to Department Head through December 31. Plans shall specify

  1. those personal and professional plans and priorities related to faculty responsibilities in teaching, scholarly activity, and service;
  2. those strategies and activities designed to meet priorities, including proposed courses to teach, plans for scholarly activities and service activities;
  3. those institutional resources needed to support strategies and activities;
  4. those benefits expected to accrue to the department, college, and the University as a result of the strategies and activities;
  5. intent to apply for promotion or tenure in the subsequent academic year.

Back to Top Department Head Responsibility

On or before March 15, Department Heads shall meet with faculty and Deans with Department Heads to discuss their Faculty Evaluation Agreement for the current year. Revisions in agreements may occur as a result of this meeting. Copies of revised plans shall be retained by faculty members and Department Heads and, as appropriate, Deans.

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2.8.2 Sabbatical Leaves

Sabbatical leave, as defined by the Board of Supervisors, is an aspect of faculty development and may become a part of an individual’s Faculty Development Plan.

According to Board of Supervisors policy provision for leave with pay for the purpose of “professional and cultural improvement or for the purpose of rest and recuperation” is a well–established administrative device calculated to improve the quality of higher education professional service. The Board of Supervisors recognizes that such a policy is justifiable and desirable and provides for faculty leave under the conditions specified below.

“Faculty” is defined in LSA–R.S. 17:3304 as “Members of the instructional staff of each college and university having the rank of instructor or higher and persons engaged in library, artistic, research and investigative positions of equal dignity.…The head of each college and its academic officers shall be members of the faculty.”

  1. For the purpose of professional or cultural improvement, or renewal, this leave may be granted for two semesters (52 weeks for 12–month employees). It may be granted following any six or more consecutive fiscal years of active service in the institution where such individual is employed. An individual may not accumulate time in an attempt to qualify for more than one consecutive year of such leave. Leave also may be granted for one semester (26 weeks for 12–month employees) following three or more consecutive years of such service by an individual, provided that absence due to sick leave shall not be deemed to interrupt the active service provided for herein. A sabbatical leave taken during a summer session shall be considered a semester for leave purposes.
  2. The compensation from the state for the period of leave approved shall be at the rate of not more than 75 percent of the salary the individual will receive during the current fiscal year for the period of time leave is applied for and granted. Employers and employees shall contribute to the retirement system on the basis of full annual salary rate. Compensation payable to persons on leave shall be paid at the times at which salaries of the other members of the teaching staff are paid and in the same manner
  3. In those cases where the faculty member or administrator receives outside compensation, such payment is to be approved in writing and in advance by the president as supportive of the purposes of the leave. If outside compensation plus paid leave would exceed the regular salary the leave pay will be reduced so that the institution will pay no leave if the outside compensation equals or exceeds the regular pay. But nothing shall prevent the faculty from being remunerated by outside agencies at higher rates than his or her regular pay.
  4. After each leave period is completed, evidence as determined by the institution must be submitted to the appropriate supervisor to indicate that the purpose for which the leave was granted has been achieved.
  5. At no time during any semester of an academic year shall the number of persons on leave with pay (except sick leave) exceed 5 percent of the total faculty.
  6. In accepting a leave of absence with pay, the faculty member shall be understood to assume a legal obligation as listed in Acts 1991, 858 (R..S.17:3328) to return to the institution for at least one year of further service. A copy of this rule shall be included in the institution faculty handbook and made known to each applicant for such leave.
  7. Individuals accepting sabbatical leave (with pay) are cautioned about prohibition against dual appointment or dual employment as described in LSA–R.S . 42:63.
  8. Sabbatical leave shall be granted only with prior Board approval.

Refusal by a faculty member or administrator to comply with provisions of the Board’s leave and sabbatical leave policy shall result in the forfeiture of tenure and/or employment.

Back to Top Application for Sabbatical Leave

The form used for sabbatical leave applications is called “Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System Request for Leave of Absence.” This form is available through the offices of the Academic Deans.

As mentioned in section titled Sabbatical Leave in this Manual, sabbatical leave is an aspect of Faculty Development and therefore can become a part of a faculty member’s Development Plan. The following is the process for sabbatical leave programs:

  1. Applications for Sabbatical Leaves shall be submitted to the appropriate Department Head on or before November 1. Application for sabbatical leaves must include in the order listed, materials listed below:
  • A current curriculum vitae, in the approved format (See internal administrators’ drive—V Drive), and a completed leave request form must be provided.
  • Faculty must submit, in writing, a plan indicating the purpose of the leave. This plan must be well structured involving research, scholarly or creative activity, postdoctoral studies, or other activities which will benefit both the leave holder and the institution. Applications must demonstrate that proper and adequate preparations have been made to insure that the proposed activities are feasible and worthy of support.
  • A statement supplying appropriate data to indicate that the candidate has satisfied any stated requirements for participation in the faculty development leave program.
  1. On or before November 15, the Department Head shall inform the faculty member of the Head’s recommendation regarding such application and forward a recommendation to the Dean, only if such recommendation is positive.
  2. On or before December 15, the Dean, after consultation with the College Personnel Committee, shall inform the faculty member of the Dean’s recommendation regarding such application and forward a recommendation to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, only if such recommendation is positive.
  3. On or before February 1, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs shall inform the faculty member of the recommendation regarding such application and forward a recommendation to the President, only if such recommendation is positive. If the President approves the recommendation and Board of Supervisors action is not required, the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall notify the faculty member within five (5) working days of the President’s approval. If Board of Supervisors action is required, the President shall forward a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors at its next meeting, only if such recommendation is positive.
  4. Within five (5) working days of the Board of Supervisors meeting at which the recommendation is discussed, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs shall inform the faculty member of the Board of Supervisors’ action on the recommendation.
  5. Modifications of dates to accommodate specific applications is permissible. Modification to dates requires prior approval of the President.

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2.8.3 The Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence

Nicholls State University is dedicated to the idea of teaching excellence and recognizes yearly faculty members who have demonstrated the high standards of the profession. All full–time faculty members, including lecturers and academic Department Heads, with five consecutive years of service at Nicholls State University, excluding those whose functions are primarily administrative, are eligible for nomination for The Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence. A faculty member may be nominated by a student, an alumnus/alumna, a peer, a department head, or a dean. The recognition carries with it a one–time cash award, which is then annualized beginning with the next academic year. Complete nomination and eligibility requirements are listed in Academic Titles and Special Awards on the internal administrators’ drive (V Drive).

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2.8.4 Faculty Exchanges

Tenure contract faculty are eligible to participate in faculty exchange programs as these may be arranged. Positive recommendation by the Department Head, Dean, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is required, as is approval by the President. Provisions and conditions for faculty exchanges are contained in the policy for the National Faculty Exchange program, which can be found in the University Library.

Back to Top Faculty Travel

Travel support is subject to the availability of funds and is regulated by state fiscal rules. A Travel Procedures Manual is available in the Controller’s Office.

Application procedures for travel are governed by published University and College procedures and by the State of Louisiana fiscal policy. Applications for travel are submitted to Department Heads or supervisors in accordance to these policies; written approval is then obtained from the appropriate supervisors listed on the proper form. Travel approval must be received before departure. Foreign travel must have approval before departure from the State Division of Administration through the President’s office.

Back to Top Faculty Exchange Application Procedure

Applications for participation in faculty exchanges must be made to the appropriate Department Head, receive positive recommendations from the Dean and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and be approved by the President prior to the beginning of the exchange.

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2.8.5 Student Evaluations

The Board of Supervisors recommends and the University requires a student evaluation process that is meant to enhance a faculty member’s personal assessment of teaching methods and goals. General and specific guidelines may be obtained from the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

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