Section 2.30 - Faculty

2.30   Benefits.

1. Holidays. For faculty the following days are University holidays: (usually including the Friday preceding any such holiday which falls on Saturday and the Monday following any such holiday which falls on Sunday)

New Year's Day Thanksgiving
Memorial Day day following Thanksgiving Day
Independence Day day preceding Christmas Day
Labor Day Christmas Day
day preceding New Year's Day  

Two (2) floating holidays scheduled during the Christmas break; plus up to two (2) additional floating holidays scheduled during the Christmas - New Year's break, if the university is officially closed.

A faculty member is not eligible for holiday pay if the holiday occurs during an unpaid leave of absence, or if the holiday falls during a suspension without pay, or the holiday occurs during a time when he/she is not on pay status.

2. Vacation. Vacation for faculty members on academic year appointments is limited by the academic calendar and is not accrued. Faculty on annual appointments accrue vacation at the rate of five days per calendar quarter of completed service. A prorated number of days for a partial quarter of service will be computed when necessary. Approval of the use of accrued vacation is the responsibility of the appropriate unit head. Vacation time may not be charged until it is earned. Faculty members with accrued vacation terminating their employment will be eligible for their accrued vacation, not to exceed 20 days, provided at least four weeks' notice of their intent to leave is received. Up to 20 days of accrued vacation may be carried from one calendar year into the next.

3. Salary Continuation. The University will provide to the extent described below a salary continuation program for full-time faculty members which is designed to provide salary protection in the event of personal circumstances which do not allow a faculty member to continue work. This program is intended only as a form of insurance and is subject to careful scrutiny of each appointing officer. The appointing officer may require proof that any absence at any time is appropriate. Salary continuation may be approved only for the following reasons:

A. Faculty member's childbirth, illness, injury, hospitalization, and appointments pertaining to health. In cases of injuries compensable under worker's compensation or no fault auto insurance, salary continuation may be used to the extent that the payments fail to equal the faculty member's regular base earnings.

B. Faculty member's child, step child, foster child, spouse, parent, or household member's illness, injury, hospitalization and appointments pertaining to health (limited to a reasonable amount).

C. The death of a faculty member's child, stepchild, foster child, spouse, brother, brother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, parent or parent-in-law, grandparent, grandparent-in-law, or household member.

D. Attendance at a funeral other than above (maximum one day).

E. Inclement weather causing unusually hazardous conditions which necessitates the closing of the university.

All full-time faculty members will be allowed compensation at their regular base rate of pay for an absence that falls under paragraph "A" above for the entire absence period not to exceed six months from the date of illness, injury or hospitalization. No salary continuation as such will be accrued or reported although each appointing officer will be responsible for the equitable application of the policy.

4. Sabbatical Leave. Sabbatical leaves are intended primarily to encourage and promote the professional growth of those with faculty status and to enhance their teaching and scholarly effectiveness. Sabbaticals are a part of the university's responsibility in relation to faculty growth and development. Such leaves contribute to the accomplishment of these ends by enabling the faculty to undertake specific, planned activities involving study, research, or creative work of mutual benefit to the applicant and to Grand Valley State University. The providing of resources necessary for sabbatical leaves is a high priority for the University.

A. Eligibility. By April 1 each year the Human Resources Office will provide the academic deans with the names of the faculty members eligible to apply during the Fall semester.  The deans then send a notice to each eligible person as a reminder, offering assistance in refining plans and indicating sources of relevant information.

Subject to the provisions listed below (Section H), sabbatical leave may be granted after six consecutive years of full-time service. Such leave may not be awarded to the same person more than once in seven years and leave time shall not be cumulative. Up to two years of full-time service, on a regular appointment with full faculty status, at the rank of instructor or above, or its equivalent, at other accredited institutions of higher education shall count toward fulfillment of the eligibility period. Upon receiving tenure, credit similar to that granted to full-time, regular faculty who are entering from other institutions may be granted to those who served as full-time visiting Grand Valley faculty at the rank of instructor or above and who moved into a tenure track-faculty position without a break in Grand Valley service. Only tenured Grand Valley faculty members are eligible to receive a sabbatical.

In computing consecutive years of service for the purpose of establishing eligibility, periods of vacation leave and periods of sick leave with salary shall be included; periods of leaves of absence other than vacation leave and sick leave will not ordinarily be included but shall not be deemed an interruption of otherwise consecutive service.

In the case of the faculty member on leave from a faculty position to hold an administrative position at Grand Valley, time on leave from the faculty position in the administrative position will be counted toward sabbatical eligibility, 1) if a faculty member returns to the faculty position, 2) if the faculty member's unit and Dean so recommend, and 3) if the Provost approves.

Because sabbaticals have profound staffing and personnel implications for colleges, recommendations for approval by the Provost should be made within the colleges, using the processes and criteria specified in the Administrative Manual for personnel decisions.

B. Application and Approval Process. Recommendations on sabbaticals are made within the college, using criteria listed below (Section D). The Research and Development Committee is involved only in the two following circumstances:

-- When a request for funds (travel, equipment, etc.) accompanies the application for the sabbatical leave, the Research and Development Committee shall review the entire sabbatical proposal and make a recommendation to the Provost.

-- When the number of approved sabbatical proposals is judged to exceed the university's ability to fund all of them the Research and Development Committee will then be directed by the Provost to carry out the procedures specified in Section F.

1. Timetable for Approval Process.

Proposals should be submitted in accordance with the timetable for consideration of other personnel decisions during the Fall Semester:

October 15: applicants submit proposals to unit (including amendments, if any);

November 1: units submit recommended proposals to College Personnel Committee;

December 1: College Personnel Committee forwards recommended proposals to the Dean;

December 15: Dean forwards recommended proposals to Provost. The Provost Office will forward the sabbatical proposals to the Research and Development Committee that meet the criteria outlined above; 

January 21: Research and Development Committee forwards recommendations to Provost;

February 1: Provost forwards decisions to the President and informs deans and Research and Development Committee.

2. Applicants shall submit electronically the completed proposal via the sabbatical website. The completed proposal will then move thru the review process. 

3. At each level of review, the proposals shall be evaluated with reference to the conditions and criteria specified in Section D. Any reviewing group or person who reaches a negative recommendation on a proposal must convey that fact and reasons for it in writing to all previous levels of review within two (2) working days of the recommendation.

4. Applicants whose proposals have been rejected may appeal to the next level of review within five (5) working days of their receipt of the reasons for rejection.

-- If the proposal is approved on appeal, a written explanation of the reasons for the approval will be sent to the previous level(s) of review and to the applicant; written record of both the positive and negative recommendations will accompany the proposal when it is forwarded to the next level of review;

-- If the proposal is rejected on appeal it dies for that academic year and may not be considered by higher levels of review.

5. Applicants who seek financial support in addition to release time will have their proposal and requests for funds reviewed by the Research and Development Committee, so they must develop their requests for funds in accordance with information published by the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence.

6. Members of the College Personnel Committee and the Research and Development Committee may not take part in the deliberations and vote on their own proposals.

C. Remuneration.
Faculty shall receive full salary when on leave one academic semester and fifty percent of base salary when on leave two academic semesters. Applicants for sabbatical leave must specify other salaries, grants, fellowships, or financial support they expect to receive (or do receive) during the period of the leave. The combined incomes from such sources and the sabbatical grant shall not exceed the faculty member's normal salary plus expenses incurred because of the sabbatical leave. The recipient is expected to return to a regular appointment with Grand Valley for at least one academic year (or twelve months in the case of faculty on twelve month appointments) after the sabbatical period.

D. Conditions and Criteria.
A sabbatical proposal shall show concern with a significant problem, area, or issue in the field of study and show promise that it will enhance the teaching, research or professional capabilities of the applicant. The sabbatical project, except in unusual cases, should require that the recipient spend a substantial part of his/her time off campus with a lengthy period of continuous release from normal responsibilities. The sabbatical leave will normally provide an opportunity for work in a different environment in order to learn, develop, or perfect understandings or skills which will improve the applicant's teaching and professional competence. The sabbatical project should not be accomplishable in shorter intervals with other forms of assistance available. A request for sabbatical leave must be accompanied by a well developed proposal for use of the leave time; the proposal shall conform to most or all of the criteria listed below:

1. An approved, planned effort to retrain professionally.

2. Development of new capabilities for teaching or research.

3. A synthesis or development of prior effort or experiences.

4. Promise of a significant contribution to the subject under study or problem undertaken.

5. Practice of skills or application of research result which deepens or extends the applicant's professional capabilities.

Exceptional proposals not otherwise in conformity with the criteria shall be judged according to the standards and needs of the appointment structure in which the applicant has his/her major appointment.

E. Format.
In addition to the conditions and criteria that will be used in evaluating sabbatical proposals, several requirements in the presentation of the sabbatical request shall be observed. These are:

1. Arrangements for the proposed leave and a timetable of activities shall be clearly stated in the proposal. If the project requires collaboration with other institutions or persons, the collaboration must be described in the proposal and evidence provided that the institutions or persons involved agree with the arrangements. If the project involves human subject research, the project must be approved by the Institutional Review Board, which at the university is called the Human Research Review Committee.

2. A proposal must have a clear conceptual focus. Goals and objectives of the leave shall be stated.

3. A proposal shall be specific about the academic purpose of the leave.

4. A proposal shall cite evidence of academic preparation that contributes to its feasibility. There shall be a thorough attempt by the proposer to search the literature and to place the planned activity in the context of that literature.

5. A clear relationship between the proposed sabbatical leave and a proposer's academic unit shall be demonstrated.

6. Reports of the applicant's previous sabbaticals (if any) will be attached and reviewed.

F. Selection Process When Not All Recommended Sabbaticals Can Be Awarded. There are two circumstances when not all recommended sabbaticals can be awarded: (1) inadequate funding, and (2) staffing problems.

1. Inadequate Funding.
In the event the University anticipates that the number of recommended sabbaticals requires funds greater than the amount available for support, the Provost will explain the financial situation to the Chair of the Faculty Salary and Budget Committee. The Chair of the Faculty Salary and Budget Committee may respond to the Provost within seven (7) calendar days.

The Provost will also notify the Research and Development Committee to begin the procedure described below.

a. The sabbatical proposals will be ranked in priority order by the appropriate college personnel committee considering the conditions and criteria in Section D and other relevant circumstances.

b. The Research and Development Committee will use these college rankings in determining an overall ranking of sabbaticals to be funded.

c. The Research and Development Committee will convey their ranking to the Provost for approval of top ranked sabbaticals.

2. Staffing Problems

Upon determination of a staffing problem, the appointing officer after consultation with the appropriate unit head, will implement the following procedure:

a. The unit head will submit a plan to the appointing officer indicating how the work of each applicant will be covered if his/her sabbatical is approved.

b. The unit will rank the sabbaticals considering the conditions and criteria in Section D and other relevant circumstances. This ranking will be forwarded to the College Personnel Committee and appointing officer with a written explanation.

c. The decision not to award a sabbatical because of staff problems will be made by the appointing officer after consultation with the College Personnel Committee and the appropriate unit head.

d. Applicants who are not awarded sabbaticals because of staffing problems will receive a written explanation from the appointing officer.

3. Status of Delayed Sabbaticals.

a. Applicants who are not awarded sabbaticals because of inadequate funding or staffing problems are invited to reapply the following year.

b. If an applicant's sabbatical is delayed because of staffing or funding problems, he/she will be given priority for the following year, assuming his/her proposal has been recommended. If a person who is delayed in taking a sabbatical leave because of staffing or funding problems is granted a sabbatical in a later year, that person will not be required to wait an additional 6 years from the later date before becoming eligible to apply for another sabbatical, but will be eligible to apply 6 years from the previous eligibility year.

G. Alteration of Project. If a faculty member finds it necessary to alter the original project approved for the sabbatical leave by the Provost, then at least one full semester before the sabbatical would have commenced, the faculty member must submit a revised proposal to the appropriate College Personnel Committee (and to the Research and Development Committee if funds are requested).  Either the appropriate College Personnel Committee or the Research and Development Committee may recommend to the Provost that the proposed alteration be rejected, if it is judged to significantly change or weaken the original proposal. In the event that an alteration is proposed after the sabbatical has already commenced, the appropriate College Personnel Committee will recommend a course of action to the Provost. Depending on the nature and the extent of the alteration, the university may take such action as it deems appropriate, including repayment to the university for time spent on sabbatical.

If a faculty member should decide not to take a sabbatical leave which has been approved by the Provost, then the faculty member must so inform the dean of the appointing unit at least one full semester before the sabbatical would have commenced. If the faculty member cancels a sabbatical leave later than one full semester before the start of the leave, the dean shall be free to deny the request. This deadline may be waived in very unusual circumstances.

H. Final Report. Each faculty member returning from sabbatical leave will prepare a complete final report of the sabbatical activities and accomplishments and submit the report electronically via the sabbatical website. Once submitted to the sabbatical website, the completed report will automatically be sent electronically to his/her appointing officer, the Provost, the President, the Research and Development Committee, and the library University Archives. This final report shall be filed no later than the end of the first semester after return to campus and shall include an account of the financial remuneration received during the sabbatical leave. The Provost will review the final report. If the Provost does not approve the final report as submitted, the faculty member may revise and resubmit it. The Provost will notify the faculty member, the appointing officer, and the Human Resources Office whether or not the final report has been approved. Eligibility for the next sabbatical leave shall be calculated from the date upon which the Provost approves the final report.

I. The Research and Development Committee.

Faculty (elected by and from): Seven representatives from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, two from Seidman College of Business, one from each of the other colleges, and one from the university libraries.
Executive Director, Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence (Ex officio, non-voting).
Provost or Provost designee (Ex officio, non-voting).

The Research and Development Committee shall be responsible for reviewing sabbatical leave policies and procedures and shall recommend changes, when needed, to the UAS. It shall also facilitate ways in which returning faculty can make new knowledge and insights available to the Grand Valley community.

5. Leaves of Absence with Partial Pay.

A. Jury Duty. A faculty member who loses time from his/her assigned responsibilities because of jury duty will receive the difference between his/her pay for jury duty and his/her regular base pay if such service occurs at a time when the faculty member is on pay status.

B. Military Duty. A faculty member who loses time from his/her assigned responsibilities because of military training as a reservist or National Guardsman or due to a civil disturbance, not exceeding four weeks per year, will receive the difference between his/her military base pay and his/her regular pay if such service occurs while the faculty member is on pay status.

6. Leaves of Absence without Pay from the University. A faculty member may request a leave of absence without pay for educational, medical, or personal reasons for a period of from one to twelve months. Such request shall be approved by the appointing officer. Any accrued benefits will be protected during the leave although additional benefits will not accrue. The faculty member may continue existing group benefits with the appropriate university's contribution. Contribution to the retirement plan will not accrue during the leave period. In case of medical leave the university may require a physician's statement concerning the faculty member's ability to perform his/her assigned responsibilities either before departure or just prior to returning to active employment.

Absences without pay for a period of less than one month will be considered as lost time and are subject to the approval of the appointing officer.

7. Alternate Service. Faculty on academic year appointments may fulfill their full academic year responsibilities on the basis of working any two of the three academic semesters without loss of base academic year salary with the balance of the year considered vacation. A faculty member who serves in a full time capacity for an additional (third) academic semester, without additional compensation, shall be entitled to a compensatory equivalent semester of vacation during the subsequent academic year at the compensation level in effect when the vacation was earned, if all arrangements are approved by the appointing officer, the provost, and the president in advance. Should, due to a change of circumstances, a faculty member who has fulfilled the prior service obligation be allowed to work during the semester he/she expected to be on vacation, all such work shall be at a rate and under the conditions described in Section 2.20.3.

8. Group Life, Medical and Dental Insurance. The university will provide coverage for all faculty appointed one-half time or more and their dependents and household members (as defined in plan documents) to the extent of the group insurance policies in effect providing the faculty member's appropriate payments are maintained. The schedule of benefits provided and their cost are described in materials available through the Human Resources Office.

9. Group Disability. All full-time faculty are eligible to participate in the total disability benefits program subject to the provisions of the master contract. The benefits provided are described in materials available through the Human Resources Office.

10. Retirement.

A. University Base Plan. Effective July 1, 1996, regular faculty and executive, administrative and professional staff with appointments of one-half time or more will be eligible to participate in the base retirement plan comprised of three investment alternatives:

1) Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA),

2) College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF),

3) Fidelity Investments - institutional retirement plan

Eligible faculty and staff will begin participation immediately upon employment. Participants are fully vested after completion of two years of employment.

The University will make a contribution equal to 12% of the participant's base salary. No contribution is required from the faculty or staff member.

Participants may elect an allocation of their university contribution among the three investment alternatives once a year. Allocation changes within those alternatives will be allowed as frequently as permitted by that carrier.

The normal retirement age used as a basis for calculating a full benefit is age 65. There is no mandatory retirement age.

A more detailed description of the base retirement plan related to pay out options, availability of funds and allocation changes and transfers within funds is contained in materials available in the Human Resources Office.

B. Supplemental Retirement Accounts. All regular faculty and staff may elect to have the university provide payment for tax deferred saving plans which qualify for IRS Code Section 403(b) and beginning July, 1, 2002 section 457(b) status through companies approved by the university. Faculty and staff can defer in such amounts as permitted by IRS Code Section 403(b) and 457(b). The election of such a benefit in no way affects the faculty or staff member's mandatory participation in the university's retirement program. The university retains the right to modify or terminate this optional deferral program upon reasonable notice to faculty and staff.

C. Medical Insurance for Retirees. The university will provide a medical insurance plan for official retirees hired before January 1, 2014. An official retiree (including early retirees) for purposes of this benefit, will be defined as any regular university faculty or staff member who is employed by the university at the time of retirement, who is vested in a university sponsored retirement plan and whose years of university service and age total a minimum of 75.

Official retirees will be reimbursed for participation in the plan based on years of service.

Benefits will also be provided to the spouse, dependents, and household member of the retiree based on the same formula, less the dependent charge. The materials describing the program are available through the Human Resources Office. The university retains the right to modify or terminate this plan upon reasonable notice to faculty, staff and retirees.

11. Tuition Reduction Programs

A. Academic Participation for Faculty, Staff and Retirees. Effective fall semester, 1988, a regular faculty or staff member may with approval of his/her supervisor, enroll in Grand Valley State University courses tuition free, one of which may be taken during working hours each fiscal year. Retirees may enroll with the approval of the Human Resources Office. The materials describing the program are available through the Human Resources Office.

B. Reduced Tuition for Spouses, Eligible Dependents and Household Members of Faculty, Staff and Retirees. Effective fall semester, 1988, spouses, eligible dependents, and household members of regular faculty, staff and retirees are eligible for a 50 percent reduction of their tuition costs for all Grand Valley State University courses. Spouses, eligible dependents, and household members of regular faculty, staff and retirees who use this benefit are subject to the admission and academic requirements of the university. The materials describing the program are available through the Human Resources Office.

12. Flexible Spending Accounts. Faculty may elect once a year to participate in the Flexible Spending Accounts pursuant to the plan established under IRS Code Section 125. The materials describing the program and its options are available through the Human Resources Office. The university retains the right to modify or terminate this program upon reasonable notice to the faculty members.

13. Adoption Assistance. Effective January 1, 2001 all regular full-time and part-time faculty members and staff are eligible for adoption assistance. The benefits provided are described in materials available through the Human Resources Office.

Page last modified November 4, 2013