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Tips on How to Create a Successful Sabbatical Application

Compiled by Faculty Panelists

October 1, 2012


Betty Phillips – Language, Literature & Linguistics

Decide what you want to do given the time available.

Be reasonable about what you can actually accomplish in the one semester/one year.

Start planning early. It is not unusual to start planning several years ahead.

Prepare early and carefully. Get started on your projects so that you can show that you are not starting from scratch. For example, give conference papers that you want to develop further during your sabbatical, obtain a book contract or expression of interest, or obtain approvals necessary for doing your project(s).

Focus your writing on Clarity and Audience. You need to remember the reader and their needs. They're not specialists in your field and they don't know the terminology or what's cutting edge. You have to tell them. And you have to tell them in words they will understand.

Use numbers or bullets for separating out the parts of your proposal. White space is a good thing; it helps the reader notice and follow your key points.

Tie what you want to do with what you've done in the past, so that you can show a record of success. Don't hesitate to boast about what you have accomplished. For example, if you've written a book, include a favorable review. If you have a book chapter, provide the URL of the book or include a book review that mentions your contribution favorably.


Anne Foster - History


may or may not feel we *need* a sabbatical after 12 semesters, and we may or may not believe we are *owed* a sabbatical, but

the reality is that we are not guaranteed one

. Take the application process seriously. Prepare carefully. Think about what it will mean to your program, department, college, and ISU as a whole for you to be gone a semester or a year. Proactively solve as many of the problems your absence will cause as you can. This is especially important for people in leadership positions such as committee chairs, advisors to students, and program or department chairs



only when you are really ready to make use of the time you are granted to produce something that the university values.

It may be tempting to apply as soon as you are eligible, and people may even advise you to do that so that you don’t *lose* semesters or years. Since your new 12 semester clock begins from when you take your sabbatical (unless asked by the administration to delay a granted sabbatical), it is tempting to apply as soon as you are eligible. But, if you are not ready to use the time productively, and are granted a sabbatical, you probably will not succeed in accomplishing all you should (or all you promise) which means two negative things. First, if an associate professor, you will still have to accomplish whatever you promised in order to get promoted (likely). Second, your subsequent sabbatical applications will meet with more skepticism. You also will likely find it frustrating to have time off from teaching and service which you can’t wisely use.


Anne Foster - continued


applications are like grant applications:

You are most likely to succeed in getting the grant/sabbatical when you have already finished at least a third of your project.

Having a substantial part of the project finished suggests to funders (and the administration is funding your sabbatical at some level) that you are likely to complete the project successfully. They then can be confident that the institution’s resources are being used wisely. Having already completed part also shows you are personally invested in this project, and will carry it through



applications are like grant applications, only more so:

Your primary audience is ignorant of your topic and almost assuredly your entire field of study.

You have to imagine an intelligent but uninformed audience. Explain everything, especially what makes your project an important contribution to the field. Have a friend who is in a different discipline read it



how what you produce will benefit ISU.

ISU will be paying you to not teach or do service. Why is it worth it to the university to do that? This part of your application is critical, and should be plainly stated, easily found, and tied to things the university, college, and/or department value.


Joyce Young – Marketing & Operations

Standards Vary by College – talk to your


Standards Vary by Department – talk to your Chair, former review committee members, colleagues, seek copies of successful


Other Suggestions:

If related to curriculum development, obtain prior letter of support from


chair and program faculty to attach to application, show that your colleagues see the value/need in your proposed work and that it will be welcomed into the program when completed.

If dependent on third party participation, obtain prior commitments prior to turning in application.  Documentation of such commitments shows that the project most likely will be completed.

Goals & Outcomes are doable. Past performance is a future indicator of success.  It is difficult to obtain a second sabbatical if you fail to produce on your first sabbatical.

Follow the instructions given on the application form.


Bassou El Mansour – HRD & Performance Technologies


in mind the university's goals


one project that you may realize for your department/students 


that the sabbatical leave will be an opportunity for your to devote more time to activities that you have been pursuing during your professional career


your application with other colleagues


sure your courses and other university obligations are covered  without extra budget allocation

. (A

good discussion with the chair will help)


that you have the opportunity to clarify and make changes to your application based on your committee's review, the chair, and the dean before the final submission.


Susan Latta - English

Project: Textbook Consisting of Application and Content Chapters

Timing of application

Didn’t immediately apply after tenure

Was developing handouts from class into application book chapters that I field tested

Did not apply until nearly all the application chapters done and tested (one half of the book)

Demonstrated that I was serious about the project

Demonstrated that I had a good chance to actually complete it

Relation of Project to Scholarship

Had to change my pedagogy to fit student needs here

Led to a change in the curriculum of classes

Read extensively in the literature to determine best practices supported by research

Research led to pre-tenure publications

Benefit of Project to Others

Not just my needs and interests—how will it benefit students? How will it enhance not only my reputation but also that of the department and university? Will it have a wider national or global audience? How will it benefit the field?

Audience from a Business Perspective

Envision readers as investors in a business—if they invest in you, how are you going to make good on that investment? How will they profit? What kind of return will they get?

Build credibility appeal—are you going to follow through on what you propose?

Demonstrate your work ethic

Demonstrate you’ve thought this project through

Demonstrate that you’re passionate and committed to this project

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Tips on How to Create a Successful Sabbatical Application - Description

Compiled by Faculty Panelists October 1 2012 Betty Phillips Language Literature amp Linguistics Decide what you want to do given the time available Be reasonable about what you can actually accomplish in the one semesterone year ID: 776324 Download Presentation

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