Faculty Development Leave


"Faculty development" in its broadest sense refers to the totality of programs, procedures and processes within an academic institution promoting improved faculty performance.

The general objectives of faculty development are:

  • To provide individual faculty members appropriate incentives to become more effective in teaching, research, and service activities.
  • To provide faculty with necessary support facilities and resources for personal and professional renewal.
  • To provide flexibility within the institutional environment in response to changing faculty career aspirations and interests as well as shifting institutional priorities.
  • One or two semester leave of absence

A leave of absence granted for professional development and/or career renewal represents one of several ways to achieve these objectives. The purpose of the Faculty Development Leave (FDL) may include any of the following:

  • To increase instructional development and/or enhance career renewal
  • To broaden interest in a disciplinary field
  • To acquire a new specialty
  • To promote activities that increase instructional effectiveness

More specifically, FDL serves to:

Afford relatively inexperienced faculty the opportunity:

  • To broaden or achieve greater depth in a defined field of study
  • To acquire or enhance specialized research skills
  • To improve instructional competence
  • To achieve competence in a new area of scholarly or administrative performance

Afford experienced faculty an opportunity to:

  • Regain or improve knowledge of an academic specialty
  • Achieve competence in a new field of study
  • Upgrade instructional performance

Allow faculty who, for whatever reason have been ineffective and/or non-productive, to restore effectiveness by participating in:

  • A program of advanced study
  • An internship
  • A planned sequence of related workshops, conferences, short courses and symposia

A Faculty Development Leave is not intended to provide an individual an opportunity:

  • To conduct research
  • To write or deliver papers
  • To author articles or books
  • To accomplish scholarly and creative work


Tenured, tenure-track and full-time, ranked non-tenure track faculty members are eligible to apply for a development leave to pursue personal, professional, instructional, or administrative development.  Development leave may be taken for a period of time up to a full year. 


A FDL may be taken for one or more semesters or for other periods not to exceed 12 months. No more than two Research or Development Leaves (or a combination thereof), each of a semester duration or more, may be granted within a five-year period. A recipient of a FDL is obligated to return to full-time service for one year upon completion of the leave. Failure to do so requires repayment of salary and benefits provided throughout the duration of the leave.

In addition to the requirement for post-leave continuing employment, a recipient is required to submit a written report of activities and accomplishments during the leave. The report is to be submitted within two months of completing the leave to the provost, dean and department chair. Failure to submit a report negates the eligibility for future funding. An application must be accompanied by an approval letter from the applicant's departmental chair, and by approval from the appropriate divisional dean. In the case of joint appointees, approvals from both chairs and both deans are necessary.

If the leave is to be spent away from MU, at laboratories or other agencies relevant to the proposal, letters of arrangement must accompany the application. An application that is expected to be combined with a Faculty Development Project Award application must have an appropriate budget attached. Travel may constitute a legitimate part of the project or activities to be undertaken during a FDL, but only if such travel is demonstrably necessary for achieving the purpose for which the leave is granted. Funding for FDL's are granted on a competitive basis, subject to the availability of funding, and only upon prior review and recommendation by the Faculty Development Advisory Committee.


Applications are reviewed twice a year. Leave applications cycle #1 are due Friday, October 13, 2017.  Leave applications cycle #2 for the 2018 spring semester are due by Friday, March 9, 2018.

Application Procedures

Every application must include the following information in the order given. Please use an outline format using the organizational headings shown. Include all information that is requested. Please keep in mind that the Faculty Development Advisory Committee members represent a variety of disciplines from across campus, but all are called upon to review the merits of each proposal.

It is to the applicant's benefit to write the proposal without excessive jargon and in a style that is clear to scholars who are not experts in the specific area of the proposed FDL. If complex methodology, equations, or statistical analysis must be discussed, please include an appendix limited to two single-spaced pages. Please also include English translations for any portion (including publications) written in another language.

  • Faculty Development Leave Application (PDF)
  • Leave Abstract
  • Provide a brief paragraph that concisely captures the project's concept and associated activities.
  • Leave Location
  • If leave is to be spent away from MU, indicate and justify the location of the project in one paragraph. Explain why the location is particularly appropriate for your project. Include copies of brochures and/or arrangement letters with the application.
  • Leave Purpose/Justification
  • Provide a brief description of the goals and objectives of the project. Indicate the justification(s) for the project, including how it will promote improved faculty performance.
  • Leave Description
  • Provide a complete description not to exceed three pages.
  • Leave Outcomes
  • List specific, measurable outcomes expected from the project.
  • Professional Accomplishments. Provide the following information in two pages:
    • Applicant Name
    • Educational Record (degrees/dates)
    • Employment Record (past three positions & dates)
    • Honors/Awards (list three most significant and dates)
    • Grant history (past five years)
    • Research/Creative Activity (list past three years and numerical career summary)
    • Teaching history (courses past three years; designate new [*] and significantly revised [**] courses)

Attachments Required:

  • Endorsement Letters
    • From department chair and divisional dean. In the case of joint appointees, endorsements from both department chairs and both deans are necessary.
  • Brochures/Letters of Arrangement
    • Needed only if the leave is to be spent away from MU, at laboratories or other agencies relevant to the proposal. Letters of arrangement must accompany the application. An application that is to be combined with a Faculty Development Project Award application must have an appropriate budget attached.

Submit an electronic version as an email attachment to umcprovostawards@missouri.edu naming each document starting with the applicant's last name and then a document reference (ie: Jones-FDL application). Send only the original hard copy of the entire proposal packet to:

Office of the Provost
114 Jesse Hall

Application/Evaluation Process

The faculty member wishing to apply for a FDL must discuss the proposed leave with his/her department chair and submit the necessary application materials to the chair for review and approval. Faculty members are encouraged to plan early so that the department chair knows of all planned leaves well in advance.

The department chair should:

  • Assess the importance of the leave request, not only to the faculty member but also to the department
  • Assess the prospects for success of the leave
  • Make accommodations for instruction and research (if necessary) in the member's absence
  • Work out with the faculty member, for purposes of future salary adjustments, a method of evaluating accomplishments during the leave

The department chair is expected to work with faculty members to decide under what conditions and when a leave can be taken. Upon approving the faculty member's proposed leave, the department chair must provide a letter of endorsement for the proposal and sign the application indicating that the appropriate arrangements for faculty salary will be made. The application packet, along with the plan showing how assignments will be covered and the cost of covering those assignments, if the leave is granted, should then be submitted to the divisional dean for review and approval.

The divisional dean reviews the application for leave and the coverage plan submitted by the department chair. If the dean approves the proposed leave and plan, he/she must provide a letter of endorsement signifying that he/she endorses the concept of the proposed leave and must sign the application designating that the appropriate arrangements for faculty and salary are promised and will be fulfilled. The application packet can then be submitted by the faculty member requesting the leave. The divisional dean should then forward to the provost the plan worked out with the department chair for covering assignments and costs of the proposed leave(s). This plan is for the use of the provost and will not be passed along to the Faculty Development Advisory Committee for review.

Applications that are not accompanied by plans and letters of endorsement will not be submitted to the committee for review.

All leave applications are screened by the provost to insure that each contains all required information, endorsements, and signatures. Only completed proposals are forwarded to the Faculty Development Selection Committee members for their review and evaluation.

The Faculty Development Selection Committee makes recommendations of approval for funding based on merit.

The provost evaluates the recommended applications together with the plans and recommendations from the divisional deans and department chairs and then notifies each dean of the amount of faculty development funds that will be allocated to his/her college or school to cover the recommended applications for leave.

Faculty members are notified by the provost regarding the committee recommendations of their leave applications. Each divisional dean will make the final allocation of development leave funds from the funds that are designated to each college/school by the deputy provost.

Evaluation Checklist

Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

Application Procedures

  • Did the applicant follow the correct application procedures in preparing the proposal?
  • Has all of the requested information been included in the proposal packet? (This includes all letters of endorsement, letters of arrangement, and signatures of dean and department chair on application.)

Clarity of Goals

  • Are goals clear, logical and specific?
  • Are goals appropriate to the Faculty Development Leave?
  • Are goals realistic?

Potential for Professional Development/Renewal

  • Proposals must specify new skill development.
  • Does the proposal hold promise of enhancing, revitalizing the applicant's professional development?
  • Preference will be given to proposals indicating specific and unique development beyond normal faculty responsibilities.


  • Can outcomes be measured?
  • Do outcomes justify the leave?
  • Do outcomes promote development/renewal?


  • Does the applicant's background indicate the likelihood of successfully accomplishing the proposal objectives?
  • Proposal must involve more than self study, which is expected of all faculty.


  • Is location justified?
  • Are there adequate resources at the specific location that would greatly enhance the development activities of the proposal?
  • Have arrangements been made with the appropriate facilities to accommodate development activities at a location outside of the university?

Potential Institutional Benefit

  • Does the proposal indicate promise of potential benefit to students, colleagues, and/or the university?

Questions concerning this program may be addressed to:

Office of the Provost
114 Jesse Hall
Fax: 573-882-0080