D. Research Leaves of Absence for Professors of the Practice

Professors of the practice should refer to the “General Leave Policies” section, in addition to the provisions summarized below.

(1)   Paid and Unpaid Research Leave

The purpose of a paid research leave is to make it possible for professors of the practice to take time off from their regular University responsibilities, including teaching and administrative service, in order to focus on their scholarly work. Professors of the practice are not eligible for unpaid research leaves unless used in conjunction with a paid research leave (thus extending the leave to one academic year). Professors of the practice on paid or unpaid research leave are expected to continue to conduct their research, advise and mentor their students and trainees, and follow FAS and University policies, including (in the case of paid leave) the 20 percent rule, which states that no more than 20 percent of one’s total professional effort may be directed to professional activities outside Harvard (see Chapter 2 for more information on this rule).

(2)   Duration of and Eligibility for Sabbatical and Unpaid Research Leaves

Faculty may not be on paid and/or unpaid research leave for more than one year at a time.

Professors of the practice are eligible for a semester of paid research leave after every six years in residence teaching, pro-rated to the faculty member’s FTE.[1] Faculty may extend the period of leave to a full academic year by combining a term of unpaid research leave with a term of sabbatical leave. In this case, paid research leaves may be taken either as one semester at full salary or as an academic year at half salary, pro-rated to the faculty member’s FTE.

Senior Lecturers are eligible for a semester of paid research leave after every six years in residence teaching, pro-rated to the faculty member's FTE.[2]

(3)   Deferral of Paid Research Leaves

Paid leave time does not ordinarily accumulate if the period between leaves is more than twelve terms. Therefore, if a faculty member opts not to take a leave in a term in which the faculty member is eligible, excess leave “credit” is not ordinarily applied toward a future paid research leave.

On rare occasions, a faculty member may request to delay a paid research leave for one or two terms for reasons of pressing departmental service. In such cases, with the prior written approval of the assistant dean for the division, the required period in residence teaching following the deferred leave may be reduced.

(4)   Compensation during Paid Leaves

A faculty member on paid research leave at full salary may not ordinarily receive compensation in the form of salary from another academic institution or external (grant or non-grant) funding source. Those on paid research leave at half salary may receive external compensation, but if the funding is paid through Harvard, the total compensation received from all funding sources during the academic year may not exceed the faculty member’s full-time nine-month base salary at Harvard and three months’ supplemental salary. In such cases, compensation that exceeds the base salary will ordinarily be converted, in accordance with the policies of the funding source, into research support. Please be advised that all salary payments made through the University carry a charge for fringe benefits. Therefore, it is important for faculty to work with their financial administrators when applying for outside funding.

Faculty members on paid research leave may receive supplemental compensation from external (non-grant) sources, so long as the total amount received from all sources does not exceed the equivalent of three months’ salary. For additional information on faculty supplementary salary and payments, see https://research.fas.harvard.edu/policies/outside-activities-holders-academic-appointments#addendum and https://research.fas.harvard.edu/policies/fas-supplemental-salary-payment-policy.

Some external funding sources provide compensation directly to the faculty member, rather than paying it through Harvard. In such cases, those on paid research leave at half salary may receive total compensation during the academic year in excess of their nine-month base salary and three months’ supplemental salary. It is very important, however, that faculty members remain mindful of the policies reflecting conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment, which apply at all times. Please see the following references (see also faculty research policies at https://research.fas.harvard.edu/policies/faculty-research): the University Statement on Outside Activities of Holders of Academic Appointments (available at https://provost.harvard.edu/statement-outside-activities-holders-academic-appointments), University Policy on Financial Conflicts of Interest (see http://files.vpr.harvard.edu/files/vpr-documents/files/harvard_university_fcoi_policy_4_0.pdf), FAS/SEAS Policy on Financial Conflicts of Interest Disclosures (available at https://research.fas.harvard.edu/policies/financial-conflicts-interest-disclosures), FAS/SEAS Policies Relating to Research & Other Professional Activities (available at https://research.fas.harvard.edu/policies-relating-research-and-other-professional-activities-within-and-outside-university), and FAS/SEAS Policies on Effort Reporting for Academic Year Effort and Supplemental Salary (available at https://research.fas.harvard.edu/effort-reporting) for more information. It is expected that each faculty member will, as noted in the Statement on Outside Activities of Holders of Academic Appointments, “conduct outside professional pursuits in ways that respect their responsibilities to their home institution. Along with status as a full-time Harvard academic appointee comes the expectation that one’s primary professional duties are to Harvard, and that outside professional activities will not conflict with obligations to one’s students, to colleagues, and to the University as a whole.” In practice, this means that, while on half salary from Harvard, faculty members’ agreements with other organizations should reflect a half-time status at those organizations.[3]

Faculty members on paid research leave may still direct 20 percent of their effort to outside activities related to their areas of expertise.

Any questions or concerns about potential conflicts of interest should be brought in advance to Lauren Ferrell (research@fas.harvard.edu), the FAS/SEAS Designated Institutional Official for Conflicts of Interest, in FAS Research Administration Services. Any questions or concerns about potential conflicts of commitment should be brought in advance to the attention of the Office for Faculty Affairs.

During a paid research leave, the University continues to make retirement fund contributions on behalf of the faculty member. Similarly, health plan benefits, life insurance, and disability insurance continue to be effective, and the faculty member’s payments are deducted directly from the faculty member's paycheck.

[1] To be eligible for paid research leave, professors of the practice must ordinarily be in residence for six years, and their total teaching during that time must amount to six years’ worth of teaching (consonant with departmental teaching-load norms). If their teaching happens to be distributed such that they did not teach every year, they are still ordinarily eligible for paid leave, if they have satisfied the residence requirement and completed the total required amount of teaching. Similarly, throughout Section 3.D (“Research Leaves of Absence for Professors of the Practice”), references to time “in residence teaching” recognize that teaching may not necessarily occur during every year, but faculty must still satisfy residence requirements and complete required, total amounts of teaching in order to be eligible for leave.
[2] To be eligible for paid research leave, senior lecturers must ordinarily be in residence for six years, and their total teaching during that time must amount to six years’ worth of teaching (consonant with departmental teaching-load norms). If their teaching happens to be distributed such that they did not teach every year, they are still ordinarily eligible for paid leave, if they have satisfied the residence requirement and completed the total required amount of teaching. Similarly, throughout Section 3.D (“Research Leaves of Absence for Professors of the Practice”), references to time “in residence teaching” recognize that teaching may not necessarily occur during every year, but faculty must still satisfy residence requirements and complete required, total amounts of teaching in order to be eligible for leave.
[3] Your income may need to be disclosed. Please see Chapter 2, “Compensation Related to Non-Harvard Activities,” for information on conflicts of interest and financial disclosure.