For 2024-2025

Due date for applications is Friday, September 20, 2024 at 5pm EST

The proposal for an Educational Leave must be endorsed by the faculty member’s academic unit head (AUH). Applicants should share their proposals with the AUH in a timely manner. The Faculty Development Committee requests that the letter of endorsement from the unit head include an assessment of the effect of the educational leave proposal on the department, including anticipated costs related to covering courses vacated by the faculty member.

The College of Health and Behavioral Studies offers Educational Leaves to provide faculty members with opportunities to expand their teaching abilities and foster intellectual growth, such as independent study, research, graduate/postgraduate study and direct clinical or applied activities. Leave activities should address issues relevant to the applicant's professional field or an area that will enhance the understanding and integration of related fields. Projects may encompass an expansive field or a specific interest. Inevitably, leave activities should result in enhanced teaching, research, or professional skills, and the leave recipient should realize a renewed capacity for personal contributions to the university community as a result of the Educational Leave. The purposes of these leaves are to sustain vigor, especially in the university's academic instructional programs, and to ensure that faculty members have the opportunity for professional development.

Faculty Eligibility
In order to be eligible to apply for an Educational Leave, a faculty member must meet the following qualifications:

  • The candidate must be a full-time faculty member or academic unit head.
  • The candidate must be in at least the sixth year of full-time faculty service at James Madison University at the time of application.
  • The candidate cannot have been a recipient of an educational leave within the past six years.

Terms of Leave (see also Faculty Handbook, III.J.1.a. Educational Leave)
The terms of the Educational Leave enable a faculty member to elect to use one full academic year (nine months) at one-half salary or one semester (fall 2024 or spring 2025) at full salary for that semester. If the one semester option is taken, the remaining semester of that year may not be applied to the accumulation of the six years of service required for Educational Leave eligibility. With either option, the university will continue to contribute its full share of all established fringe benefits.

An applicant is expected to follow through with an Educational Leave once the application is approved and the leave is awarded. If the applicant's Educational Leave plans change, the Dean’s Office must be notified.

A recipient of an Educational Leave is expected to return to full-time service at the university for at least one academic year after the leave is completed. The university may require the repayment of the salary paid during such leave if the faculty member fails to return and fulfill this responsibility.

Educational Leave may be withheld whenever it is felt that the absence of the candidate for leave would be seriously detrimental to the interest of the University.

Reports and Acknowledgements
At the completion of leave activities, a written report summarizing accomplishments of the leave must be submitted to the Office of the Dean (CHBS) and also to the academic unit head as part of the FAR (Faculty Activity Report) for the academic year. The faculty member will be expected to provide, in reasonable detail, a summary of activities during the leave period and to address the extent to which the experience contributed to teaching effectiveness and professional development. This written report will constitute a major portion of the faculty member's evaluation for that academic year. When the faculty member returns from Educational Leave, the Dean and academic unit head may invite the faculty member to share with other faculty via a lecture, seminar, presentation, workshop or participation in a colloquium. Any publication or exhibition resulting from activity assisted by these grants shall indicate: "This work was supported by the James Madison University Program of Grants for Faculty Educational Leaves."

Guidelines for Proposals

Project Summary:

A proposal is to be directed toward independent study, research, creative work, and/or graduate/postgraduate study which will enhance the applicant's teaching abilities and foster professional growth and development. Include a short and descriptive project title and a one-paragraph abstract.


This description is the only demonstration that the College Faculty Development Committee will have of the substance and potential of your project. It is important that the proposer not presume extensive knowledge on the part of the reviewers. Since members of the Faculty Development Committee may not have a specialized knowledge of the proposer's field, the proposal must be sufficiently detailed to describe the project in non-technical language. There is no required format for the narrative; however, the following points must be addressed (and these areas align with the evaluation rubric):

  1. Educational Leave Objectives: State the objectives of the leave.
  2. Description of Leave Activities: Describe the specific program of study or research, explain the basic ideas, problems, or questions intended to be examined, and illustrate the planned approach or line of thought. Proposal includes a detailed description of leave activities and a timeline that is appropriate. Also, note how leave activities will clearly make a positive impact on teaching quality and/or scholarly achievement.
  3. Relationship to Your Field: Incorporate statements about the need for and the contributions of the project to teaching and scholarship in the particular field of study. Include a concise review of the relevant literature or state of affairs.
  4. Professional Growth: Provide an argument that the proposed activity will aid your teaching abilities or intellectual growth. Note how the leave is aligned with your long-range teaching and scholarly objectives. Include what future scholarly activities might be expected as a result of the leave.
  5. Broader Impact Beyond Personal Growth: If applicable, note how the work proposed will have a significance on the larger JMU or Harrisonburg community in a positive way.
  6. Logistics:  Specify when and where the project will be conducted and indicate the likelihood of access to archives, collections, or institutions, if pertinent.

The narrative of the proposal is not to exceed five double-spaced typed pages or 1,500 words.

Curriculum Vitae

The proposer shall provide an up-to-date outline of professional activities and accomplishments, including such items as:

  1. Degrees earned and date of conferral.
  2. Employment record.
  3. List of academic honors, awards, or fellowships received and dates.
  4. List of publications and important academic or professional presentations.
  5. Other pertinent experiences and current activities.

Note that the College Faculty Development Committee will evaluate leave applications first and foremost on the merit of the proposal. Professional credentials will be considered when reviewing proposals of equal or comparable merit and when determining the applicant's potential for successful leave activities.

Criteria/Governing Policies

The College Faculty Development Committee will review all proposals eligible for consideration. The Faculty Development Committee shall make recommendations regarding funding to the Dean. The Faculty Development Committee will make recommendations based on the following criteria and governing policies.

The CHBS Faculty Development Committee will use this rubric to aid in the evaluation conversation. This tool aligns with the narrative elements above. 

Governing Policies:

  • Proposals should be written in a clear, coherent, and concise manner and clearly express the concept and organization of the project.
  • Additional consideration will be given to proposals that address the mission and goals of James Madison University and strategic initiatives of the College.
  • The applicant must show commitment to work full time on the project and a desire to see its completion.
  • Final choices will be based upon the recommendations of the College Faculty Development Committee as they determine the relative merit of each proposal. All things being equal, preference will be given to senior applicants who have demonstrated a high quality of service to the university and who have not received an educational leave while employed at JMU.
  • Support will not be given to projects already funded by publishers. Applicants may submit proposals that lead to publication of books if explicit educational benefit(s) to the department, college or university are apparent.
  • If projects involve research or data collection using human subjects, the proposer must acknowledge that Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, according to policy number #1104, is required of all awarded leaves. IRB approval and details of the IRB agreement should be submitted to Julie Love before any expenditures can occur.
  • If projects involve research or data collection using live, vertebrate animals, the proposer must acknowledge that Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approval, according to policy number #2202, is required of all awarded leaves. IACUC approval and details of the IACUC agreement should be submitted to Julie Love before any expenditures can occur.
  • Faculty are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the University policy governing Intellectual Property. Information regarding the university's policy on "intellectual property" is available in policy #1107 in the James Madison University Manual of Policies and Procedures.

Proposal Submission

Submit all application materials to


  1. Project summary
  2. Narrative (not to exceed five double-spaced typed pages or 1,500 words)
  3. Current curriculum vita
  4. Endorsement letter from academic unit head (attach as a pdf file)

Notification of Leave Award

The College Faculty Development Committee will forward proposals recommended for funding under the Educational Leaves Program to the Dean’s Office. The Dean will review the funds required by each academic unit to replace the faculty member on leave. After determining the maximum number of leaves that can be supported from the total funds available for the academic year, the awards will be made. Recipients of the Faculty Education Leave awards will be notified in writing by the end of the Fall semester.

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