EECS Faculty Leave Policy

Issue to be Addressed:

This is to clarify for the faculty University and EECS Departmental policies with respect to leaves, especially industrial leaves in order to found companies. Often University policy is somewhat ambiguous in its restrictions (this is especially true with respect to leaves without pay). This memorandum sets down the principles and policies with respect to leaves as implemented at the Departmental level. Please note that the Academic Personnel Manual is available online.

Types of Leaves:

  1. A sabbatical leave is a special University privilege. A faculty member is (partially) paid while on sabbatical for a period of intense scholarly activity and intellectual renewal. Under University of California policy, a faculty member must not engage in substantial non-scholarly activity during a sabbatical leave. This includes receiving payment from another institution to teach or to perform consulting (the latter is being revisited, with the likely outcome that "normal" constraints on outside consulting will be enforced, i.e., no more than one day per week, etc.). In particular, it is inappropriate to use a sabbatical to engage in significant commercial activity such as a new business formation

  2. An alternative form is industrial leave without pay. This form is appropriate when a faculty member goes to work for an outside commercial entity for some limited period of time. It is the appropriate way to engage in business formation if a faculty member's outside activities exceed the one day per week guideline as established by University policy. Faculty members have also taken leave without pay to accept payment for teaching and administrative duties at other institutions of higher learning. NOTE: leaves without pay have implications for the individual's retirement. It is the responsibility of faculty members to understand these implications before requesting such a leave.

  3. Yet another form of leave is for government service. This typically involves the government's Interagency Personnel Act (IPA), under which University employees are paid their normal salary to serve in government through a contract let between the government and their home institution. While on leave for government service, the faculty member continues to gain years of service for the University's retirement program, but does not accrue semester credits towards sabbaticals.

  4. Research status uses extramural funding to release a faculty member from some fraction of his/her teaching duties in order to pursue a period of intensive research. Research status is normally pursued in residence, but are often combined with a partial sabbatical leave and are spent somewhere other than at Berkeley.

  5. An administrative leave is a special leave to take on substantial administrative duties for to Department, the campus, or the University. Many of the leadership positions within the Department include administrative leave by tradition (e.g., 100% for the Chair and Associate Chair), providing service in lieu of teaching. For a faculty member with a substantial service commitment to the campus or University, the Chair may choose to reduce the service load of that faculty member within the Department.

  6. For new parents, the University makes a number of provisions. These include Childbearing Leave, Parental Leave Without Pay, and "Active Service-Modified Duties," (reduced responsibilities). "AS-MD" is not technically a leave, but is a special arrangement for faculty members in the first year of parenthood with each new child. Its intent is to grant "a period in which normal duties are reduced" for any appointee who certifies he/she has responsibility for "at least 50% of the care of a newborn child or child under age five placed for adoption or foster care." Eligibility for AS-MD normally extends from 3 months prior to 12 months following the birth or placement, and ends 12 months following that event. In requesting AS-MD, the faculty member is asked to verify in writing that he/she has "responsibility for at least 50% of the care of my newly-born or adopted child during this period." "Reduced responsibilities" under AS-MD is interpreted as relief from teaching duties, with light committee assignments during the semester involved. UC policies on Childbearing Leave, Parental Leave Without Pay, and AS-MD are detailed in APM 760.

Industrial Leave Principles:

  1. Business formation is an important contribution of the University to regional economic development. As engineering faculty, it is important to be engaged in the real world application of our research. Industrial activity is also one form of evidence of a faculty member's impact. It should be encouraged and cherished.

  2. On engaging in commercializing a technology related to the faculty member's research, he or she is responsible for clarifying all intellectual property and licensing issues with the Berkeley campus Office of Technology Licensing.

  3. The core values of the University are those of a community of scholars and teachers. Excessive leaves place an unfair burden on their faculty colleagues, in terms of distribution of teaching and administrative responsibilities, and on their graduate student colleagues, whose progress towards their degree goals may be seriously impeded.

Departmental Policies:

  1. A faculty member's request for a one year industrial leave without pay will normally be approved without question, as long as excessive leaves (of all kinds) have not been taken in the recent past. "Excessive" leave is defined as more than one year of leave of any kind for every four years of full time service.

  2. A semester's sabbatical at 100% pay is earned after 9 semesters of service (carried out at a minimum of half-time). A semester's sabbatical at 67% pay may be taken after 6 semesters' accrued service. Refer to the Academic Personnel Faculty Leave Procedures for further information on Sabbatical Leave options.

  3. Request for extensions beyond one year of industrial leave, or any leave request that is "excessive," requires careful consideration by the Chair. It need not be approved at the discretion of the Chair. The faculty member has an obligation to assist the Department in finding replacement instructors for his or her courses. A plan for continued financial and mentoring support for his or her students must be presented with the request for an extended leave.

  4. Extending a leave to another institution of higher learning or industrial laboratory beyond one year will not be approved. The Department has been ill served by faculty members who have requested such extended leaves, only to abandon Berkeley in the end.

  5. Leaves for government service are a special case, and may be extended for the full term of the service, up to a maximum of four years (the limit of the IPA Act).

  6. Teaching is a very important component of a faculty member's responsibilities. A research appointment provides partial relief from teaching duties to allow a faculty member to pursue research more intensively. It has no effect on the expectations for the faculty member's service to the Department, however. A "standard" research appointment is 25% over the academic year or 50% over a semester, and normally will be permissible if it does not result in course coverage issues as assessed by the appropriate Division's Faculty Scheduling Officer.

    A 50% research appointment over an entire academic year will be approved only in the exceptional case of a faculty member serving as Principal Investigator (PI) of a major multi-PI research project or center. Research appointments of non-standard percentages or duration require additional justification or explanation, including information about the research project requiring the faculty member's extra effort, and any timing considerations that may apply.

  7. Under no circumstances will research status of more than 50% be approved. This applies to combined sabbatical leave and research status as well. NOTE: a faculty member must receive approval via the Chair's signature for teaching release through research status at the time a research proposal is submitted. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to provide a complete tabulation of current and pending research status.

Written April 6, 1999 by EECS Chair Randy Katz; updated December 2010