Faculty Professional Leave

Intention and Criteria: A funded Professional Leave is intended to support significant and impactful professional and creative opportunities for regular and technical faculty (“Eligible Faculty”) that occur off-cycle from the regular Creative Leave cycle. Professional Leaves are only for one semester. Professional Leaves are to be granted upon the recommendation of the Eligible Faculty’s Dean and with the approval of the Provost.

Eligibility: To be eligible to apply for the Professional Leave, faculty must be a regular or technical faculty at the California Institute of the Arts (the “Institute”) for at least three full and consecutive academic years, at 0.5 FTE or above for each of the three academic years. Once Eligible Faculty take a Professional Leave, Eligible Faculty cannot take another Professional Leave until 7 years have elapsed since the start of the last Professional Leave. Leave without pay does not count toward the accrual of the 7-year requirement for eligibility for a subsequent Professional Leave. For instance, an Eligible Faculty who takes Professional Leave in Fall 2024, and does not take leave without pay, will be eligible to take another Professional Leave in Fall 2031.

Eligible Faculty cannot take a Professional Leave in the same academic year as their Creative Leave. Taking a Professional Leave in a subsequent semester in a different academic year after a Creative Leave (e.g., a Fall leave after a Spring leave) needs approval from the Eligible Faculty’s Dean and the Provost.

Salary During the Professional Leave: While a faculty member is on an approved Professional Leave, the faculty member will receive 25% of their academic yearly salary for the semester of the Professional Leave. For instance, if an Eligible Faculty was being paid $100,000 for the academic year in which the Professional Leave will be taken, then the Eligible Faculty will receive $25,000 during the Professional Leave. Any stipends an Eligible Faculty received prior to the Professional Leave will be discontinued during the Professional Leave.

The remainder of the faculty salary will be used as replacement funds, when necessary, to mitigate the impact of the leave on the program.

Execution of Necessary Documents & Benefits: Once the Professional Leave application is approved by the Provost, Eligible Faculty must meet with Human Resources and the Provost’s Office to execute the necessary documentation for the Professional Leave to be provided and to understand the impact on their employment benefits (e.g., a full-time faculty member will be eligible for benefits, but there will be impacts on their employee contribution). This must be done sufficiently in advance of the commencement of the Professional Leave.

Impact on Years of Service & Return: Professional Leaves of one semester are counted in a faculty's years of service. Following the Professional Leave, faculty members will return to at least the same FTE they held prior to the Professional Leave. Faculty must sign an acknowledgment form indicating their understanding of the structure of the Professional Leave.

Criteria Considered for Approval:

The following will be the criteria considered for approval of the Professional Leave:

  • Faculty member is in good standing and has met the requisites of contract renewal;

  • The project or opportunity is determined to be highly impactful on the faculty member’s career and is a recognized, substantial academic or artistic opportunity that cannot be postponed to the next Creative Leave. Such opportunities include major grants, residencies, awards, commissions, fellowships, and prizes (e.g., the Fulbright, the Guggenheim, the Berlin Prize, the Rome Prize, the Whiting award, USA Fellowship, Creative Capital award, the Doris Duke Performing Artists award, the McKnight National Residency, Studio Museum in Harlem Artist-in-Residence, NEA fellowships, etc.); and

  • The impact on other faculty’s workload, curricular, and mentoring needs within the program.

Timeline for Application: Applications for a Professional Leave during the Spring Semester of a given year, are due by September 15 of the previous year. Applications for Professional Leave during the Fall Semester of a given year are due by February 15th of the same year. Applications submitted after these deadlines will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and are less likely to be approved.

How to Apply:

Eligible Faculty applicants must provide the following information via Formstack, or other software application as requested by the Provost’s Office:

  • Name.

  • School/program.

  • Hire date (can be provided by Faculty Affairs Office).

  • Semester of proposed leave.

  • Briefly describe your current teaching/administrative duties

  • Briefly describe any Institute service you are involved in.

  • A one to three-page proposal that describes clearly the significance of the specific professional opportunity, its importance in your field, the impact upon your artistic and professional practice, and the reason it cannot be delayed for future Creative Leave.

  • Letter/s of commission or invitation or other supporting materials.

Approval Process:
Applications must be approved by the Eligible Faculty’s Dean and then submitted to the Provost via Formstack, or other software application as requested by the Provost’s Office, for review. The Provost will bring the applications to the Deans Council for review, discussion, and recommendation. The Dean’s Council will then recommend to the Provost whether to approve any Professional Leave. The Provost will consider the recommendations of the Dean and the Dean’s Council in making a final decision as to whether to approve any Professional Leave. The Provost’s Office will notify Professional Leave applicants of the decision.

Approvals: Academic Council April 6, 2023; Deans Council 

Policy Category:
Adopted Date:
Nov 2023
Responsible Office: