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Absence from Duty

Faculty members are expected to meet all professional responsibilities. When a faculty member must be absent, it is her/his responsibility to make arrangements for classes to meet under competent supervision; these arrangements are to be approved by the department chair. In case of an emergency which makes advance arrangements impossible, the department chair should be notified as soon as possible. Absence forms may be obtained from the office of the department chair and should be filed well in advance of the absence, except when an emergency arises, in which case the form should be filed upon return. A copy of the absence form can be obtained from Southwestern's web-site. Faculty are subject to forfeiture of pay for failure to complete assigned duties.

Approved Personal Leave for Faculty

  • The University allows a maximum of three (3) days for approved personal leave for faculty members. Personal leave shall be limited to matters that cannot be conducted before or after the regular workday or on weekends. Reasons for personal leave will include:
    • Legal Matters-house closings; seeking legal advice; subpoena; trips to state or county offices;
    • Family Matters-family or friend's events; graduations; funerals; christenings; weddings; emergency child care (when regular daycare is unavailable); personal appointments; job interview; accompanying spouse to a conference or another activity; child's event;
    • Mechanical Matters-car repairs, house/appliance repairs;
    • Any activity that is beyond faculty control; insurance appraisals; recognition by civic/community organizations, etc.
  • The faculty member's signature shall serve as certification that the leave was not used for personal entertainment, recreation, or gainful employment.
  • The request and conditions shall include the following:
    • Time taken for "Personal Leave" will be counted against the faculty member's accrued sick leave balance.
    • Personal leave does not accumulate. The annual period will begin with the first day of the fall semester.
    • As in the case of all types of leave, the Faculty Absence Form will be used for documentation purposes. Provisions must be made for missed duties (e.g., coverage of classes) at SWOSU.
    • Request for personal leave shall be made in writing to the chair of the department, allowing sufficient time for approval prior to the use of the leave. In the case of an emergency, the written request shall be filed within one day after returning to work.
    • The Chair of the department and the Dean will review each request for leave. The Dean will forward the recommendation to the Chief Academic Officer.
    • The Chief Academic Officer will approve or deny the request.
  • "Personal Leave" is not to be used for activities that are included as part of Faculty Development, Faculty Scholarship, Service, or Consulting.

Annual Leave

Annual leave is accrued and taken in accordance with individual university policies.


The University shall provide opportunities for faculty to consult. Requests for consulting leave shall be made in writing to the chair of the department and must be in advance of the use of the leave. Requests and conditions shall include the following:

  1. The consulting must be associated with the faculty member's appointment and involve activities that are either related to teaching, scholarship, service, or economic development.
  2. As in the case of all types of leave, the Faculty Absence Form will be used for documentation purposes. Provisions must be made for missed duties (e.g., coverage of classes).
  3. An explanation of the consultation must accompany the request and must be attached to the "Faculty Absence Form."
  4. The Chair of the department and the Dean will review each request for leave. The Dean will forward recommendation to the Chief Academic Officer.
  5. The Chief Academic Officer will approve or deny the request.

Consulting is not to be used for activities that are covered under other absence policies (e.g., sick leave, personal leave, non-extramural activities).

Family and Medical Leave

Eligible employees may take unpaid family and medical leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, and applicable state law. (Compare 74 O.S. § 840.7c and Office of Personnel Management rule 530:10-15-45.)

Leave of Absence Without Pay

The Board of Regents authorizes the universities to grant leaves of absence without pay. Upon recommendation of the department or division chair and approval of the dean of the college, the Chief Academic Officer, and the president, a faculty member may be placed on leave without pay. The usual period for such leave is one year. Requests for leave without pay should be submitted to the chair at least ninety (90) days before the end of the semester preceding the semester for which leave is requested. Requests that do not comply with this deadline are evaluated on the basis of "individual need."

Military Leave

Pursuant to 72 O.S. § 48, all employees who are members, either officers or enlisted, of the Reserve Components to include the Army and Air National Guard and the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, the Coast Guard Reserves, or any other component of the Armed Forces of the United States, shall, when ordered by the proper authority to active or inactive duty or service, be entitled to a leave of absence for the period of such service without loss of status or seniority. During the first twenty (20) regularly scheduled work days of such leave during the federal fiscal year, the employee shall receive his full regular pay. During the remainder of such leave in any federal fiscal year, the state may elect to pay the employee an amount equal to the difference between his full regular pay and his military pay.

Sabbatical Leave

The Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges authorizes the university to grant sabbatical leave. If a university chooses to grant sabbatical leave, the following guidelines will prevail:


The university may grant a sabbatical leave to faculty members to provide an opportunity for continued professional growth and new or renewed intellectual achievement through study, research, writing, and travel. The primary purpose of sabbaticals should be for post-doctoral study. A sabbatical may be used to engage in specialized scholarly activity or to provide a broad cultural experience. Such sabbaticals are intended to take place in off-campus settings. The university views a sabbatical as an investment with the expectation that the sabbatical will significantly enhance the faculty member's capacity to contribute to the objectives of the university. For this reason sabbatical leave applications are approved only when significant evidence indicates that the individual will achieve this purpose. Also, the approval of such sabbaticals shall be consistent with the appropriate budgetary and faculty arrangements so as not to disrupt the instructional program or other vital operations of the university.

Conditions of Award

A full sabbatical leave will be for one year at one‑half salary. Persons who qualify for less than full sabbatical may be awarded a sabbatical on a proportional basis. Sabbatical leaves shall not be used as a means of augmenting personal income. The sabbatical program requires that persons on sabbatical devote full‑time to the scholarly activity for which the sabbatical is granted and will receive no salary or stipend from sources other than the university, except that, with university approval, (1) persons on sabbatical at less than full salary may engage in other scholarly activity consistent with that for which the sabbatical is granted and receive salary, stipend, or honorarium from other sources in such amounts that total salary stipend, and honorarium do not exceed the annual income normally earned, and (2) persons on leave may receive grants from other sources for travel and research expenses incident to their scholarly activity.

Individuals receiving sabbatical leave shall enter into the following written agreement to return to the service of the university and remain for a number of months equal to four times the number of months of full-time equivalent salary (example: One half (1/2) salary x ten (10) months = five (5) full-time months; the number of months to return to the university is five (5) full‑time months x four (4) = twenty (20) months) or to repay the university the amount of salary received while on sabbatical leave, unless released from the obligation by the Board. If the individual returns to the university only for part of the time required, the amount to be paid the university shall be proportionally reduced.


  1. I agree to report in writing to the Chief Academic Officer via my department chair or division chair within three months of returning to University service a report of the activities I undertook on my sabbatical and I understand that should I fail to do so any future leave application can be denied.
  2. I agree to withdraw from all departmental, college, and University committees for the duration of my leave.
  3. I agree to remain in the service of the University at not less than my present salary for a number of months equal to four times the number of months of full-time equivalent salary.
  4. I further agree that, in the event I do not return to the University, I will repay the University salary and cost of benefits received from the University during the sabbatical leave, and that, if I do not repay such sums upon demand the University may bring all necessary legal actions to recover this money from me.
  5. I have read the section of the Faculty Handbook regarding the official policy of sabbatical leave.

NAME (Please type): _________________________________

SIGNATURE: ______________________________________

At the termination of the sabbatical, and not later than three months after returning to the campus, the individual shall submit a report of the activities undertaken to the vice president for academic affairs through the department chair and division chair. The report will be used to evaluate future applications for sabbaticals of faculty members who have been granted one or more sabbaticals.


Faculty members are eligible for full sabbatical leaves when they have been full-time employees of the university for six academic years. In order to qualify for a prorated sabbatical, the individual must have been a full-time employee of the university for a minimum of two academic years. For the purpose of determining eligibility for a sabbatical leave, time spent on a sabbatical is considered as full-time employment; however, time spent on leave without pay is not considered full-time employment. A faculty member is eligible for a subsequent full sabbatical after six years following any sabbatical leave grant whether full or partial.


A faculty member shall make formal application for a sabbatical leave which includes the reasons for requesting the sabbatical leave, the activities planned during the sabbatical, and a schedule of the use of time while on the sabbatical leave. The application should be submitted to the president of the university through the appropriate department chair, division chair or dean, and vice president. The department chair, division chair or dean, and vice president shall each include a recommendation regarding the sabbatical leave. The decision for recommendation of a sabbatical leave shall be based on the following criteria:

  • evidence of the highest critical need in order to maintain academic effectiveness;
  • total years of academic or professional service at the university;
  • potential contribution to an academic or professional discipline;
  • length of remaining service to the university;
  • possession of a terminal degree in the teaching field assigned; or pursuing a terminal degree in a teaching field in which there is a shortage of qualified faculty.

Sick Leave

Sick leave is accrued and taken in accordance with individual university policies.

Sick leave may not be earned by an employee during leave of absence without pay, suspension, layoff, not under contract, or removal from the payroll for any reason.

Full-time employees are eligible for sick leave with pay based on sick leave accrual rates during continuous service with the state in accordance with the following schedule:

  • 15 days/calendar year
  • 12 days/academic year

Sick leave shall accrue on a monthly basis. There is no maximum on the number of days that may be accumulated. 130 days is the maximum number that can be used by an employee. No sick leave can be transferred to SWOSU from some other employment.

Employees who earn sick leave and who work at less than 40 hours per week shall only earn that leave at a rate proportionate to 40 hours per week.

While a physician's certificate evidencing illness or disability is not required each time an employee does not report for duty because of illness or disability, the Board and the University reserve the right to require such a certificate from the employee's physician and/or a physician of the institution's choosing.

Absences may be charged to sick leave entitlements for an illness, injury, or disability which incapacitates an employee and prevents him/her from performing his/her duties or for exposure to a contagious disease which, in the judgment of the Director of Health Services or one of the cooperating physicians, would jeopardize the health of fellow employees.

Sick leave may not be earned by an employee during leave of absence without pay, suspension, layoff, or removal from the payroll for any reason. Employees who leave the employ of the University shall not receive compensation for any accrued sick leave.

A part-time faculty member (less than 3/4 time) is not eligible for sick leave.

Absence due to the illness of immediate members of one's family (spouse, parent, or child) may be charged to sick leave upon approval of requests submitted through budget unit (departmental) channels submitted to the Human Resources Office.

Pregnancy in itself is not a disabling condition for a fixed period of time. The granting of sick leave benefits in pregnancy conditions is subject to the same conditions as for all other covered health conditions. Leave for pregnancy is deducted from sick leave. For a normal delivery two weeks plus length of time in the hospital is allowed. For a caesarian delivery, six weeks plus length of time in the hospital is allowed. This policy also applies to the spouse. One may also make use of the provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act; one should contact the Human Resources Office for details.

Unused sick leave which has been canceled as a result of limits on leave accumulations shall be placed in the university "Sick Leave Bank" in the name of the employee. Accumulated sick leave days banked will be reinstated to qualified employees (those employed prior to July 1, 1992 ) upon retirement to reflect actual unused sick leave days (up to a maximum of 130 earned at the university).