Academic Affairs

Faculty Leave Support

The Faculty Development Committee administers four award programs that are intended to supplement sabbatic leave salary or to supplement grants received from an external agency to make possible a full-year leave of absence. Grants can also be made to support a semester of leave that is not in combination with a sabbatical. Information on the four awards programs can be found below.


All tenured and tenure-track faculty members are eligible for leave support.

How to Apply

All materials should be submitted electronically on or before November 1 to Applications must be submitted (in a single document when possible) PDF format; no other electronic format will be accepted. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Applicants should make clear to the Committee the special benefit to be gained from a leave of absence or the addition of a semester to a sabbatical semester. Award amounts and details differ by fellowship. Applicants do not need to state their salaries in their applications, as the final calculations will be performed in the Dean’s Office. The Committee will not have access to confidential salary information.

A completed faculty leave support application must include:

  1. Title of project.
  2. A narrative description (no more than four pages single-spaced, 12 point font, one inch margins) in which the applicant makes clear in language that is accessible to non-specialist colleagues the following:
    • the ideas, problems, works or questions the study will examine, and the steps to be taken to accomplish this project;
    • the significance of the project to the applicant's scholarly field and research/artistic program;
    • the relationship of the project to the applicant's ongoing development as a scholar;
    • a clear statement of anticipated outcome(s);
    • the dates and amount of awards from the Faculty Development Committee received over the past six years and a brief summary of their results. Any relationships between previously funded projects and the current research must be described.
  3. Statement describing the appropriateness of the application for each of the four fellowship opportunities available (less than one page; fellowships are described below). This statement should reflect the specifics of the various fellowships (e.g., a Porter Fellowship enables study at another university; a Bowdoin Faculty Fellowship can support multi-year projects).
  4. An assessment of the availability of outside funding for the project. The Committee is aware that certain types of worthy proposals might not be appropriate for requests to conventional funding agencies. Justification is required, however, if external funding has not been sought. If external funding has been sought - or applications will be submitted - this should be noted in the application, with a list of agencies or organizations to which applications have been or will be submitted. If external funds are obtained, the total amount of all salary awards, from both Bowdoin and non-Bowdoin sources, cannot exceed a faculty member's annualized salary.
  5. A current curriculum vitae, no longer than five pages.
  6. An external recommendation by a scholar/educator in the field of the proposed project. This letter may come from a collaborator or a person familiar with the applicant's work and should address the merits of the proposed activity and the applicant's preparedness to undertake it successfully. If the writer of the letter wishes to submit the letter directly to the committee they may do so at the address given, with the name of the applicant in the subject line. Otherwise, letters should be submitted with the rest of the applicant's materials.

(NOTE: cover letters are not considered in the evaluation of an application.)

Additional Information

Should the Committee have to decide between two meritorious proposals, only one of which comes from an individual with an approved upcoming sabbatical, preference will be given to that person. In addition, support will generally not be awarded to fund a third consecutive semester of leave. A recipient of an award who is also in receipt of external funding can retain that portion of the award that would bring their salary to a maximum of 100 percent for a semester of leave in addition to the sabbatic semester.

Faculty Leave Support Programs

Bowdoin Faculty Research Fellowships

Bowdoin Faculty Research fellowships are intended to further faculty development by supporting distinguished, substantive, multi-year projects. Outstanding research programs or projects aimed at improvement in teaching are strongly encouraged.

In addition, projects which fall outside of the standard research or instructional categories will be seriously considered if they substantially contribute to a faculty member's intellectual development or to the educational mission of the College. Proposals built on well-defined departures from previous teaching or research will be viewed as favorably as those proposals that promise substantial enrichment of ongoing projects. In all cases the project should represent a faculty member's primary commitment over a specified period of time.

Up to two fellowships will be awarded: one fellowship to be awarded to an assistant professor, and one to a tenured faculty member. Applications must be made in the academic year preceding the project's starting date. Awards can be for amounts up to two-thirds of one semester's salary and up to $10,000 for research expenses. Availabilty of funds is limited to the period of a faculty member's Bowdoin appointment. Faculty who receive a Bowdoin Faculty Research Fellowship (or, as it was previously called, a Kenan Fellowship) will become eligible to apply again no sooner than ten years after receiving their award.

If a successful applicant has received a Faculty Research Award for a portion of the Bowdoin Faculty Research Fellowship project, the former grant should normally be returned to the College.

Faculty Leave Supplements

A Faculty Leave Supplement provides salary support for up to two-thirds of a one-semester salary.

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships

Funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, these fellowships further Bowdoin faculty development by supporting one semester of full salary support. Recipients may elect to divert up to $10,000 of an award to a professional fund to support research activities during the leave (if, for example, a faculty member receives external grant support for partial salary). Up to two Mellon fellowships can be awarded each year: one for an assistant professor and one for a tenured faculty member.

Porter Fellowships for Advanced Study or Research

The Elizabeth Watkins Porter and Robert Chamberlain Porter Fund was established in 1998 to "encourage faculty renewal and development to benefit both faculty and their students" by enabling faculty members to "engage in advanced study or research at other universities." A Porter fellowship provides up to two-thirds of a one-semester salary. In addition, each individual may request up to $4,000 in travel and relocation expenses.

Deadline - November 1, 2014.

This is the only date leave proposals will be accepted for the academic year.

External resources for leave support