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Highline College Human Resources: Administrative Handbook

Benefits: Sabbatical Professional Leave



As an institution of higher education, Highline College provides an ethos committed to lifelong learning and has strongly supported professional development for its faculty, administration, and staff since its inception. Administrative/Professional staff, like the faculty, may be granted a sabbatical as a means to enhance their professional development and to improve the College's services to its students and community.

A sabbatical for professional leave creates a significant block of time for administrative/professional staff to engage in activities that sustain professional growth and revitalization. The enabling legislation for sabbaticals asserts that these leaves are "for the purpose of providing opportunities for study, research, and creative activities for the enhancement of the institution's instructional and research programs." (RCW 28B.10.650) The success of this sabbatical leave policy depends upon the good will and cooperation of those who administer it, those who participate in it, and the availability of resources to implement it.

Fulltime administrative/professional staff members are eligible for sabbatical leave after six years of fulltime service at Highline College. Individual leaves may be granted for one to three quarters within any year. Compensation for sabbatical leaves will be in accordance with RCW 28B.10.650(1), ". . . shall not exceed the average of the highest quartile of a rank order of salaries of all full time teaching faculty holding academic year contracts or appointments at the institution. . .." Fringe benefits continue to accrue at the same rate and percentage based on paid salary. Those who take sabbatical leave are obligated to return to the College in a professional capacity for a period commensurate with the length of paid leave granted.

Applications for sabbatical must be submitted to the applicant's Executive Staff member at least ninety days before the start of the proposed leave. (Normally, the President will request sabbatical applications during winter quarter.) Executive Staff will review the requests and make recommendations to the President in a timely manner. If a member of Executive Staff is an applicant, he/she will not participate in the review or the recommendation. The needs of the College, the availability of temporary replacements, resources to support the leave, and the impact on College operations will be considered in the process.

Criteria to review the proposals and rank the recommendations will also include:

  1. Advantage that the leave's results will have for the individual's assigned responsibilities and the College;
  2.  Professional Development opportunities for the applicant;
  3. Opportunity to seek an advanced degree;
  4. Years of service since previous leave at the College;
  5.  Development of skills for an expanded or changed position;
  6. Ability and expertise of the applicant to achieve the outcomes anticipated by the proposal;
  7.  Capacity of the College to cover the applicant's responsibilities.

Applicants must include a narrative proposal and a letter of recommendation by their supervisor. In conjunction with the supervisor, the applicant must develop a plan that details replacement/coverage and anticipated costs.

No more than a total of six quarters will be approved for the administrative/professional staff in a fiscal year under normal circumstances. The granting of sabbatical leave is discretionary. Approval may depend on the availability of resources and the viability of options for coverage.

Sabbatical recipients must provide the College President with a narrative report that includes the activities and outcomes achieved during the leave within sixty days after their return. The report must indicate how the sabbatical benefited the College and advanced the individual's professional development.

Prior to beginning sabbatical leave, the recipient shall be required to sign an agreement with the Board of Trustees or their designee, providing that the recipient shall return to active employment at the College following sabbatical for a time equivalent to the sabbatical period, and agreeing to repay the College in the event the recipient fails to comply with the terms of the written agreement. All sabbatical leaves shall be consistent with the requirements of RCW 28B.10.650 as now written or later amended.


Should a sabbatical leave be ended by the death of the employee, the estate will not be held liable for the salary paid. Should an individual become disabled (and thus, prevented from achieving the expectations of a productive sabbatical) for a substantial period of time during the leave due to illness or injury, the individual will be paid sick leave under the terms of the state regulations for sick leave. ___________________________________________________________________________

Authority: Executive Staff
Adopted: February 2003
Revised: September 2006