Applications for leave other than those outlined above may be considered as applications for special unpaid leave. Applications may be considered if they meet one or both of the following criteria:
- providing academic benefit to the University
- providing a career development opportunity for the individual, hence aiding staff retention
Activities under these criteria might include visiting another institution to study specialised laboratory techniques, taking up a visiting lecturership or visiting professorship at a prestigious department abroad, an extended period of fieldwork etc.
In all cases, it is essential that the consent of the college (where appropriate) and of the department/faculty board is obtained before an application is made to the divisional board. In considering applications, colleges and departments/faculty boards must be satisfied that the proposed leave fits with their overall plans and objectives, and it must be clear that the individual's duties for the college and for the department/faculty, including examining and graduate supervision, can be covered satisfactorily. Divisional boards will consider applications both on their own merits and in the context of overall operational needs, and will not approve applications which are prejudicial to the teaching and research of the department/faculty or which are not supported by the applicant's college.
Occasionally applications are made for leave to enable an individual to accept a fixed-term appointment in another academic institution (other than routine visiting appointments held during sabbatical leave). In such instances the college and the department/faculty board would need to be satisfied that the application was in line with their overall plans and objectives, as above, and that all operational requirements could be covered satisfactorily, before the application was put to the divisional board. Applicants would normally be expected to give a commitment to return to Oxford after the period of leave. It should be noted that the longer the appointment at the other institution, the less likely it is that leave will be granted.
Leave will not be granted, except in the most truly exceptional circumstances, to enable an individual to decide whether to accept a permanent post elsewhere.
It is recognised that some offers are made to individuals at short notice. Given the fact that all members of the academic staff have clear obligations to the University and to their college under the terms of their contracts, no such offer should be accepted without the support of the college and the department/faculty and the explicit approval of the divisional board. It is essential, therefore, that any prospect of such an offer is discussed, in confidence, with the college and with the divisional registrar or faculty board secretary at the earliest opportunity so as to avoid delays, and the possibility of refusal, if a firm offer is then made at very short notice.
All applications for special unpaid leave should be made to the divisional registrar, faculty board secretary or other officer as notified locally, who will also be able to advise on the likelihood of success of any application on the university side; the college's consent in appropriate cases must be obtained before an application is put to the divisional board.
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