Faculty Development Leave

This page provides an overview of UT’s Faculty Development Leave (UT-FDL) program which provides tenured faculty members with paid leave from teaching and service responsibilities to allow them to focus on research, scholarship, and creative endeavors. At other universities, this type of leave is commonly called a “sabbatical.”

Full details about the UT-FDL program can be found in UT’s FDL Guidelines. And each College/School can have their own additional Guidelines with relevant links listed on the righthand panel of this webpage.

The duration of an FDL may either be:

  • Full-time for one semester in either the fall or spring terms, or
  • Half-time during each term during the nine-month long session

The application process for UT-FDLs opens at the start of the fall semester of one academic year for UT-FDLs starting in the following academic year. Decisions about UT-FDL applications will be made before the end of the fall semester for UT-FDLs starting the following academic year. Important dates include:

  • Friday, September 1, 2023 – FDL Information Session at 9 a.m.
    Join Zoom Meeting
    Meeting ID: 952 2572 8743
  • Tuesday, September 5, 2023 – Application Opens
  • Tuesday, October 3, 2023 – Application site closes at 5 p.m. CDT
  • Monday, December 18, 2023 – Decision notifications
    1. Faculty must be tenured at UT Austin when they apply for and have a UT-FDL.
    2. At the start of the UT-FDL, the faculty member must have already completed at least six full academic years employed as a full-time faculty member by UT Austin, with the six years including at least two full academic years of consecutive full-time service at UT Austin and received no other FDLs during that six-year period. (See  UT’s FDL Guidelines for further details and examples).
    3. Faculty must have a demonstrated record of and trajectory for continuing excellence in their research, scholarship and creative endeavors as defined by their college/school.

Participating Colleges/Schools
Several Colleges/Schools offer their own faculty development leaves and thus are not participating in the UT-FDL program. Faculty whose primary appointment is in the School of Law, the McCombs School of Business and the Dell Medical School are not eligible to participate in the UT-FDL program. Faculty with joint appointments in more than one college/school (CSU) are eligible for a UT-FDL through their primary CSU if their primary CSU is participating in the program.

Application Overview

Applicants must

  • Verify that they meet the eligibility criteria before compiling application materials.
  • Have received approval from their supervisor in support of the timing (fall or spring or half-time across both terms and the relevant academic year) and content of their FDL proposal before submitting their UT-FDL application materials for review.
  • Submit required application materials (including EVPP required materials and any CSU-specific materials) through the EVPP portal before the deadline expires. Extensions to the stated deadline will not be granted.

Application Materials

The application materials will be gathered using a centrally hosted system and require inclusion of:

  • Short CV (not longer than 4 pages),
  • UT-FDL Proposal that includes:
    • Abstract (100 words maximum) that briefly summarizes the purpose of the proposed UT-FDL. The Abstract should not use unnecessary acronyms and should include the following information:
      • The location where the faculty member will engage in the UT-FDL activities.
      • Research, scholarship, and creative endeavors that will occur during the UT-FDL.
      • Benefits and anticipated impact of the UT-FDL on the
        • Faculty member’s professional development with regard to their research / scholarly / creative endeavors, and on the
        • Faculty member’s department, college/school and the university.
    • Leave Proposal (not longer than 2,000 words) that describes and justifies the proposed research, scholarship and creative endeavors and the need for the UT-FDL, the location where the faculty will do the work during the UT-FDL, which type of UT-FDL is requested (full-time for one  term or half-time in each of two  terms), details about the planned leave activities and how the leave activities will contribute to the further development of the candidate’s research/scholarship/creative endeavors.
    • Bibliography (optional, not longer than two pages)
    • CSU-Specific Materials and Prompts
    • Letter of invitation required only if the UT-FDL is to be hosted elsewhere (e.g., national lab, another institution of higher education, etc.).

College/Schools’ UT-FDL Review Processes

Texas Education Code requires that FDL applications be reviewed by a committee that includes elected members. Each College/School (CSU) UT-FDL Review Committee must therefore include elected members. The CSU’s UT-FDL Review Committee makes recommendations to the relevant CSU’s dean and the provost to whom the president has delegated the chief administrative officer’s authority for the purpose of FDL approval. See CSU-specific Guidelines for details about their review committee’s process and procedures. 

Unbiased Review

The reviews and recommendations must not be positively or negatively influenced by a candidate’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), age, disability, citizenship, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The Provost’s Office should be consulted if any reviewer expresses a favorable or unfavorable recommendation that could have the appearance of being influenced by any of these immutable characteristics (e.g., a reviewer states a need for more FDLs to be offered to professors of a particular race, gender, etc.).

Return Obligation Requirement

Upon completion of any FDL, the faculty member has a return obligation such that they must either

  • Return to work at UT Austin for the fall and spring terms following conclusion of the FDL, or
  • Repay UT Austin for all the costs of the FDL (the total compensation including fringe benefits). 

UT-FDL Award Reports

Upon completion of the UT-FDL and by the conclusion of the first term (fall or spring) after the FDL has ended, the faculty member must submit a report documenting FDL activities and products, the impact of the FDL on the faculty member’s professional development and an accounting of all grants supplemental to the FDL. A failure to submit the report will make the faculty member ineligible for another FDL.

Download the FDL Award Report template (PDF).