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COVID Post Pandemic Programs FAQ

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Originally published: Monday, March 1, 2021
Revised: Monday, March 2, 2021

In an email to Stanford faculty on February 11, 2021, Provost Persis Drell announced two new programs to provide additional support for current faculty to help mitigate the disruptions to faculty research programs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic: the Post-Pandemic Research Quarter for junior rank faculty members, and an additional three sabbatical credits to those senior rank faculty members eligible to accrue sabbatical.

Post-Pandemic Research Quarter

What is the Post-Pandemic Research Quarter?

One new program, the Post-Pandemic Research Quarter, will allow most untenured faculty members to take a quarter of relief from teaching and service obligations in order to focus on their research and (for faculty in the tenure line) prepare for tenure review.

The Post-Pandemic Research Quarter is not a sabbatical or a leave. Faculty will still be “on service” during the quarter but will be released from their usual teaching/service duties.

The Post-Pandemic Research Quarter is also distinct from existing junior faculty research leave programs in certain schools; participating in those programs does not affect eligibility for the Post-Pandemic Research Quarter.

Who is eligible?

Junior faculty (Assistant Professors and untenured Associate Professors) in the University Tenure Line who will not have received tenure before September 1, 2021 can take this research quarter in the 2021-22 academic year or in subsequent years prior to tenure. Eligibility is limited to those whose tenure review process has not already begun and who are not on terminal year appointments.

The Post-Pandemic Research Quarter is also available to Assistant Professors in the Non-Tenure Lines: Non-Tenure Line (Research) and Non-Tenure Line (Teaching). A similar program for Medical Center Line faculty will be announced by the School of Medicine.

Is the Post-Pandemic Research Quarter automatic?

Yes. The quarter is available to all eligible junior rank faculty members. Faculty who wish to take the quarter should work with their department/school to determine a mutually agreed upon optimal time so as to minimize negative effects on teaching and other programmatic needs. Taking the Post-Pandemic Research Quarter is optional. No action is required to opt out. 

If a faculty member decides not to take the research quarter, what other programs may help them address the pandemic’s challenges to their research?

Junior faculty are already granted (on an opt-out basis) an automatic extension of the tenure clock or appointment clock. In addition, junior rank faculty members who are unable to take or who elect not to take the Post-Pandemic Research Quarter may be eligible for additional sabbatical credit accrual as also announced in the Provost’s February 11, 2021 message (see below). Departments and Schools should therefore track those faculty who do not take the quarter so as to credit them with the additional sabbatical accrual.

Additional Three Sabbatical Credit Accrual

What is Covid-19 Additional Sabbatical Credit Accrual?

The Provost also announced, in her email of February 11, 2021, that senior faculty would be given an additional three units of sabbatical credit accrual in AY 2021-22 to help mitigate disruptions to their research programs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

How does the program work?

All current senior rank Academic Council faculty members (University Tenure Line, Non-Tenure Research Line, Non-Tenure Teaching Line, and Senior Fellows at designated policy institutes) who are eligible for sabbatical will automatically receive an additional three sabbatical credits to their 2021-22 academic year sabbatical credit accrual. A similar program for Medical Center Line faculty will be announced separately by the School of Medicine. Faculty on 12-month appointments, who accrue sabbatical credits differently, will receive an additional 12 service months toward their accrual. Credits will be adjusted based on percent FTE.

Senior rank in the University Tenure Line is defined as faculty members who have received tenure (and who are not on a fixed term or terminal year reappointment); in the Non-Tenure parenthetical lines, senior rank is defined as faculty at the Associate Professor or full Professor rank.

These credits may be used when a faculty member goes out on an approved sabbatical. As always, faculty members are encouraged to work closely with their departments/schools to determine an optimal time for going out on sabbatical that will minimize disruptions to teaching and other programmatic needs. In weighing departmental/school needs against faculty requests for sabbatical, priority will be given to junior faculty taking the Post-Pandemic Research Quarter described above.

Will faculty who have reached the cap on maximum sabbatical accrual also receive these three credits?

Exceeding the cap on sabbatical credit accrual is allowed only by Provostial exception via a request from the Dean. The Provost will consider all requests to exceed the cap that may result from the conferral of the three additional credits.

What about faculty new to Stanford in the 2020-21 academic year?

Faculty who began their appointments at Stanford on or before September 1, 2020 and meet other eligibility requirements participate fully in the program. Faculty whose appointments began after September 1, 2020, will receive a pro-rata accrual based on the number of quarters they have been on the faculty at Stanford.

Do these credits differ from ordinary sabbatical credits, and do they need to be taken at a particular time in relation to other credits?

The additional three credits are treated like other sabbatical credits and accrue to a faculty member’s sabbatical credit total.  Thus, there is no distinction between these credits and accrued sabbatical credits.

If a senior rank faculty member was on Leave without Salary for the 2020-21 academic year or even for just one quarter, would they still get the 3 sabbatical units?

Yes. Sabbatical is different from Leave Without Salary. As always, faculty should work closely with their department/school to determine the optimal time for sabbatical and should be aware of University policies placing limitations on leaves (Chapter 3.1 of the Faculty Handbook).

The Provost’s announcement indicates that junior rank faculty who do not take the Post-Pandemic Research Quarter may be eligible for the three additional sabbatical credits. How does this work?

For logistical reasons or due to impending tenure or promotion decisions, not all junior rank faculty may be able to take the Post-Pandemic Research Quarter. If the Post-Pandemic Research Quarter has not been used by an eligible faculty member by the time of tenure or promotion review, the three additional sabbatical credits will be made available to those faculty members following a successful tenure or promotion decision. Schools should track those eligible faculty members who do not take the Post-Pandemic Research Quarter and credit them with the three additional sabbatical credits upon successful tenure or promotion review.


Who can I contact if I have questions about my individual situation?

Faculty members are encouraged to contact their Faculty Affairs Administrator, Chair or Dean’s Office for questions about their individual circumstances. For general questions about the programs, please contact the Provost’s Office of Faculty Affairs at