Humanities and Social Sciences encourages all faculty to seek external fellowship funding to support their scholarship.
Such funding both supports scholarship and signals to the scholarly community that the faculty member is doing important and valuable work in their field. A faculty member’s application for a fellowship, and acceptance of it should it be awarded, raises important questions about matters such as benefits and scholarly reassignments.
Humanities and Social Sciences treats fellowship funding differently than grant funding for several reasons. The most important reason for this is that fellowship monies are typically paid directly to a faculty member, rather than run through the University. At the same time, acceptance of a fellowship may require institutional commitment of resources that cannot be made by an individual faculty member or department head. These commitments are instead made at the college or university level as appropriate.
Effective immediately, faculty applying for fellowship funding are required to follow these steps:
- Discuss fellowship opportunities for which they might apply with their Department Head and seek Department Head permission to proceed.
- The Department Head approves or denies the request to prepare and submit the fellowship application based on timing of fellowship, course schedules, and overall departmental financial status.
- If approval is received from Department Head, faculty should contact the College Research Office for assistance with the submission.
- At the time of submitting the fellowship application, faculty must also complete a Scholarly Reassignment request. It is understood that if the Scholarly Reassignment is approved by Humanities and Social Sciences, this approval is contingent on obtaining the fellowship. This means that if the faculty member is not due for a scholarly reassignment on the seven-year cycle, and the fellowship is not awarded, the faculty member will not be able to take the scholarly reassignment. If the faculty member is due for a scholarly reassignment regardless of the outcome, then the leave will be approved, although the terms of the leave may change.
- If the fellowship is awarded, faculty are responsible for working with the university’s benefits office to understand the implications of the fellowship for benefits, including but not limited to retirement contributions and health insurance.
Many fellowships may offer pay greater than a faculty member’s current salary. In cases where the fellowship is prestigious, the dean may, under university policy approve a waiver of the cap on salary. When the award of a fellowship will yield annual compensation from the fellowship and university salary greater than the current salary, the Department Head will submit to the Associate Dean for Research and Engagement a memo explaining the prestige of the fellowship and the reasons why exceeding the salary cap is justified. The Associate Dean will review this memo and make a recommendation to the Dean.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can fellowship payments be made through the university?
It is college policy that fellowship payments will be made directly to the individual unless the sponsor requires that they be paid through the university. In cases where the scholar has the choice to accept the funds through the university, or directly, the scholar should choose to accept payments directly.
If a scholar has extenuating circumstances and with pre-approval from the Research Office prior to the submission of the application, funds may be routed through the University. The scholar and Department Head must understand that taking funds into the University may cause the College and the department to incur costs above 50% of scholar’s salary and/or costs that are not allowable on state appropriations. If pre-approval is not explicitly granted, funds must be accepted directly by the scholar.
Can I keep my benefits while on scholarly reassignment?
Yes. Per regulation 05.20.24, “The University will continue making the employer paid contributions for retirement [Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) and the Optional Retirement Program (ORP)] and health insurance [options provided under the State’s health insurance program] for faculty members participating in a scholarly reassignment with full or partial pay.” You are encouraged to meet with your Benefits Counselor to discuss your individual situation. You can find out who your counselor is here.
If I am on scholarly reassignment for one academic year and my fellowship is less than 50% of my annual salary, how much will the university pay me?
Per regulation 05.20.24, the University can pay no more than 50% of your salary while on a Scholarly Reassignment for one academic year.
If I am on scholarly reassignment for one academic year and my fellowship is more than 50% of my salary, can I accept it?
With sponsor and Dean approval, you can accept more than 50% of your annual salary directly from the fellowship sponsor. See the process described above.
What is the policy regarding smaller fellowships, such as short-term travel fellowships, short-term visits to academic institutions, and the like?
It is possible that a fellowship, scholarship, or similar award that is not intended to pay salary may be routed through the university, if required by the sponsor. If you choose to do this, you should seek advice from a qualified accountant or tax preparer to see whether there are any income tax implications.