Grant Seeking Guidelines

Middlebury’s generous leave program was approved by the Board of Trustees in 1994 with the provision that faculty would make every effort to obtain funding for salary and travel expenses from external sources. The leave program requires faculty to “exhaust” all sources appropriate to their project. The somewhat arbitrary guideline used to determine whether the faculty member has made every effort to do so is a minimum of three sources, which may include support for salary, research expenses, and travel. Obviously, some projects are not fundable, so the minimum requirement of three can be waived* by the DFDR. The guidelines for the leave program are below.


1.   As part of the leave application due on August 1, the faculty member will prepare a plan for seeking outside funding. This plan should include a list of external sources that appear suitable for funding the project, and indicate those for which he/she plans to apply. Faculty are expected to apply to any such external sources for which they are eligible, with particular attention to those sources that may cover salary and/or provide support for relocation costs.  

Faculty should seek grants that fit their projects, their needs, and their situations.  They are not required to alter their leave project(s) to make them more fundable nor to relocate in order to avail themselves of a grant opportunity. It may be the case that a particular leave project may not be fundable for legitimate reasons. *In such cases, the faculty member must document his/her efforts to find outside funding and to make arrangements that support his/her work in some way while on leave. The faculty member may need to explain why some sources appear appropriate but are not (e.g., ineligible, residency is required where you don't want to reside, the agency does not fund your type of project, etc.), or to explain what arrangements have been made relating to the leave project (e.g., invitations from potential host institutions, outlines for books or initial contacts with publishers, etc.). In determining whether faculty have fulfilled their obligations under the leave program, the dean for faculty development & research (DFDR) will consider allefforts to secure support, which may include leave salary, affiliations, publishing contracts, travel funding, or grants for research expenses. The plan for seeking outside funding forms the basis for determining whether all external funding sources have been "exhausted" at which time, the College increases its commitment to “up to 80%” of salary. Faculty are expected to submit updated or revised plans for seeking outside funding during the fall and spring as new information becomes available or their leave plans change.

2.   Grant applications should make clear that the College guarantees support at 55% of salary for full-year leaves and 75% for semester plus Winter Term leaves.  When faculty apply for grants it is appropriate to advise the sponsor that the College leave policy guarantees the minimum amounts indicated above.  Faculty on full year leaves should make every effort to apply for grants that could fund up to 45% of salary. Faculty who apply for grants to fund a portion of their approved leave period may pro-rate their funding requests accordingly.  Contact Franci Farnsworth, Liz Haney, or Chuck Mason for assistance in budgeting for grants.

3.   Faculty submitting grant proposals to sources that will provide the funding directly to the College or to sources that require the signature of a College officer on the application must follow normal College procedures and circulate a Grant Proposal Endorsement Form, prior to submitting their proposals. Contact the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs (OGSP) for details about the endorsement process, and allow two weeks before your grant deadline to obtain the necessary signatures. Signature requirements for this form may be waived or modified by the DFDR or Grants and Sponsored Programs office depending on the circumstances. The signature of the department certifies that the proposed project is consistent with departmental and College research objectives and policy, that space and facilities to enable positive research outcomes are available, and that the individual initiating the proposal and such other personnel as may be required will be available without interference with their academic duties and will be able to perform the research effectively.  E-mail signatures are acceptable.

Leave Support Notification Form: Faculty submitting proposals to sources that, if successful, will send funds directly to them, must complete the leave support notification form (available on the Academic Affairs website at go/researchleaves) and send it to the DFDR with a copy of the proposal’s cover sheet or an electronic receipt for the proposal.  It is not necessary to include a copy of the proposal.  (This form is not required when faculty submit proposals that require the Grant Proposal Endorsement Form; OGSP provides a copy of that form to the DFDR after all required signatures have been obtained.)

4.   Once a faculty member has submitted grant proposals to all the sources listed in his/her plan for seeking outside funding and the DFDR receives confirmation that the applications have indeed been submitted (with the Leave Support Notification Form, along with a copy of the grant proposal cover sheet or the e-mail confirmation receipt, or Grant Proposal Endorsement Form), he/she becomes eligible for maximum College funding; actual College funding for leaves will be determined after the results of all grant applications are known. For any possible increase in College funding, it is important to send to the DFDR a copy of the approved budget from the grantor as soon as it is received.

Please note:  Per IRS rules, the College will provide retirement benefits (i.e., contributions to the retirement plan) only on the portion of salary paid through the College payroll.  That is, if you will receive 80% of your salary for the year you are on leave, retirement benefits will be calculated on that amount.  If you have been awarded a grant that provides supplemental salary and includes reimbursement for “fringe benefits” and the funds are disbursed through the College payroll, you will receive retirement benefits on the total amount of salary you receive.  If however, a supplemental grant you receive does not include reimbursement for “fringe benefits” and the funds are disbursed through the College payroll, your retirement benefits will be calculated on the salary portion promised by Middlebury.  In the same way, if you have received a grant and the funds are paid directly to you, no retirement benefits will be provided by Middlebury on those funds.

Should the faculty member be awarded a grant for salary in excess of 20% of base, the amount of the College’s contribution (normally 80%) is reduced to offset the salary budget. That amount is negotiated between the faculty member and dean of faculty, after consideration of summer salary support and/or research expenses.

More information about the Leave Program is available on the web at

Academic Administration
Old Chapel
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753