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.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has greatly disrupted institutions of higher education, and Middlebury is no exception.  The on-going impact of the pandemic may necessitate revisions of these guidelines in the months ahead.

1.   As part of your online leave application [go/leave-appl] due on August 1, you must include your plans for seeking outside funding.  In this plan you should identify the external sources to which you plan to apply (or other efforts to seek support).  There is a separate section for you to identify the funding sources you considered applying for but did not ultimately pursue, along with an explanation for why those sources were not relevant to your work while on leave.  In a third section, you must explain how this plan satisfies the requirement to exhaust all sources.  This information is essential to understanding your preparation for leave and determining the College’s level of support.  It is in your best interest to provide it fully.  

You are expected to apply to all external funding sources that are suitable to your project, paying particular attention to those sources that may cover salary and/or provide financial support for relocation costs. As you imagine your upcoming leave and the steps you need to take to get there, please remember that you should seek grants that fit your project, your needs, and your situation. You are not required to alter your leave project(s) to make yourself more fundable or to relocate in order to avail yourself of a grant opportunity. It may be the case that a particular leave project may not be fundable for legitimate reasons. In such cases, you must document your efforts to find outside funding and to make arrangements that support your work in some way while on leave.  Please be sure to explain why some sources may appear appropriate but are not (e.g., specific terms of special funding applications make you 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 you have fulfilled your obligations under the leave program, the Dean for Faculty Development & Research (DFDR) will consider all efforts to secure support, which may include securing leave salary, affiliations with research institutions, publishing contracts, travel funding, or grants for research expenses. The College will increase its commitment to “up to 80%” of your salary if you demonstrate in your completed plan an exhaustive approach to grant-seeking. After you have submitted your leave application in August, you are expected to submit updated or revised plans for seeking outside funding during the fall and spring as new information becomes available or as your leave plan changes.

Requests by faculty for shifting duration of their leaves (from a full-year leave to a half-year leave and vice versa) will be considered up to the start of the January term in 2022.

2.   Applications to funding sources should make clear that the College guarantees support at 55% of salary for full-year leaves and 75% for semester plus Winter Term leaves. Note: A split leave is treated as a full-year leave. College support is the same there as for a full-year leave.  When you 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, Nick Brightman, or Chuck Mason in the Office of Grants and Sponsored Research (OGSP) 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 complete the Grant Proposal Endorsement and Tracking Form (PET) online process prior to submitting their proposals. Contact the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs for details about the PET form, and allow two weeks before your grant deadline to complete the process. Approval  requirements for the PET process may be waived or modified by the DFDR or Grants and Sponsored Programs office depending on the circumstances. The approval of the department chair 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. 

Leave Support Notification Form: If you submit funding proposals to sources that, if successful, will send funds directly to you, you 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 proposalIt is not necessary to include a copy of the proposal.  (This form is not required when you submit proposals that require the PET Form; OGSP provides appropriate documentation to the DFDR after all required approvals have been obtained.) This step provides proof that you have followed through on the promises made in your leave plan and is necessary in determining what financial support the College will provide during your leave.

4.  Once you have submitted grant proposals to all the sources listed in your plan for seeking outside funding and the DFDR receives confirmation that the applications have indeed been submitted (with the Leave Support Notification Form, PLUS a copy of the grant proposal cover sheet or the e-mail confirmation receipt, or PET form), you become eligible for maximum College funding; actual College funding for leaves will be determined after the results of all grant applications are known. Please do not forget the confirmation step; it could delay your approval for funded leave.  For any possible increase in College funding (beyond the guaranteed minimums), 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.  When allowed by a funding source, grants awarded directly to you may be deposited with the College in order to facilitate paying retirement plan benefits on up to 80% of faculty salary, if fringe benefits are reimbursed.

Should you 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 you and the 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 go/facultyleaves

Academic Administration
Old Chapel
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753