Professional Development and Scholarship Support

At the heart of an academic community lives an energetic and active faculty. Eastern Mennonite is home to an accomplished faculty, one that values teaching, various forms of scholarship, community service, international understanding, contribution to the church and personal accomplishments. To nurture and sustain the faculty as a growing resource, Eastern Mennonite is committed to faculty professional improvement. In addition, faculty are expected to take initiative in promoting their own growth as persons of faith, as teachers, scholars and, especially in professional programs, practitioners.

New faculty mentoring

New faculty participate in an orientation and mentoring program with experienced faculty. The orientation will focus on the Anabaptist tradition, higher education and pedagogy.

Professional Development Funds

Professional Memberships, Meetings and Conferences

EMU recognizes the value to faculty of belonging to professional societies and participating in scholarly societies and organizations through attendance and presentations at national and regional meetings in their academic field.  EMU encourages EMU faculty* to join a professional society and to attend and present their scholarly work at a national or regional meeting. To enable faculty to do this, EMU provides $1000 for professional memberships or conferences of the faculty member’s choosing. EMU will provide an additional $300.00 if the EMU faculty* member is on the official program. These monies are available for both memberships and/or conferences.

Policy & Procedure - Provost's Office Professional Development Funds

Faculty Professional Development Fund Disbursement Request form

*EMU faculty are full- or part-time faculty who hold tenure-track or continuing three-year faculty positions.

Professional Development Reporting

Annually faculty are asked to report on their professional development activities by updating their personnel page on EMU’s website and completing a goals report in which they evaluate goals for the past year and set new goals for the next year. Faculty on one-three-and six-year tenure-track contracts, and one-two- or three- year continuing contracts are to complete the Annual Professional Development Goals report when prompted by the dean's office each spring. The completion of this form and formative review meeting with the dean is to take place by either May 31 or August 31. Note: this evaluation is not complete until the dean meets with the faculty member to review.  After the APDG meeting a copy will be submitted to the provost’s office for filing in the faculty member’s personnel file.

Annual Professional Development Reports-Goals form

Leaves of Absence

EMU tenure-track faculty are eligible for a leave of absence without pay. Leaves of absence are designed to contribute to the faculty member’s future contribution to EMU through opportunities for professional development. These include advanced study, research, writing or other scholarly activities, as well as intercultural experiences and church-related assignments.

Faculty requests for a leave of absence are submitted in writing to the program director, who recommends the leave to the respective dean for approval in consultation with the provost. Leaves of absence are generally granted for one year but may be longer in certain cases (see below). If a non-sabbatical leave exceeds three years, the dean and provost may consider withdrawal of tenured or tenure-track faculty status. Years on leave do not count toward sabbatical or contract years.

A. Intercultural/Service Assignments:

Faculty are encouraged to accept mission and service assignments, though they may not necessarily be directly related to the teaching assignment at the institution and thus do not meet the criteria for a sabbatical. Therefore, requests for a leave of absence for a church-related assignment, particularly in a intercultural setting, will be given strong consideration when such a leave can be arranged for the mutual benefit of the faculty member, the institution and the church agency.

It is recognized that such non-funded leaves may need to be arranged for more than one year to accommodate the needs of the mission or service agency.

B. Doctoral Study:

A high priority will be given to faculty who request a leave of absence for completing the doctorate. Grant and loan funds are available to faculty for such study. See Loan and Teaching Fellowship Policy. In addition, every attempt will be made by the institution to assist the faculty member in securing grants, fellowships or assistantships to make such a leave possible.

Leave of Absence Request Procedures

  • The applicant submits a letter of request to the program director, or seminary dean by September 15. The letter of request includes activities to be pursued and how EMU responsibilities will be covered.
  • If the program director approves the request, s/he submits a letter of recommendation, along with the applicant’s letter, to the dean by October 1.
  • The dean approves or denies the request in consultation with the provost. The dean notifies the director of human resources of the leave.

Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarly activity animates a university community of learners. Faculty frequently best exemplify creativity, innovation and excellence through their scholarly achievements. Eastern Mennonite University, while first and foremost an institution dedicated to superior teaching and learning, recognizes the vital contribution scholarly pursuits make to its educational mission. For this reason, EMU provides opportunities to tenure-track and other three-year contract faculty for the purposes of encouraging original scholarship. 

Scholarship Release-time funds are made available through the academic dean’s office operating budget and an endowment. The operating budget supports 24 semester hours annually, and the endowment supports 9 semester hours annually; the latter hours are intended to rotate among the undergraduate departments. Teaching faculty and professional librarians on long-term contracts are eligible to apply for up to six semester hours of release-time from normal teaching assignments for the purposes of pursuing original scholarship (research and publication, performance or creative production). To apply, complete the Faculty Release Time for Scholarship Grant proposal. 

Hertzler-Koshy Faculty Fellowship Program aims to advance projects that integrate and infuse diversity into the curriculum with a specific focus on race, ethnicity, and gender content in the curricula. Undergraduate and graduate faculty may receive up to 3 semester hours release-time and $500 mini-grant for either the Fall or Spring terms.

Contact the office of diversity, equity and inclusion for more information. Faculty Fellowship Grant Overview

Mini-grants are awarded to tenure-track undergraduate faculty for scholarly work in a discipline that extends beyond the normal scope of teaching responsibilities. Course revisions, curriculum development, and normal faculty development such as a workshop or conference attendance are excluded. Faculty applying for Mini-grants are asked to address the significance of the project to the profession, the institution, the church and the community/public. To apply, complete the Mini-grant Application

Summer Teaching and Summer Research Grants are available to any faculty member or professional educator. EMU encourages faculty to continually refresh their pedagogy and course content, whether the purpose is to include more diversity, use new technology, reach student populations more effectively or develop new courses (just to name some examples.) Faculty and students alike benefit from fresh ideas and approaches. To apply, complete the Summer Teaching Grant Application or Summer Research Grant Application.

The Faculty Scholarship Committee awards the approved release-time and grants. For more information contact the provost's office.

Approved by Provost’s Council, November 29, 2022

Responsible party

The provost is responsible for this policy.

Policy Review

This policy is to be reviewed every three years.


Employee Handbook