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 three-and six-year contracts are requested to submit copies of these documents to the program director, as well as to the provost’s office for filing in the faculty member’s personnel file. Faculty on one-year contracts should submit copies to the dean and the provost. Departments/clusters are encouraged to review these documents as a team in order to consider how individual faculty contribute to the goals of the department/cluster as a whole.

Faculty on one-and three- and six-year contracts are expected to meet annually with the program directors to review their annual professional development report and goals. This meeting is to take place by August 31.

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 cross-cultural 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. Cross-cultural/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 cross-cultural 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 faculty for the purposes of encouraging original scholarship.

For graduate and seminary faculty time for scholarship is included in the workload.

Two options are available for undergraduate tenure-track faculty: release-time and mini-grants. Release-time funds are made available through the undergraduate 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). For more information see the Faculty Release Time Application or request a Faculty Release Time for Scholarship form from the undergraduate academic dean’s office.

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. For more information see Mini Grant Application form or request an application form  from the undergraduate academic dean’s office.

Two kinds of summer grants are available to tenure-track faculty, one for original research and the other for teaching. The summer teaching grants are available to graduate and seminary faculty as well as undergraduate faculty. Summer research grants are available only to undergraduate faculty. 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. For more information on the summer research grant or teaching grant contact the undergraduate academic dean’s office. The Faculty Scholarship Committee awards undergraduate release time and grants.