SP 3-65b – Staff Sabbatical Plan and Report

Colorado Community College System / System Procedure

SP 3-65b

APPROVED: March 13, 2024
EFFECTIVE: March 13, 2024

REFERENCE(S): Board Policy (BP) 3-10, Administration of Personnel; Board Policy (BP) 3-65, Professional Development and Sabbatical Leave; C.R.S. § 23-5-123


/ Joseph Garcia /
Joseph A. Garcia, Chancellor


This procedure applies to full-time administrators, professional, and technical staff (APT), as defined in BP 3-10, within the Colorado Community College System, including its Colleges (CCCS or System).


This procedure establishes staff sabbatical leave procedures in accordance with BP 3-65. Sabbatical leave is a privilege, rather than a right, and subject to availability of resources.


Sabbatical leave is for the purpose of encouraging full-time APT employees who have completed six consecutive years of service within CCCS, to develop skills and abilities which will be of significant benefit to the employee, and which results in adding value to the System and its mission.

The Chancellor and College Presidents shall develop processes and guidelines for their employees, to ensure implementation with this procedure.

Sabbatical Plan and Report:

  • The College and System Office are responsible for developing a documented process outlining the requirements for the sabbatical plan, the timeline for submission, review and approval of the plan by the Chancellor or College President, and submission of approved plans to the System Office for final approval. Proposed sabbatical plans should include the following:
    • How the sabbatical will impact the employee’s professional growth.
    • How the sabbatical will enhance the College’s or System’s role and mission, including its educational mission.
    • How the sabbatical meets and forwards State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (Board) priorities, the CCCS Strategic Plan, and/or the College strategic plan.
    • How the sabbatical will increase the overall level of knowledge in the employee’s profession.
  • An employee requesting a sabbatical leave must submit a sabbatical plan to the Chancellor or College President describing the activity they wish to pursue during the sabbatical. The request must be submitted at least six months in advance of the planned sabbatical.
  • The Chancellor may delegate the authority to provide final approval of APT sabbatical plans.
  • The Chancellor or their designee shall communicate the plan approval to the Board.
  • Sabbatical leave may be granted to full-time APT employees at any time after completion of at least six consecutive full-time (including approved paid leave) years of employment in regular positions (e.g., in the seventh year). To be eligible, the employee must be in good performance standing in each of the three years preceding a sabbatical.
  • An employee who has completed sabbatical leave is not eligible to be approved for additional sabbatical leave until after returning from the previous sabbatical and completing at least six consecutive full-time (including approved paid leave) years of employment in full-time positions.
  • An employee salary for an approved sabbatical will be at full pay plus any elected benefits for a six-month sabbatical or half pay plus any elected benefits for a one-year sabbatical. An employee must continue to pay the employee share of benefits while on sabbatical in order to maintain elected benefits. PERA contributions will continue to be made when on sabbatical. If an employee’s monthly salary falls below 80 times the federal minimum wage hourly rate, they will have the option to purchase PERA service credit to equal the amount they would have earned with a full salary. When receiving full PERA service credit, no purchase is allowed.
  • Employees granted sabbatical will have the sabbatical listed as part of their performance evaluation goals. The employee’s performance during the sabbatical and/or quality of the sabbatical report will be part of the performance rating for the year.
  • All work created by an employee during a sabbatical is subject to BP 3-90, Copyrights and Patents.
  • Should the sabbatical plan need to be revised mid-sabbatical, the employee must submit their revisions to the Chancellor or their College President for approval. If such circumstances involve a personal or family illness, sick leave may be substituted for the sabbatical and, in such case, the employee’s records will reflect the appropriate leave taken.
  • Upon completion of the sabbatical and during the first three months after returning to regular duties, the employee shall submit a final sabbatical report to their College President and/or to the Chancellor or their designee, who will provide an annual report to the Board.
  • The employee must also share their sabbatical results with their colleagues or within CCCS and may, upon request, present their report to the Board. Both the plan for the sabbatical and the post-sabbatical report shall be public documents and will be made available on the CCCS website.
  • The employee must work at least one full year within CCCS after returning from sabbatical. The employee will be required to repay the salary and benefits cost of their time on sabbatical should they not complete their approved sabbatical plan or leave CCCS before working one full year after returning from sabbatical. The Chancellor or College President may make exceptions to this based on individual circumstances. Restitution will not be required in the case of an employee who is approved for disability benefits, reduced in force, or dismissed, or in the case of death of an employee while on sabbatical leave or within the first year after return from such leave.

Types of Sabbaticals:
A sabbatical provides the opportunity to engage in a different type of work that both develops one professionally and re-energizes one to return to regular work duties. Sabbaticals do not include “time off” using accrued leave or leaving CCCS to work as an employee of another entity with an intent to return to CCCS at some time in the future. Sabbaticals are a defined period of time to complete goals too complex to be completed with a full or even reduced work schedule.

Typical sabbatical undertakings include, but are not limited to, the categories listed below and as further defined in Appendix A:

  • Research and Publication
  • Professional Creative Work
  • Curriculum Development
  • Professional Development
  • Profession Relevancy

Revising this Procedure

CCCS reserves the right to change any provision or requirement of this procedure at any time and the change shall become effective immediately. If changes are made to this procedure, any employee on approved sabbatical leave will fulfill the requirements of the sabbatical based on the procedure in effect at the time their sabbatical plan was approved.



Research and Publication:
Employees hone research skills so that they can better share these skills with colleagues and/or students when the employee returns to the System. Information literacy and the ability to find information, the ability to discern between reliable information and unreliable information, to synthesize information, and to create new knowledge concerning important skills that today’s employers are seeking.

Professional Creative Work:
Employees pursue writing a significant body of work that contributes to the employee’s field for publication or significant showing.

Curriculum Development:
Employees dedicate time to develop and modify curriculum. Curriculum development requires updating (or developing) outcomes to match both discipline standards and employer needs, determining the skills necessary for students to achieve learner outcomes, determining the activities that will introduce the skills, determining the activities that will reinforce the skills, and determining how to assess student competencies in the skills. Dedicated time for an employee to effectively focus on curriculum can ensure that curriculum meets current needs and eases the process of assessing student learning. Given the current emphasis on assessment by accrediting bodies, having time to ensure that curriculum supports these demands for assessment is critical. Additionally, there is a current emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and employees are encouraged to reinforce these principles in curriculum development.

Professional Development:
Employees take the opportunity to develop emerging skills, including diversity, equity, and inclusion, and attain more industry specific education so the employee can better support students, colleagues, and/or operations. Further, life-long learning is a skill that CCCS values. Professional development can also help the System by using internal talent to meet needs, rather than hiring external consultants or creating new positions.

Profession Relevancy:
Employees may engage in activities to stay current in their profession so that knowledge, expertise, and approach to their position responsibilities remain relevant.