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External Awards Support Guidelines

October 2009


With faculty of the caliber that UT continues to attract, it is not surprising that they are increasingly recipients of national and international (external) awards and grants. Typically, these might include Fulbright Scholarships, as well as awards from the National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Academy of Education. However, the complete list of these highly visible awards is even more extensive (see the AAU listing of these awards and Appendix 2 for campus contacts for additional information). Not surprisingly, there are differences in the amount and type of financial awards, as well as restrictions on their use. Therefore, it is difficult to standardize the way in which they are managed. Having said that, it is also apparent that some guidelines would be welcomed, as both the receiving faculty members and their deans and department heads are required to deal with these gifts as well as their consequences, including the potential for costs experienced by the faculty members’ departments.

A group of faculty members (including past award winners) and administrators met to create a set of guidelines or recommendations which might be used to administer external grants and awards at UT. The following represents a set of objectives and recommendations that we consider to be best practices. The intention is that they describe the spirit of administering these awards within which specific processes can be developed to suit each unique situation.

The following objectives should be used as the foundation for administering external awards as they impact UT faculty and the greater Knoxville campus.

  • To support and encourage faculty participation in these awards and grant programs.
  • To guard against the creation of any disincentives for faculty participation, including financial, workload, and other considerations.
  • To keep the faculty members “whole” with respect to their current salary, a continuation of their benefits, and covering additional expenses that are associated with the award (e.g., travel, out of town or country living expenses, etc.).
  • To not unreasonably disadvantage the department or college to the extent that the faculty member’s participation becomes a burden, financially or otherwise.

While it may be impossible for every award to be managed in exactly the same fashion at UT, the following prescribes the ideal practice of administering external awards as a means of meeting the objectives stated above.

Professional Development Leave

To the extent that the award requires the faculty member to be away from campus for an extended period, the faculty member will be awarded professional development leave for the duration of the award period, and he/she will be subject to the terms of that policy regarding their salary from UT (e.g., one semester of leave from campus at full pay or two semesters of leave at half pay). This will occur regardless of any previous leaves for professional development that the faculty member might have been awarded by UT, as well as his/her tenure status or time of employment at UT.

Financial Compensation

The spirit of the financial compensation associated with these awards is that the faculty member’s UT salary and benefits, as well as any expenses associated with the work and/or travel done in conjunction with the award, should come from a combination of the following funding sources:

  1. the award itself,
  2. the faculty member’s current UT salary,
  3. departmental and college funds for faculty development,
  4. the Office of Research and Engagement, and
  5. the Office of the Provost.

Generally, the faculty member would receive the award monies from the sponsoring organization and the remaining funding sources listed above would be used to “top off” the faculty member’s compensation in such a way as to meet the objectives stated above. Because some financial awards are made directly to the faculty member, while others come to the institution, it is impossible to prescribe exactly how this combination of funds should be administered.

Other Financial Considerations

In the ideal, it is hoped that the amount of the financial award plus the faculty member’s UT salary should be at least sufficient to meet objective three, stated above, covering the faculty member’s compensation, benefits, and expenses. Beyond that, the following scenarios might be considered.

  • If additional funds remain after covering the faculty member’s needs, it is expected that the department and/or college should have access to those funds to compensate for expenses associated with the loss of the faculty member’s participation in his/her normal departmental activities and workload, e.g., covering the faculty member’s instructional responsibilities.
  • To the extent that the award and faculty salary exceeds the amount needed to achieve all of the objectives stated above (both faculty and departmental/college expenses), it is desirable for the department to retain any additional funds to be used in a manner that enhances professional development needs within the department. It is not expected that the faculty member should benefit financially from the award above and beyond covering his/her normal salary plus additional expenses associated with fulfillment of the award.
  • To the extent that the combination of the award and the faculty salary falls short of achieving all of the objectives stated above, it is assumed that departmental, college, and campus funds will be creatively combined to allow the faculty member to take advantage of the award without penalty to her/himself. There is no set formula for combining these funds, and in each case it will depend upon the financial abilities of the department, college, and campus at the time of the award.

Office of Research and Engagement Involvement

It is expected that each faculty recipient of these awards will be registered through the Office of Research and Engagement. Typically, this entails their completion of the Sponsored Projects Approval Routing Form (known as the “yellow form”).

Role of the Department (or Unit) Head

It is the primary responsibility of the department head to arrive at a funding solution that is satisfactory to all concerned by coordinating the funding sources noted above, as well as to compensate for any hardships that the department might encounter as a consequence of the award. It is also the responsibility of the faculty member to engage her/his department head as early as possible in the process (preferably prior to application) so that scheduling, compensation, coordinating funding sources, and a variety of factors may be agreed upon as soon as possible.

We also anticipate that UT will continue to serve as host to visiting scholars who may be recipients of the above rewards. Again, while a standardized approach is neither appropriate nor possible to describe, the following considerations are desirable where possible.

  • The need for appropriate temporary living quarters for visiting scholars is paramount. We expect that these accommodations should be available through UT Housing, and we hope that a few of the nicer “apartment style” living spaces on campus may be reserved especially for this purpose. Housing will be compensated for this expense by the visiting scholar and/or the appropriate UT department/unit. We also hope that these accommodations will be convenient as well as providing the visitor with a sense of what it is like to live in a US community.
  • Whenever possible, the visiting scholar should be supplied with an office, as well as appropriate levels of administrative and IT support.
  • The visiting scholar should have access to typical campus resources for research support, including library privileges and IT access.
  • Whenever possible, the visiting scholar should be encouraged to participate in the life of the department/college/campus, including but not limited to faculty forums, social activities, governance meetings (without voting privileges), meetings with appropriate campus-level administrators, etc.
  • Each visiting scholar will have a faculty host responsible for facilitating integration throughout the stay, and hosting should count as part of the faculty member’s service activities.
  • English language support for visiting scholars and their family members should be provided through the English Learning Institute (ELI) or other structured learning venues.

The following possibilities for visiting scholar support depend entirely on resource availability, but might include the following.

  • Money for travel to conferences, etc.
  • Graduate student support
  • Health insurance
  • Welcome receptions
  • Other

1. Alexander von Humbolt Fellowships
2. American Academy in Rome
3. American Academy of Arts and Sciences
4. American Antiquarian Society Fellowships
5. American Council of Learned Societies Fellowships
6. American Philosophical Society
7. American School of Classical Studies in Athens Fellowships
8. Field Medal
9. Folger Library Postdoctoral Fellowships
10. Ford Foundation Fellowships
11. Fulbright Awards
12. Huntington Library Research Fellowships
13. John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowships
14. MacArthur Awards
15. National Academy of Education
16. National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships
17. Newberry Library Fellowships
18. Nobel Prize
19. Packard Fellowships
20. Residency at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts
21. Residency at the Getty Center for Arts and Humanities
22. Residency at the Institute for Advanced Study
23. Residency at the National Humanities Center
24. Residency at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars
25. Rockefeller Fellowships
26. Searle Scholars
27. Sloan Foundation Fellowships