October 14, 2021
Library Faculty members both investigate and create best practices in the field through a combination of their librarianship, research, and service activities. Research is an integral part of every Library faculty position at the University of Illinois; it is a major area of responsibility upon which each faculty member is evaluated throughout their career at UIUC.
This document articulates the Library’s policy regarding use of research time by library faculty, including requests for extended research time.
Research Time, for the purposes of this policy, consists of time faculty use to pursue research activities as defined by the library’s promotion and tenure guidelines. Faculty for this policy includes tenure-line faculty as well as visiting faculty.
Scope & Context
Library faculty function autonomously and independently within their positions while at the same time they work collegially and cooperatively to fulfill the mission of their unit, the Library, and campus.
The Library provides basic support, including research time and a travel budget, to enable the development of a research agenda and faculty members are encouraged to seek additional support from University and external sources to fulfill their research responsibilities, when necessary.
Guidelines for Use
Library faculty members define their own research agenda, including both theoretical and applied research, within the parameters set by the library’s promotion and tenure guidelines.
All Library faculty are expected to dedicate adequate time to research projects throughout their careers sufficient to meet the requirements of their academic appointment distribution, which gives 30% weight towards research productivity for evaluation purposes.
Schedule Negotiation and Flexibility
Some individuals may benefit from spending smaller amounts of time each day on research while others may need to block off a day each week to focus on research for an extended period. Individuals with a regular research time may need to adjust its timing in a specific week due to unavoidable conflicts such as library instruction for courses at specific times, or other unit or supervisory obligations. Ultimately, faculty members are responsible for determining how to best schedule this time in a way that works for them and does not conflict with their regular responsibilities. Faculty members should keep their unit head or reporting supervisor appraised of when they are taking research time, and unit heads should typically respect these decisions and not constrain them. However, occasional need for negotiation when scheduling research time may be necessary to ensure sufficient unit staffing or supervision, or to allow for full attendance in unit-wide or Library-wide meetings, for instance. These needs are likely to vary widely by unit and position. In cases where position requirements create significant barriers, the unit head or other supervisor should explore options to ensure sufficient research time is possible.
Neither the University nor the University Library normally provides paid research leave outside of sabbatical leave and select fellowship or release time programs, all of which typically require college approval. However, it is possible to arrange periods of research time of up to three weeks to complete specific projects. In such cases, the faculty member should initiate a discussion with their Unit Head (or equivalent supervisor), and these individuals must agree to a specific work plan suitable to the proposed period of time before the extended research period begins.
Requests for more extended periods of research time are granted only under exceptional circumstances, and must be approved by the University Librarian.
Relationship to Other Work Responsibilities
The scope of what counts as research is determined by the library’s “Statement on Promotion and Tenure to the Library Faculty at UIUC” established by the faculty of the library. The library guidelines also determine the weight of research, librarianship, and service in the overall tenure and promotion portfolio.
If someone feels that they are not getting adequate time for research, the individual should first discuss this with their unit head/supervisor and try to work out a way to ensure they have the time necessary, as well as discuss the matter with their Peer Review Committee (if the faculty member is untenured) for guidance. If a solution is not reached, the issue should be brought directly to the attention of the University Librarian for resolution.
Original policy created December 10, 2007. Revised and approved by the Library Executive Committee October 4, 2021.