For the open letter to the Provost of 20 February 2014, click here.


Supplement to section 3 (sabbatical leave) re the School of Humanities and Social Sciences:

At the School Board meeting on 20 February 2014, it was announced that the division heads will establish rules for allocating an unspecified number of scarce sabbatical leave slots to a larger number of applicants. The earlier statements to which I refer in section 3 were not repeated. [27 Feb. 2014]

As of 28 Sept. 2014, I am on sabbatical leave at Harvard University in the academic year 2014/15, having applied for sabbatical leave in February 2014 and receiving approval in June 2014.

As of 29 March 2016, we are entering the third year that HKUST sabbatical leave regulations are being applied by the division head, and faculty members obtain sabbatical leave. (I am not aware that any division rules re sabbatical leave were ever announced.)

As of 31 October 2016, sabbatical leave has been abolished. The term “sabbatical leave” is still around. In violation of the meaning of the term “sabbatical leave,” the HKUST Provost uses it to denote a teaching-free period that follows a concentration (bunching) of one’s teaching obligations. The concentration of one’s teaching obligation followed by a teaching-free period “is not an entitlement,” and there should be no more than “say 1 or 2” faculty members “going on leave” in the same academic term. (Internal / non-published order of the Acting Vice-President of Academic Affairs in 2007, followed by a reminder emailed by EVPPO to schools in July 2016.) defines “sabbatical year” as follows: “Also called sabbatical leave. (in a school, college, university, etc.) a year, usually every seventh, of release from normal teaching duties granted to a professor, as for study or travel.” – The character of a sabbatical year is precisely that there is no teaching, and no teaching to make up. Further: (1) Even before the abolition of sabbatical leave by the Provost, it was not every seventh year at HKUST that one could request sabbatical leave, because HKUST does not treat its faculty as professors but as employees who are entitled to a certain number of days of annual leave, and any such days of annual leave taken did not count towards sabbatical leave. This meant, in practice, that sabbatical leave, if given at all, was given more like every eighth year. (2) One-eighth (corresponding to every eighth year) of a 30-faculty department would mean 4 faculty are on sabbatical leave every year (not one or two). (3) Sabbatical leave is not an entitlement at any university; however, I have not seen any university of HKUST’s standing (except HKUST) that does not honor it automatically.



As of 31 October 2016, I have not received an answer to my open letter.