Directed Sabbatical Time

This 8-week program offers faculty members the opportunity to take dedicated time away from clinical responsibilities to develop professional interests.

Supporting Academic Productivity

Although academic surgeons are more productive than ever by many metrics, the time and logistical barriers of our current structure threaten creativity, autonomy, and innovation. Traditionally, academic productivity has occurred in defined spaces, with periodic opportunities for innovation through year-long sabbaticals, relying on federal or private/philanthropic foundation funding to advance science. However, sabbatical time is now uncommon among academic physicians, and particularly surgeons, due to increasing clinical demands, and the complexity of clinical care. 

The Directed Sabbatical program is an opportunity for faculty to spend dedicated time toward developing their clinical, academic, or educational interests over an 8-week period. During this time, faculty are excused from clinical duties in order to provide time for immersion and deepening one’s knowledge and interests in the topic of their choice.

Upon completion, faculty will share their experiences with the Department of Surgery faculty, contributing to a virtuous cycle for faculty life.

Application Process

  • Each Section and/or Division are encouraged to nominate at least one applicant per cycle, and multiple candidates may be nominated.
  • One applicant per cycle will be chosen from each Section/Division.
  • Priority will be given to Sections/Divisions who have not previously participated.
  • The total duration of the mini-sabbatical remains 8 weeks with the intention that participants will use 2 blocks of 4 weeks or 1 block of 8 weeks.
  • The total duration of the mini-sabbatical must be taken within 2 academic years.


  • Eligible to all Department of Surgery faculty across all tracks and levels.
  • Eligibility begins in the 3rd year of appointment at the University of Michigan.
  • The Chair of Surgery has final approval for faculty participation.


An application will be considered complete when the following are submitted:

  • Application
  • C.V.
  • Documentation from hosting site/individual approving the collaboration
  • Detailed budget of up to $25,000 for expenses, travel, lodging and per diem in accordance with University of Michigan travel guidelines

Please send the completed applications and requested additional documentation to [email protected].

Please reach out to [email protected] with any questions or inquiries about the Directed Sabbatical Program.