Mid-Career Faculty Release-Time Program

NOTE: Due to the budget situation, the Mid-Career Faculty Release-Time Program has been suspended. The Provost’s Office will not be accepting applications for the 2017-18 academic year.


The Mid-Career Faculty Release-Time Program (MFRP) is a competitive, campus-wide program sponsored by the Office of the Provost.  The MFRP is designed to provide support to tenured associate professors who would benefit from concentrated time to advance their research or creative work.  Many associate professors have expressed a need for a program addressed specifically at mid-career faculty whose research progress has been impeded in recent years.  In particular, the program is designed for associate professors who have taken on substantial teaching or service activities in their department or on campus, who have decided to change directions in their research program, or who have had to manage challenging family obligations.

MFRP recipients will be selected on the basis of the potential impact and feasibility of the planned work, with particular attention paid to how the release time will advance the recipient’s scholarly career.  Proposals should include a narrative describing the proposed work, a curriculum vitae, and a letter of support from the unit executive officer that explicitly addresses how the release time will help the faculty member advance toward promotion to full professor. The executive officer’s letter should also include a statement that the department is willing to exempt the candidate from a semester of teaching (the department will be compensated $12,000).

The narrative section of the proposal is limited to five pages, and should include as much detail as possible about the planned work, how it will be accomplished, and why a semester’s release from teaching is needed to move the project forward at this point in time.  Proposals may include a request for up to $2,000 in discretionary funding.  An additional $1,000 is available for mid-career faculty who would like to have a senior scholar on campus review and/or provide feedback on the work. The $1,000 will be provided to the senior scholars as discretionary funding for their research.  Applicants interested in this mentoring should include the name of the senior scholar in the application.

We anticipate 2-3 MFRP appointments per year.


The MFRP supports faculty research and creative work in all fields.  The program is open to associate professors who have been in the mid-career rank (i.e., have tenure) for at least six years as of the proposed release semester. Preference will be given to faculty who have had no teaching release for the purpose of research, including sabbaticals, in the two academic years prior to their proposed release semester, but exceptional cases with more recent release time will be considered.


The designated semester should be discussed in advance with the unit executive officer (EO) to ensure that it works with departmental curriculum planning.

Application Guidelines

The application form can be accessed here:     PDF         Microsoft Word file.

Items 1.-4. below should be attached to the online application form and given to your unit EO. The unit EO should provide item 5. and e-mail the entire application (application form and items 1.-5.) as a single document attached to an e-mail to Provost-MFRP@illinois.edu (application materials should be prepared in Times Roman 12 point font with 1.5 line spacing).  Applications received after the deadline will not be accepted.

  1. A detailed narrative proposal (5 pages) describing the project the applicant will undertake during the term of the MFRP award. The narrative statement should explain how the proposed project would make a contribution to the applicant’s research and advance the larger field of study, and explain why a semester of teaching release is needed to move the applicant’s scholarly career forward.
  2. If discretionary funds are requested, a detailed budget explanation (1 page) must be included explaining the need and proposed use of these funds.
  3. A curriculum vitae.
  4. Candidates who wish to enlist a senior scholar to review their work should reach agreement with the mentor in advance of the application.  The senior scholar’s name must be provided on the application and a short plan for review of the applicant’s work should be provided at the end of the narrative proposal.  The mentor will be required to provide a brief written review of the awardee’s accomplishments on the project to the Office of the Provost.
  5. A letter of support from the unit executive officer, explaining  why a semester of teaching release will advance the candidate’s case toward promotion to full professor and including a statement that the applicant’s department is willing to grant the requested teaching release.


All applications will be acknowledged via email, and all applicants and their unit Executive Officers will be notified of the outcome by email.

Questions concerning the program can be sent to Bill Bernhard, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.