Instructors' Presence

Instructors' Presence During the Academic Year

Instructors are expected to be "in residence" (i.e., during the COVID-19 pandemic, this means present virtually and, to the extent possible, in the vicinity of Harvard, consistent with strict adherence to Harvard and other guidelines) and available to colleagues and students during term time (including the Reading Periods and Examination Periods). However, short absences for unforeseen personal business or professional development during term time are possible. Faculty are expected to fulfill their assigned teaching obligations and should only use substitute instructors (including teaching fellows) in exceptional cases.

Faculty members wishing to be absent during term time (including Reading Periods and Examination Periods) for a period of more than one week, or for a period of one week or less where the absence will require some reduction or change in scheduled instruction, should first consult with the chair of their department. When requesting such leaves, it is incumbent on faculty members to consider their academic responsibilities and to ensure that they continue to be met. Before authorizing the absence, the chair should be satisfied that the reason for absence, whether personal or professional, is sufficiently compelling and that all teaching and other departmental responsibilities are appropriately covered. If the absence is for one week or less, no further approval is required. If a period longer than one week is necessary, the faculty member submits to the assistant dean for the division a “Request for Permission to be Absent” form, signed by the chair (found on the "Leaves" page of the website for FAS faculty and researchers). To request a leave for public service, faculty should follow the procedure outlined in Chapter 3 of the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook.

Note: If the faculty member is teaching only in non-departmental programs for the term, the faculty member has the “Request for Permission to be Absent” form signed by the director of the relevant program before submission to the assistant dean for the division.

For more information on leave policies for faculty, please see Chapter 3 of the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook.