The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Home / Research,... / Research...

Research Intensive Semester

Application due dates:

Friday, September 7, 2019 (Assistant Professor application to department head/chair)

Friday, October 4, 2019 (application, cover sheet, and department head/chair letter of support to Associate Dean’s office)

The College of Humanities and Fine Arts' Research Intensive Semester (RIS) program was developed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Society of Professors. The program gives HFA departments the ability to offer a “research-intensive semester” to tenure-track junior faculty members who meet the eligibility requirements.  It is a time during which assistant professors can focus on those projects critical to their upcoming tenure review. In this context, the word “research” includes a broad range of creative and scholarly work (see Appendix D on page 160 of the 2017-2020 MSP contract).

A Research-Intensive Semester releases those participating in the program from their teaching duties.  Since it is neither a leave nor a sabbatical, participants remain on campus and are available for advising, service, and other departmental responsibilities. There may be exceptional circumstances when the goals of the RIS can best be met if part of the time is spent off-campus or if the research-intensive focus were distributed across two semesters. Such arrangements may only be undertaken with the written agreement of the Dean, the Associate Dean, the department head or chair, and the faculty member.


The RIS Program supports HFA tenure-track faculty members who have carried a normal teaching load in each year of employment in their department and who are scheduled to teach a normal load in the semesters before and after the RIS. While the main purpose of this program is to allow HFA tenure-track faculty to concentrate on their research and creative activity, a secondary purpose is to encourage the development of their talents as a whole. RIS applications must show, therefore, that the applicant has prepared and submitted a grant application for a research project or creative activity. Given the nature and purpose of the college's Research Presentation Funds, the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development's Lilly Fellowships, and the university's Massachusetts Society of Professors Research Support Funds, applications submitted to these programs do not fulfill the requirement for a grant submission in support of one's scholarly or creative project.  In addition, RIS applicants are required to confirm that they have used the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development’s services to receive feedback on their teaching.

Application Process

Program participants must submit a completed RIS program application, a CV, and a description of the research project or creative activity to be undertaken (maximum three pages) to their department chair on or before September 28, 2018. The applicant’s materials along with a coversheet and a letter of support from the department chair are due in the office of the Associate Dean for Research no later than October 5, 2018.

For more information about the RIS program, eligibility requirements, and the application process, consult your department chair or contact Associate Dean Joye Bowman via e-mail or at  413-545-3408.