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Research Intensive Semester

Application due dates:

     Friday, October 30, 2020 (Assistant Professor application to department chair)

     Monday, November 9, 2020 (application, cover sheet, and departmentchair 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 assistant professors who meet the eligibility requirements timeto 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, and the department chair.


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, subject to competitive review, for a research project or creative activity. Note that receipt of funds from 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 do not fulfill this requirement.  In addition, RIS applicants are required to confirm that they have taken advantage of services offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning 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 October 30, 2020. 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 November 9, 2020.

Post-RIS summary

At the end of the RIS period, faculty members will submit a brief summary of their progress to the Associate Dean for Research.

For more information

Consult your department chair or contact Associate Dean Joye Bowman.