The Provost and the Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts support the Research Intensive Semester (RIS) program developed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Society of Professors. A description of the program and its eligibility requirements are in Appendix D of the MSP/MTA/NEA contract (MSP contract).

The program gives HFA departments the ability to offer tenure-track junior faculty members who meet the eligibility requirements a “research-intensive semester” during which they can focus on those projects critical to their upcoming tenure review. In this context, we use the word “research” to include a broad range of creative and scholarly work. 

This award:

  • Provides a one-semester release from teaching duties for the purpose of performing research in support of tenure.
  • Is available to any faculty with the rank of Assistant Professor may apply to take RIS in their 3rd year of service.

Since it is neither a leave nor a sabbatical, participants continue to be available for advising, service, and other departmental responsibilities. 

How to Apply

Chairs and faculty can apply via the HFA Multipurpose Submission Form.


Each fall, department chairs receive a list of faculty who are eligible in the upcoming academic year for RIS. At least 10 days prior to their department's annual budget meeting, department chairs should submit a list of faculty who intend to take the RIS. After the annual budget meeting, faculty will be notified of a decision and will be asked to submit a brief description of the research, scholarly, or creative work on which they will focus during their release semester. 

More Information

Contact afleig [at] umass [dot] edu (Amy Fleig).