The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Travel, research, outside activities

Step-by-step guide

A step-by-step guide and quick reference tool for department travel, research and outside activities.
Click here to access the Travel, Research and Outside Activities Reference Guide

Outside Activities Policy

All UMass faculty are expected to be present for their regularly scheduled teaching contact hours and for their advising & service assignments.

Any absence from campus for professional activity in a way that impacts the above requires the faculty member submitting an Approval of Outside Activity form (attached) to the Chair at least six weeks prior to the expected absence. The faculty member should provide a brief, specific plan for coverage of their duties while away. For a brief absence (e.g., 1 class period of a course that meets multiple times a week), it may be that no formal coverage is needed. 

Often, faculty coverage plans involve someone serving as substitute instructor for a missed class(es). UMass policy prohibits the use of state funds to pay for a “sub” to teach a class. However, it is allowable to “trade a favor” or pay out of pocket. Your Approval of Outside Activity request should list any such proposed substitute teaching. Also, UMass now provides teleconferencing resources for faculty to teach their class even when in a different location.

If you have secured grant funding, UMass policy does allow use of those funds to compensate outside special guests to give guest presentations in your class: someone who would enrich a class session enough that you would invite them to your class even if you were there. If a guest artist is part of your coverage plan, your Approval of Outside Activity request should name the guest artist and the source of funding. 

Finally, please submit the Approval of Outside Activity request in all instances of being away for professional activity regardless of whether your absence directly conflicts with a class. We are expected to document our professional activity with the university this way.

Since every situation is unique, please reach out to the Chair well in advance if you have questions about an Approval request.

Outside Activities Prior Approval Form, electronic completion and e-signature.
Click here to access the Outside Activities Prior Approval Form

Research funding information:

Harley Erdman
Chair, Department of Theater
University of Massachusetts at Amherst 
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