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Faculty Leaves-in-Service

Stanford Leaves-in-Service is a pilot program of the Social X-Change, in partnership with the Haas Center for Public Service.

This program is intended to complement and extend existing leave opportunities at Stanford with a primary focus on the exchange of learning and expertise around an identified social problem. We will provide financial and staff resources to identify and support placements for a summer, quarter, or up to a year (4 quarters) in public sector agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Placements are designed to support in-depth, hands-on learning about a social problem and existing approaches to address it, with the potential to help generate new research insights and/or research applications. The ideal placement will enable the exchange of complementary skills and expertise, and should both add value to the hosting organization and help to advance the faculty member’s thinking about his/her own research. Applicants can identify and negotiate their own placement or work with the Social X-Change and Haas Center team to develop an appropriate placement.

Apply for the Leaves-in-Service program by January 7, 2020.

Apply now

Financial resources

We will provide funding for at least one and up to four quarters of leave. The funding may be used to cover summer salary, ‘top up’ existing earned sabbatical credit, or cover the full costs of taking an otherwise unpaid leave during the academic year (e.g. salary replacement, teaching buy-out, and/or benefits, as needed). We will also cover direct costs, which may include travel, temporary housing, and/or office and field resources.

Staff resources

Our team can help to identify credible and realistic partner organizations for placements when the applicant does not already have a specific placement in mind. In either case, we will review, vet, and work with the potential host organization to ensure they are a good fit for the purposes of the leave program and faculty interests, and will provide ongoing support in preparation and for the duration of the leave to promote positive experiences and outcomes.

Eligibility

PI-eligible Stanford scholars may apply. Leave eligibility will vary across schools and departments and depend on the status of the individual applicant. Generally, leave pathways will fall into one of three categories:

  • Applicants on 9-month appointments, applying for a summer placement
  • Applicants with sufficient earned sabbatical credit to cover their full salary for the duration of the proposed leave
  • Applicants with no/insufficient earned sabbatical credit for the proposed period, who will receive salary and benefit support through the Social X-Change

For all circumstances, applicants will need to explore the feasibility and logistics of taking leave within their respective schools/departments, and placements will only be confirmed with the consent of the respective department Chair and school Dean. Interested applicants are encouraged to review the Faculty Handbook section on Sabbaticals and Other Leaves of Absence.

This call for proposals is for placements envisioned to take place during summer quarter 2020 or during the academic year 2020-21.

Contact

For questions associated with the Faculty Public Service Leave program, please contact Social X-Change Operations Lead, Leah Hazard

Application

Criteria

We expect that applicants will have varying levels of experience with problem-focused research and engagement with external partners and potential host organizations. For those newer to this type of engagement, the placement may serve primarily as a learning exchange, helping to better understand the social problem and different approaches to its resolution, with the host organization benefiting from the faculty member’s scholarly expertise. For those with prior experience, the exchange may serve to advance existing partnerships, with a focus on driving evidence-driven programs or policies. What is most important is that there is a compelling case that the placement is generative, with clear learning opportunities for both applicant and host organization, and the potential to contribute towards progress on a social problem.

Applicants should be able to clearly articulate their intentions and goals for the leave, including:

  • How the leave-in-service will enhance the applicant’s own understanding of a social problem and advance their research agenda
  • The anticipated ways in which the placement will benefit the partner organization
  • How the partnership and exchange can contribute positively towards progress on a well-defined social problem

In addition, competitive applicants will:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to both scholarly research and public service
  • Exhibit curiosity, humility, and a learning mindset
  • Recognize and appreciate the complementary expertise of hosting institutions
  • Communicate clearly the opportunities for learning and exchange

We expect to support up to eight faculty members in the first year of the program.

Application Process & Timeline

  • A short application is due January 7, 2020
  • Those advancing will be invited to interview in mid-January
  • Preliminary selections will be made by the end of January
  • Following a final screening of the host organization and candidate, including approval on all logistical matters from the respective department/school, and approval of the proposed scope of work in coordination with the host organization, final awards will be announced on a rolling basis in February and March
  • Placements may begin as early as June 2020 and extend through September 2021

Information Sessions

More information about the Leaves-in-Service program will be provided on:

  • December 5 (Thurs), 12-1pm @ Crown Law School, Room 320D
  • December 11 (Wednesday), 12-1pm @ Haas Center 1st floor, DK Room

Apply now

Contact

For questions associated with the Leaves-in-Service program, please contact Social X-Change Operations Lead, Leah Hazard.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does ‘success’ look like?

Outcomes of the leave experience will vary, depending on the specific applicant and placement, but ‘success’ is generally envisioned as the extent to which the leave placement positively contributes towards:

  • Developing a deeper contextual understanding of a social problem, including the more operational aspects of addressing it, such as who are the key stakeholders and what are the relevant policies and programs affecting the current status of and potential solutions for the social problem.
  • New research insights and partnerships: the experience, including the immersive interaction with individuals and teams at the host organization, should generate new research insights for both the faculty member and organization, and may contribute towards a longer-term research partnership.
  • Benefits to the host organization: the placement should offer meaningful service to the host organization, allowing them to benefit from the faculty member’s research expertise, possibly generating evidence-based, innovative approaches, and ultimately helping to advance objectives within the organization.
  • Public impact: in achieving the above, both the faculty member and host organization are better positioned to make tractable progress on solutions to an identified social problem.

Are there specific social issues that will be prioritized over others?

In general, Social X-Change is designed to support faculty in tackling the social problems they are most focused on. Applicants should make a case for the social problem they wish to explore in terms of its importance and relevance to their expertise and research agenda. 

Are there specific disciplines that are eligible or will be prioritized over others?

This program is available to PI-eligible faculty and researchers across all schools and departments.

How is this different from other leave programs at Stanford?

The primary objectives of this leave program are to support your learning to develop a better understanding of the context in which your research applies, and the exchange of expertise between you and practitioners. The leave should also help advance scientific insights and the development of your research (e.g. generating new research questions and hypotheses; better understanding causal mechanisms and practical barriers that prevent certain outcomes from materializing; exploring new datasets or developing new survey instruments). However, it is not intended to advance your own research solely for academic purposes. The focus, instead, is on supporting experiences that generate learning and research to advance solutions to social problems. 

How do I know if I’m eligible to take leave?

PI-eligible faculty, researchers, and educators may apply fo the program. Please consult with your department or school if you are unclear about your status.

For all circumstances, applicants will need to explore the feasibility and logistics of taking leave within their respective schools/departments, and placements will only be confirmed with the consent of the respective department Chair and school Dean. Applicants should consult the Faculty Handbook section on Sabbaticals and Other Leaves of Absence for more information.

Do I need to have earned sabbatical credit to apply?

No, it is not required have and apply sabbatical credits. However, applicants that propose to use earned sabbatical credit to cover some portion of the proposed leave will be especially competitive in the process.

For how long is the leave placement?

Social X-Change is offering resources for one and up to four quarters of leave support, depending on the need requested by the applicant, to be taken between the summer 2020 and summer 2021 quarters.

How much funding support will I receive?

Specific funding amounts will vary depending on circumstances and need, but all awardees are eligible to receive funding support, as needed, to cover (but not exceed) any salary and benefit gaps corresponding with the duration of the leave, as well as direct costs up (e.g. travel, temporary housing, office/field resources).

What other kinds of support can I expect to receive from Social X-Change staff?

The Social X-Change and Haas Center team will support the search for host organizations, as needed. For all awardees – those with and without pre-identified partners – the Social X-Change and Haas Center team will support outreach, vetting, and navigation of logistics with the potential host organization (HR, legal compliance, etc.), as well as preparation strategies and tools to promote the best possible experiences and outcomes for faculty and practitioners.

Do I need to have a potential host organization already identified?

No. You may already have a specific organization in mind, or you can request support for identifying and engaging with an organization that is most likely to be the best fit for your leave purposes.

What is the application, review, and placement timeline?

  • A short application is due January 7, 2020
  • Those advancing will be invited to interview in mid-January
  • Following a final screening of the host organization and candidate, including approval of all logistic-related matters from her/his department/school, final decisions will be made by the end of February
  • Placements may begin as early as June 2020 and extend through September 2021

How exactly will the application and review process unfold?

  • Stage 1: Submission of short written application. A panel will review all applications and select a subset of candidates to continue to the interview stage based on clarity of eligibility and fit for the program, and compelling persuasion of proposed value add to applicant, envisioned host organization, and public benefit.
  • Stage 2: Interviews & preliminary selections. Candidates moving to this stage will be interviewed by a panel consisting of faculty and staff from the Social X-Change, the Haas Center, and external practitioners. Candidates will be reviewed on an individually competitive basis with additional consideration given to the overall composition of social problem topics, proposed placement areas, and diversity across schools/departments.
  • Stage 3: Final review & vetting process. Before final awards are made, the Social X-Change and Haas Center team will work with the applicant to ensure that s/he meets all the criteria as stipulated by her/his department and school to take leave, and is compliant with all university policies. The team will also work to identify placements, as needed, and vet all potential host organizations. Once confirmed, the applicant and host organization will co-develop a proposed scope of work, to be reviewed for final consideration.
  • Stage 4: Awards. On a rolling basis throughout February and March, final candidates will be notified of award status.

What are the reporting expectations?

Applicants that are selected for the leave program will meet with the Social X-Change team to discuss the goals of the placement and map out key areas of support with a plan of action for tracking progress. All participants will be expected to have regular check-ins on progress (frequency depends on length of leave) and provide an end-of-term report, narrating the high-level activities and outcomes of the leave, including how it contributed toward the progress of the host organization, the applicants’ own research objectives, and both short-term and anticipated longer-term public outcome benefits.

How does this program fit with the Stanford vision of “purposeful engagement”?

In the spring, President Tessier-Lavigne announced the core elements of the university’s new strategic plan. This includes a commitment to launch the Stanford Social X-Change, a university-wide initiative enabling teams of Stanford scholars to work with the public, social, and private sectors to address social problems using human creativity, rigorous evidence, and innovative technology. Its mission is to catalyze problem-focused research and training on a diversity of social problems with the goal of achieving broad public impact. The Leaves-in-Service program is a pilot program of the Social X-Change, in partnership with the Haas Center for Public Service.

About Stanford Social X-Change

Mission

The Stanford Social X-Change enables teams of Stanford scholars to work with the public, social, and private sectors to tackle social problems using human creativity, rigorous evidence, and innovative technology. We advance this mission by supporting rigorous, problem-focused research and learning opportunities across a diversity of social problems with the goal of achieving broad public impact.

Social Problems

We define a “social problem” as a challenge that: has collective, rather than solely individual, implications; affects a large number of people; has a number of complex and interrelated causes; reflects a failure of markets, governments, and other institutions; and cannot be understood or solved without an understanding of the human behaviors, institutions, and systems involved.

Problem-Focused Research

Our focus is on addressing concrete, social problems through research that leverages theoretical advances and methodological innovations to drive the discovery and testing of practical, evidence-based solutions. This often requires an iterative mix of problem exploration, design of possible solutions, evaluation of the effects of attempted solutions, and considerations of scaling-up solutions.

Partnership

Our approach is rooted in partnership. Through our programs, we seek to spur and strengthen the process of learning, exchange, and co-creation between researchers and practitioners to jointly frame problems, develop research and learning agendas, generate and test hypotheses, iterate on intervention strategies, and scale solutions. These partnerships are foundational to the process of leveraging scientific discovery to drive social change. 

Areas & Methods of Focus

The Social X-Change does not have a fixed set of problems it is seeking to tackle. Instead, it is designed to be agile, flexible, and responsive to the changing issues in society, the priorities and concerns of the university’s external partners, and the shifting interests of Stanford faculty, staff, and students. Moreover, the Social X-Change does not privilege a particular method. Methods and approaches should match the problem as specified and reflect a shared understanding among researchers and external partners about the kind of research that will prove most valuable to driving new insights towards solving the social problem.