Main Content

Humanities Released Time Program


Humanities Teaching Release Time Program

Humanities Teaching Release Time (HRT) awards are intended to provide a release from classroom teaching. The Campus Research Board expects that faculty members, during the semester during which the leave is taken, will continue to mentor graduate students, complete service activities, and engage in shared governance processes.  However, departments may exercise some flexibility about service obligations for HRT recipients—provided that dissertation, thesis, and other necessary forms of graduate advising continue to receive priority—thus maximizing the scholar's ability to make progress on their research project during the semester of teaching release.


HRT is open to full-time Illinois tenured/tenure-track faculty members in any discipline/department with at least a 2:1 teaching load (i.e., three courses a year). A minimum of five years must elapse between periods during which Humanities Teaching Release Time is taken.

Applications from the list below—which represents longstanding humanities departments/units/centers/programs on our campus—are particularly welcome. 


  • African American Studies
  • American Indian Studies Programs
  • Anthropology
  • Applied Technology for Learning in the Arts and Sciences (ATLAS)
  • Art History
  • Architecture
  • Asian American Studies
  • Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Classics
  • Communication
  • Comparative and World Literature
  • Division of Musicology
  • East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • English
  • French and Italian
  • Gender and Women’s Studies
  • Germanic Languages and Literatures
  • History
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Latina/Latino Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Media and Cinema Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Program in Medieval Studies
  • Religion
  • Russian, East European and Eurasian Center
  • Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Spanish and Portuguese
  • Theatre History
  • Unit for Criticism

Program Criteria

Humanistic endeavors are broad and various, however, all applicants must make clear the humanistic focus and contributions of their work. In this regard, applicants may find the following statement from the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965 helpful:

"The term 'humanities' includes, but is not limited to, the study of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, conditions of national life."

The Campus Research Board will apply the following criteria in their review of requests for teaching release time through the Humanities Teaching Release Time program:

  • Preference will be given to untenured faculty. Applications should not be made in the faculty member’s first year unless exceptional circumstances exist. Applicants choosing to apply in their first year must provide a letter verifying exceptional circumstances from their unit Executive Officer.  Applications may be particularly appropriate for faculty in their final year before submission of the tenure dossier when they are completing scholarly work on which their tenure decision will be based.

  • Humanities Teaching Release Time should be used for critical moments in the life of the project. The Campus Research Board will not normally award teaching release time to an applicant who receives similar released time from another campus unit for the same academic year.
  • Humanities Teaching Release Time should not be used in conjunction with a sabbatical leave or other leaves or released time opportunities that would lengthen time released from University teaching responsibilities unless exceptional circumstances exist.
  • A minimum of five years must elapse between periods during which Humanities Teaching Release Time is taken.

Type of Support

For awards of teaching release time through the HRT program, the Campus Research Board will provide to the department/unit a standard rate of $15,000 for one semester of teaching release time, plus $3,000 to the faculty member for unrestricted expenses associated with the project and within the stipulated Campus Research Board guidelines. Continuing support is not available under the program.

Required Approvals and Restrictions

HRT applications must be accompanied by an approval form signed by the relevant executive officer/s. For faculty with percentage appointments (but not zero-time appointments) in other departments/units, the approval form must also be signed by the executive officer of the secondary department/s or unit/s.  Applicants should download the EO approval form. Applicants can save data typed into this form. Enter the requested information, then print for the executive officer/s (the department and/or unit head) to sign. Please upload a PDF of the signed form with the application for teaching release time.

The approval form indicates:

  1. That the department is willing to exempt faculty members from a semester of teaching in the subsequent academic year and
  2. That the faculty member would otherwise not have access to this sort of semester-long release time from teaching. The department will be compensated $15,000 for releasing the faculty member; in the case of faculty members with two percentage appointments, these funds will be distributed in accordance with the department that holds the course offering/s.

HRT applications can no longer be accompanied by additional funding requests to the Campus Research Board. The applicant will receive $3,000 for unrestricted expenses associated with the project and within the stipulated Campus Research Board guidelines. Applicants are welcome, however, to submit requests for research related to the teaching release time at later Campus Research Board deadlines.

Application Deadlines

Please carefully review all eligibility and submission requirements before applying. Please note deadlines vary by program.
Submissions are due by 3:00 p.m. on the posted date. Applications submitted after the deadline will automatically be held over for the next deadline.

See Current Deadlines