The trustees announced that a new faculty leave system, fellowships based on the method of selection of the Guggenheim Foundation, would phase out the outdated sabbatical system in place for nearly a century in America. Originally intended to allow scholars regular access materials in European institutions, the traditional sabbatical—both the faculty and the trustees agreed, "unanimously," according to The Miscellany News—"became, in many instances a period of rest and recreation which, however valuable to the individual, was not particularly advantageous to the interests of the college."

The new system provided "a series of faculty fellowships."  Under the plan a specific budget for research was budgeted two years in advance, and an elected Faculty Committee on Research reviewed fellowship applications and recommended the strongest ones to the trustees for faculty fellowships for the following year. The first Faculty Fellows, for the 1936-37 academic year, were: Erika von Erhardt-Sirbold, lecturer in English for continuation of her research on The Natura Rerum Collection of the early middle ages; Elizabeth J. Magers, assistant professor of physiology for research on the energy expenditure of "normal persons" and on the site of origin of the amino acid creatine.