Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Rethinking Sabbatical Leave

One of my projects for this summer is to write both a sabbatical leave proposal (to be evaluated by the dean of my college prior to being approved or not by the higherups) and a book proposal to publish the results of that research. I made a good start on book of these products earlier this summer, but as time goes by I find myself less and less inclined to work on them.

In fact, I'm beginning to rethink the timing of a sabbatical leave.

The most compelling reason for not taking a sabbatical leave just now is that it necessarily would involve traveling. The proposals that get supported by our administration almost always involve travel -- I suppose the idea that one could stay at home and get work done is considered a fallacy -- and I have been planning to spend most of one semester traveling around the US, working with teachers in different places. The problem with traveling now is that since Slogger had his heart attack, I'm not so keen on leaving him, for any reason. He doesn't like it either.

I'm also not sure, suddenly, that this is the research I want to do. It seems that I have -- beginning with my dissertation and continuing on through my recent tenure and promotion -- been easily shifted by passing interests in research projects. I want to dig in, choose a topic for research, and stick with it. For years. And I'm not sure that this is the area I would like to choose for it.

At this point, I'm thinking of spending this school year figuring all of that out and perhaps submitting a sabbatical leave proposal later. Still thinking about it, though.

Thoughts, internets?


Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

I wouldn't want to travel either if my husband had a heart attack. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

I also think that when embarking on a major research project, it really should be something you will love doing.

It sounds to me like waiting is a good idea.

Jen said...

A co-worker recently told me, "If you're indecisive, stay with what you're doing until you know FOR SURE where to go & what to do." Sounds like you have some hesitation, so maybe you should listen to that and stay put for another year until you're 100% sure (and comfortable!) with moving forward with a sabbatical. Good luck in your decision! Good thoughts are being sent your way as I COMPLETELY understand what it is to have to make a decision and not feel sure about what to do! :)

Brigindo said...

I agree. I would have a hard time leaving b that much regardless of his health status and if we had just been through what you guys went through I definitely would not want to go. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

I think its a great idea to take some time to really discover what research agenda you want to pursue. It is a huge commitment of time and it should be something that excites and holds you.

Belle said...

Ditto to all of the above. How could anyone go, in this situation? Doing it later, if at all, makes sense.

FYI, I have more than one colleague whose sabbatical was spent at home. One worked on a manuscript, another took grad classes to enhance teaching and research projects. It's been done.

Pamela Jeanne said...

Those who got here first make some excellent points. Echoing many of them -- first, I would hesitate leaving my guy for an extended period of time -- especially give the recent heart attack scare and second, if you're going to have to live with a subject for an extended period of time I would want to be so in love with it that I couldn't wait to jump up in the morning to devote time to it. Granted interests wax and wane, but considering this is not just a hobby, I'd want to be way more certain...just my 2 cents.

Ms. K said...

If there's any hesitation about what you're diving into and leaving the man for, I wouldn't do it. That seems to be the advice of other commenters, but I wanted to add my humble opinion since I know what you were planning to do and it's a big undertaking. Best wishes figuring out where you're going from here.

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Do you have to do what you propose? Where I am, they don't keep track of whether it's exactly what you said, as long as you have a serious scholarly outcome. So long as I publish work I did on leave, it seems to be okay if I wind up doing Z instead of X. So, you know, if they approved a proposal to travel and you found this great! new! idea! (that you could work on at home with Slogger), well, you know, stuff happens when you're researching. But of course yours may not think like mine. Is there anyone there you trust who has seen the sabbatical approval process all the way through, whom you could ask?