FAQ on Krause sabbatical lite

Not that anyone is asking, but Deb Hawhee got me to thinking about it. For those unfamiliar with what I mean by “sabbatical lite:” see this post and this category on my previous official blog. In brief, I am splitting a half-year sabbatical up over a full academic year.

Q. Was the sabbatical lite a good idea?

A. In hindsight, no. Now, I still think, given the situation at the time I asked my department head if this was a possibility, the sabbatical lite was a good idea. But for those faculty-types out there thinking about doing the same thing as me: don’t do it.

As a matter of fact, I’m not so sure that the one semester sabbatical in general is that good of an idea either. At least one senior colleague told me that the one year sabbatical is the way to go because it can take a good three months to unplug from all that is involved with the day-to-day world of a faculty person and it takes about that long to get a good start on a research project of some sort. The tricky thing though is that full year sabbatical comes with a 50% salary cut, and not a lot of people can afford that.

So the next time I do this, which I guess will be in another 7 or so years, I’ll try to figure out a way to take the full year. Assuming that they’re still offering sabbaticals in 7 or so years….

Q. Have you got any writing and research done?

A. Sure. I mean, haven’t been able to get as much done as I had hoped/planned, but I probably had overly grand visions of what I would be able to get done in the first place. My blog survey is going well, I am back to actually writing stuff (how useful it will be remains to be seen), and I am starting to once again think that my main goal of having enough of a project done to circulate a proposal to publishers by the beginning of the next school year is not out of the question. Plus I think I’ve done some other little side projects that I don’t think I would have been able to do had I not been on quasi-sabbatical.

Q. Any fun stuff? Any Steve time?

A. Not as much if I had taken the half year, but yes, absolutely. My recent Alabama trip wouldn’t have been possible without sabbatical lite. In the fall term, I hit the gym quite a bit– not as much this term, unfortunately.

One thing that I didn’t do (because I just didn’t think I’d have time) that I would recommend that anyone on a sabbatical try to do is to learn something/take a class about something completely new and different. I thought about doing something like taking an art class or guitar lessons or something, and if I were to do it over again, this would be part of the formula.

And now, back to the work I’m supposed to be doing on sabbatical….

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3 Responses to FAQ on Krause sabbatical lite

  1. cbd says:

    It’s a bit of a leap from “Sabbatical lite didn’t work for me” to “One semester sabbaticals aren’t a good idea.” Obviously, a year is preferable, but given the choice of one semester off or nothing, what advantage is choosing nothing?

  2. Steve Krause says:

    I think that if the choice is a semester off or nothing, then you’re right, a semester off is better than nothing. And for that matter, if the choice is a sabbatical lite or nothing, I’d take the sabbatical lite.

    But for some reason (don’t ask me why), I really underestimated/overlooked the “get away” value of sabbaticals. I mean, I was more or less concentrating almost exclusively on the idea that a sabbatical is to give someone time to work on a scholarly project. Now as I near the end of this thing, I am beginning to realize that the real value of a sabbatical is just time away and that the scholarly thing is almost secondary.

    And again, as a number of colleagues have told me, you really can’t “get away” if you only take a semester off.

    Of course, as I commented on Jeff’s blog, I’m not sure I’m that good at sabbaticalling anyway. I almost think I would have gotten more done on my scholarly project if I had been busier with regular work, as counter-intuitive as that might be.

  3. cbd says:

    I think it’s possible to get away more quickly. Maybe I’m just lazier than you. :)

    More on my weblog soon, since I gotta think about this for next year.

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