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Sabbatical Diary: Back to School

Last fall, Nels started off the academic year with a post that became the first in a series titled “Sabbatical Diary.”

This year, I’d like to continue that tradition.

Back in January, I got into a brief Twitter conversation (as seen in the lead image) with Jeff McClurken and Alex Gil. At the time, I wasn’t thinking too seriously yet about sabbatical, as I’d just submitted my tenure packet in early October and hadn’t heard back yet.

What I was serious about was further delving into the field of Digital Humanities in some way, and using sabbatical time to do that. I’ve developed an interest in that cross-disciplinary field as a result of both my passion for integrating appropriate technologies into my Political Science classroom and my involvement with ProfHacker (and yes, those two things are closely connected with each other), yet I haven’t had the opportunity to develop that interest in ways that might be really fruitful in my research and teaching. To do that, I needed more time than is realistically available during a normal academic year.

So, I started looking around at programs to see what opportunities there might be to study in the field. And when the opportunity arose to go on sabbatical for 2012-2013 (instead of 2013-2014 as I’d originally planned), I’d found a good program willing to take me on as a non-degree student: the MA in Digital Humanities program, offered by the Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities at Loyola University Chicago. My home institution approved, so I moved up to Chicago in late August, and began classes in the program on the 27th. I’ll provide occasional updates as the year progresses.

What about you? What’s the most rewarding way you’ve spent a sabbatical? What would you most like to do the next time a sabbatical opportunity comes up for you? Let us know in the comments.

 

[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by cavenderamy]

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