February 11, 2013, 8:00 am
As regular readers know, I’m on sabbatical this year, and spending the time as a non-degree student in Loyola University Chicago’s MA program in Digital Humanities.
Being a student again (it’s been a very long time!) has been a great experience. I’ve learned a lot and have some new things to think about for when I return to Saint Mary’s.
Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve gained from the first semester:
- a better understanding of and appreciation for the scope and methods of the digital humanities
- an introductory understanding of computing (not just as an end user)
- an introduction to some of the potential legal issues surrounding digital work
I’ve also had the chance to rekindle a desire to read more of the works of Václav Havel, who warranted passing mention in my dissertation. Though I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll actually follow up on that desire — and if so,…
September 6, 2012, 8:00 am
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…
December 2, 2011, 8:00 am
In this sabbatical diary, I (and some great commenters) have discussed the best ways to create a productive work environment when you get that deeply-deserved time away from campus. Today, though, I want to write about the opposite: a day where you do as close to nothing as possible. Jason has written about the power outage in Connecticut. Believe me, I was quite grateful for the fellowship that gave me, and my husband, a place to stay while our home went twelve days without power. The power outage still threw me for a loop because it occurred at a time I was supposed to be back home giving guest lectures and meeting with people for some community service projects. My carefully planned schedule fell apart, which it did for everyone. Still, it was an exhausting enterprise. After the power returned, and I had settled everything that had gone haywire, I was happy…
November 21, 2011, 8:00 am
In previous entries of my sabbatical diary, one topic that arose was how to handle expansive periods of unstructured time. It’s an area with which I had a lot of concern when I started, for sure. I don’t have a history of working well when I have huge blocks of time. On a previous post, englishwlu offered some great suggestions on this point. I really do not have much to add to those points except to emphasize the need for flexibility and experimentation in both what you do when and where you do it.
Though on sabbatical, you may still have to structure your day around partners, kids, parents, volunteer work, or other commitments. Such obligations will, of course, come first. After that, you may feel what I did: a glorious sense of freedom followed by an increasing sense of pressure to use your time well. As I have already described, when I arrived in New York…
October 28, 2011, 8:00 am
While previous entries in my sabbatical diary have been more like traditional ProfHacker posts offering a few bits of advice and asking for more, this one is more like a diary because it’s been in my head as I’ve been on fellowship. I think it might also get at some of the points mentioned in a comment to my last post from “an interdisciplinary scholar on a non-traditional career path with tremendous self-doubt.” I could have written that sentence–at least the interdisciplinary, self-doubt part–and I’m not sure if this post will help those of us who have those feelings, but I hope it might help those of us who relate to it feel less alone.
I’m standing on the platform at the New Haven train station waiting for the commuter train to New York City where I will spend a month living on New York University’s campus and have absolutely nothing to do but my own work. It is…
September 2, 2011, 8:00 am
In last month’s installment to my sabbatical diary, I discussed general ways to prepare financially if your sabbatical involves a paycut. In this month’s installment, I want to shift to another financial aspect of sabbatical life: fellowships and grants. First, we need to make sure we can pay our bills and handle our basic commitments to ourselves and our families. Once we have set ourselves up to do that, we then need to see what money we can find to enable us to do the research or other work we want to complete during our sabbatical. Luckily, I will be leaving my home in September to spend the semester as a Scholar-in-Residence at New York University. They provide me with campus housing so that I can live and work in the city for three months. I also applied for several fellowships and grants that I lost. From my experience, here are a few points to keep in…
March 30, 2011, 3:00 pm
Last week I was chatting with a colleague about her upcoming year’s leave from not only her teaching but also her administrative position. She is understandably thrilled to have some time to focus on long-gestating projects. But she’s worried about one important part of professional life that might make it hard for her to stay as focused as she would like: email.
Email is something that we’ve increasingly become dependent on—and not just at the university. Email is not only convenient for dashing off quick messages; it’s how we communicate with other members of a department, with administrators in the university, and with our peers across the world on listservs, Google Groups, and more. If email can get in the way of our productivity on a daily basis, imagine how much more disracting it can be while on leave. If you’re trying to be productive on your sabbatical, you might, as my…