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,…
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…
August 8, 2011, 8:00 am
In this third part of my sabbatical diary, I want to focus on one of the most important parts of the sabbatical: the money. At my institution, a semester-long sabbatical comes with full salary. A year-long sabbatical comes with a forty percent pay cut. Many universities make it a fifty percent pay cut. Many of us who dream of a year away from campus know we have to think carefully about how we will handle that financially, and here are few thoughts.
- Talk to Someone in Human Resources to Learn What Your Paycheck Will Actually Be. Someone on sabbatical last year gave me this brilliant idea. I talked to my HR representative, and she looked at my contract and all of my deductions to give me as close an estimate as possible to what my paychecks will actually be over the next year. She also talked with me about things I could do to raise my income, such as reducing …