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The Idea of a Sabbatical

So, for those of you who don’t know, I am on sabbatical this semester.  My idea of a perfect sabbatical is not one that would fly at Messiah. Apparently, the idea of paying me my full salary to just take a year off and rest, recuperate, and spend time with family, friends, and God is not one that Messiah College endorses. Nor is this automatic: work six year, get the seventh year as a sabbatical. You are eligible for a sabbatical after putting in enough time here, but it is far from automatic. It is also far from just kick back and rest.

To obtain a sabbatical, I had to complete an application process and be approved by a campus committee. In the application, I had to detail where I was as a professional statistician, where I saw myself going, and how my plans for the semester (or year, if I had done it that way) would further my professional goals. I had to detail, albeit vaguely, my plans for the semester. Where would I go? What would I spend my time doing? What results, publications, etc. would result? How would I assess my sabbatical to be a success? Apparently, I did a reasonable job of doing these things, since I was approved. One interesting thing is that the committee that makes these calls is a campus wide committee. This means that the members of the committee may have had no clue about statistics, and therefore, what I was talking about. That always seems a little odd to me, but that is how we do it here.

It did also seem a little weird to me that I have been here long enough to qualify. The truth is, I have more than enough time in! This fall is the start of my tenth(!) year on the faculty here at Messiah. In some ways, it seems like just a couple years ago I was a student here, but the mind can play tricks on you like that. I do love being here, but am enjoying my sabbatical. While it is not as restful as I might have liked, I am finding that the change of pace/duties is somewhat refreshing. I take home very little to do in the evenings. There are no exams to grade, or syllabi to write. This is nice! I can also choose whether to work in my office at Messiah, my cubicle at Penn State Hershey, or at home. I can take a day off to get a bunch of home projects done (thanks to Eric Poe!), or just spend time with my beautiful family for a special trip.

So, what am I doing on my sabbatical? Glad you asked. Tune in for the next post which will discuss that!

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