Chapter 30: Take sabbatical
Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities
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Despite increasing institutional thrift, or even austerity, some universities and research organizations continue to offer sabbaticals to academic staff (also known as study leave). These are periodic opportunities to set aside teaching and management and concentrate on research, although in some cases sabbatical work may focus on learning and teaching improvement. Sabbaticals are typically, though not necessarily, six months to a year in duration and usually involve conducting work at another institution, often abroad. They are not intended to be a holiday or opportunity for you to paint your house. Sabbatical can be a tremendously refreshing – and demanding – opportunity. On the plus side, sabbatical offers at least six benefits to individual academics (Box 30.1). While a period of sabbatical can be deeply rewarding, your own anticipation and expectations can also make it debilitating! Very often scholars look forward to sabbatical as an extended research idyll, failing to take proper account of the challenges they may face during the time. A common mistake is overestimating what can be done in the time away. So, to begin, when you outline your ambitions for sabbatical leave, be as realistic as possible. Indeed, it may even pay to understate your objectives, focussing on your major aspirations and putting aside some of the minor outcomes as supplementary goals. Bear in mind too that when you start sabbatical you may be quite exhausted from the preceding years of work that were required to entitle you to the opportunity. Indeed, some universities will expect you to

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