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Faculty Sabbatical Program: Purpose

The Faculty Sabbatical Program enables recipients to engage in intensive study in order to become more effective teacher-scholars and enhance their services to the University.

Sabbaticals offer opportunities for faculty to acquire, develop, and share new knowledge and skills in their fields and incorporate these into their pedagogy. This privilege is granted to faculty on the merits of their proposed sabbatical project and their past academic contributions to the university.

What do faculty do on sabbatical? 

 

Write and Publish

78% of faculty publish, present at a conference, or receive external awards or grants during or as a result of their sabbaticals.

Bob Nowlan"I did the vast majority of work on one book and then again did an enormous amount of reading and research, including field research, on a second book of a scope and scale that I would never have begun to imagine writing at an institution like this, given the normal faculty workload it maintains, without the sabbatical."
-Bob Nowlan, English

James Walker"I have had three sabbaticals. For each one, I wrote a book. There is no way I could have been that productive without the sabbaticals."
-James S. Walker, Mathematics

Tali Lee"I submitted 4 manuscripts for publication in peer reviewed journals. 3 of the 4 were accepted with the fourth accepted the next year. I could not have accomplished this without the block of time afforded by the sabbatical to work and to travel so that I could meet with collaborators in person. Sabbatical leave also provided the flexibility I needed to continue offsite field research into the academic year. Some time was used to initiate a new phase of a long-term collaborative project, which led to being awarded a National Science Foundation grant."
-Tali Lee, Biology

J Brian Mahoney"Sabbatical afforded the opportunity to conduct both field research and laboratory analyses with colleagues both in the US and in Argentina.  I was able to focus my efforts in a very concentrated fashion, which ultimately led to my being awarded an NSF grant for basin research in Argentina."
-J. Brian Mahoney, Geology

Percentages based on results of a 2015 survey with 78 faculty respondents.

Impact Student Learning

68% of faculty say their sabbaticals had a direct impact on student learning, including sabbatical projects that directly involved student researchers. 

Maria DaCosta"[The sabbatical] allowed me to live in Taiwan for one year (1995-96). During that time I was a Visiting Professor at National Chung Hsing University, Taipei and a student (of Chinese language) at Taiwan's Normal University. In addition to participating at two international conferences I was able to travel extensively in the region. My Economics of Pacific Asia course was most impacted by my sabbatical activities, since not only was I able to incorporate the material that I had acquired and researched but also my personal and professional experiences. Several of my articles became part of the assigned readings for the course. I could also use my experience to more effectively conduct faculty/student collaborative research and capstone projects ."  
-Maria N. DaCosta, Economics

hjghjhj"The best part of my sabbatical research project has been the impact that it has had on my teaching and possibilities for doing research with students. My project focused on gender, public history, the politics of memory, and American tourism in Europe. I have given lectures on my research in many of my upper level classes and encouraged students to reflect upon their own experiences with narratives of the past that they encountered while traveling and visiting historic sites and museums. I worked on a collaborative project with a student on gender and travel guides to Europe. On a much bigger scale, I used my sabbatical research as the basis for group projects for the Central European Travel Seminar the following year. Twenty-four students worked with me to document and analyze historic sites related to women's history, gender history, and the history of sexuality in Berlin. My students presented posters on their research for CERCA. The theme of the project, gender, public history, and tourism continues to inform my teaching and collaborative work with students long after my sabbatical." 
-Teresa Sanislo, History and Women's Studies 

Percentages based on results of a 2015 survey with 78 faculty respondents.

Travel to Other Institutions

49% of faculty used their sabbaticals to build or maintain connections with peers at home and abroad. 

Gretchen Peters"I went to France to complete my archival research for the book I was writing. It also allowed me to finish translating and analyzing the documents that I identified in France."
-Gretchen Peters, Music & Theatre Arts

Ingolf Vogeler"For my first sabbatical, I worked with two research institutes in Germany, published a major article in the flagship geography journal and was subsequently invited to be visiting professor in Germany, and conducted further research with two other German professors."
-Ingolf Vogeler, Geography & Anthropology

 Yan Li"With the time afforded by my sabbatical, I was able to go to China and collaborate with a few Chinese colleagues in data collection, which not only provided me with a good set of data for my ongoing research but also successfully established the long-term cooperation and scholarly exchange between my department at UW-Eau Claire and my sabbatical host university in China."
-Yan Li, Economics

Percentages based on results of a 2015 survey with 78 faculty respondents.

Explore New Fields

55% of faculty explore new areas of study or research during their sabbaticals.

Scott Bailey-Hartsel"I mastered methods that I would have neither the time nor equipment to learn otherwise. For example, the confocal microscopy I learned at U of Minnesota allowed us to characterize new fluorescent probes and obtain two patents and disclosures--all with UW-Eau Claire student assistance. The experience likely helped in our successful grant acquisition of a $500K confocal system (Liz Glogowski, PI) from the NSF. My sabbatical research also allowed me to take two students to Paris to perform cutting-edge research at the Institut Curie, establishing a lifelong collaboration!"
-Scott Bailey-Hartsel, Chemistry

Joe Morin"My sabbatical allowed me to connect with the field in ways that I had not been able to while teaching a 12-credit load. Theory and research-based knowledge does not always translate well in clinical practice. That is why it is necessary to have frequent opportunities to immerse oneself in the 'realities' of the field. My sabbatical allowed me to take some risks by questioning my established knowledge and skills. It allowed me to follow some unexplored paths and engage in some creative endeavours."
-Joe Morin, Special Education

Percentages based on results of a 2015 survey with 78 faculty respondents.

Spotlight on Sabbatical

Ruth Cronje, "A Methodology to Evaluate Situation-Specific Public Scientific Literacy," Fall 2009

Ruth CronjeI completed two different research projects, both of which involve undergraduate collaborators and both of which were accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals. One of these projects was selected as a finalist in the ORSP Poster competition, and my student collaborator was selected to present a poster of this work at Posters in the Rotunda in Madison, WI.

I am without doubt that the relaxed space of a sabbatical promotes a profundity of thinking that one cannot do during the hurly burley of a semester. One has time to reflect on the work itself, but also in a far more wide-ranging than normal way on the implications and applications of the work, than one can possibly muster while busy teaching classes. If we value the highest possible calibre of intellectual activity among our faculty, rather than just what we need to do to "get by," then we need to preserve the sabbatical experience.

Spotlight on Sabbatical

Peter C. Myers, "Color-blindness: A Philosophic and Political History of an Embattled American Idea," 2011-2012

Dr. Peter MyersI was able to do substantial reading and research, thus to clarify and refine the conception of my project. I was also able to complete two articles and several public presentations of research, and I don't believe I would have been able to produce that volume of published and presented work without the sabbatical.

The research it permitted me to do has very significantly broadened and deepened my learning pertinent to two of my courses, one in American political thought and the other concerning civil-rights issues in U.S. constitutional law. In addition, the reputation I gained through publications facilitated by two sabbaticals (for two different book projects) resulted in my invitation to teach in another institution's summer Master's program for middle and high school educators. This has greatly enhanced my sense of satisfaction at the thought that I might, through my teaching, actually be exercising some positive influence on classrooms beyond those in my home institution.

What I love about my work as a college professor are two things: I love to teach, in particular to reach and influence bright and ambitious students, and I love to do research. I love my subject matter, love to read and learn more of it, and love to publish articles and books and thereby gain expanded professional contacts with scholars I like and respect, along with a measure of recognition outside my home university.