Sabbatical, fanatical. (part 1)
Ever since being first exposed to the hallowed halls of academia when I first entered UWO in 1999 I’ve held the University in very high regard. It is a knowledge factory. In goes brilliant people with tenacity and determination and at the end of the assembly line out comes new knowledge. *New Knowledge*, such a commodity. It is pretty ephemeral a thing that sometimes is only an intrinsic good, yet still one of the most noble pursuits. Humans have been creating knowledge for a while now so it is getting more difficult to fabricate and construct novel things. Yet despite this our colleagues and ourselves labour on. It is the most poetic thing I can imagine.
I realize I’m being a bit dramatic but I’m waxing lyrical here. This preamble is to set the stage for what I’m hoping to be a series of blog posts. I’m hoping to chronicle my upcoming sabbatical *while still not official yet, my fingers are crossed*. Why do I want to do this? Well for two reason predominantly; first and foremost my writing needs practice and I can’t think of better exercise, secondly I want to have a journal of my progress so when I hit a wall (which I believe will be inevitable) I’ll have something to motivate me to feel the spark of why I embarked upon the process in the first place. Plus I want to revitalize my blog. Ever since embracing twitter my bon mots have been 140 characters instead of 500 word blog posts. It also dawned on me that this is such a throwback to the early aughts when people used to blog about this kind of stuff all the time. You don’t see it much anymore, perhaps due to Facebook.
At MPOW at the completion of 6 years of full-time service Faculty members and Librarians are eligible for 12 months of sabbatical leave. I began here in June 2006 so that was the easiest checkmark on the list. The Collective Agreement spells out the formal application process and what is included. Particularly a dossier with the following:
i. the report of the previous sabbatical or professional leave;
ii. an outline of the proposed plans which explains why these should
contribute to the member's scholarly, pedagogical or professional
iii. an updated curriculum vitae;
iv. an explanation of the locale chosen;
v. a summary of the member's preparation for that project;
vi. a description of the program of study or professional activity which the professional librarian member intends to undertake, if applicable;
vii. a statement of scholarly and/or professional achievements since the previous sabbatical or professional leave; and, where applicable,
viii. plans to take paid employment elsewhere.
(BROCK CA, 34.03 d)
After the dossier is completed it needs to be sent to Library Council for approval. After that is completed it goes to the University Librarian and then ultimately to the University wide Committee on Sabbatical Leaves. Approval at this committee is the final step. There are lots of other interests details with the application process (in particular being able to bank up to 2 years of accumulated time to count against your next 6 years of accumulated service, so for example if you wait 8 years to go on sabbatical you can bank 2 years and when you come back you’ll only have to put in 4 years, established in Article 34.03b) Proof positive to always be familiar with your CA. This process is of course different at other Ontario universities (and indeed across the country). Some institutions sabbatical leave is almost a given after enough years pass, contrast that to other institutions where Sabbatical isn’t even an option. I like that at MPOW applying is a self directed decision. In my time here I’ve seen 2 colleagues go and return from sabbatical. We have a complement of 17 or so Librarians that can apply.
What I’m going to do on Sabbatical
Another benefit of the CA is that it spells out in clear language what the potential purposes of sabbatical are for Librarians:
i. broaden the member’s professional knowledge;
ii. acquire experience in an area related to the member’s responsibilities; or
iii. engage in scholarly activity in the field of library and information science or other areas related to the duties in the member’s job description.
(BROCK CA, 34.02 b)
This language is great in that it isn’t particularly narrow and allows for some flexibility. So then for me. Is it i, ii, iii.? That detail I will keep in the bag right but teaser is:
- Graduate Work (?!)
- A programming project that has been a bugaboo for me for some time
The one thing that I can say is that I’ve accomplished the first step. Ie. successfully presenting my dossier to Library Council.