Progress on Sabbatical (Part 2)
(* Officially Now)
Since we last met the wheels have been turning.
Progress to date
It is with great pleasure that I can say I'll be on Sabbatical for 12 months starting September 1, 2014 until August 31, 2015. What should first strike as odd is that my start Sabbatical date doesn't align with the traditional Sabbatical start date of July 1. Once again I have my CA to thank for this option. Traditionally the Librarian Sabbatical was known as a 'Professional Leave' and was pliable enough to be scheduled to begin at the same time a training program or short course started. This was the case up until 2011. After 2011 the 'Professional Leave' was collapsed into our current article on 'Sabbatical Leave'. One of the remnants is the pliable start date. This bring me to a quandary that I've puzzled over quite a bit. The librarians at Brock University have moved to parity in many instances with our traditional faculty colleagues but there are still a collection of artifacts similar to this in the CA. What is the grand strategy? Should we strive for true parity and try to remove all of these loopholes, for lack of a better name, or is there some credence to saying our work has some differences to traditional faculty members and our CA should have language that respects those differences? This is tough question for me to answer, as I see positives and negatives in both cases. (I suppose I'll really need to clarify my thoughts on the topic considering I'm the Librarian member on our Negotiating team for our CA that expires at the end of June)
Some procedural progress then that I can expound upon. Last post I mentioned that there are a few layers of committee that need to approve my application.
Level 1 was an endorsement from Library Council, "A Department, Centre or Library Council must recommend to the Committee on all applications for sabbatical leave based on the contents of the applicant’s dossier." (BROCK CA, Article 34.03). This is the usual academic process. A meeting without the candidate present where the application dossier is discussed on it's merits and how it fits the requirements of Sabbatical Leaves as outlined in the CA. A vote is held and the recommendation is sent to the University Librarian. Some details have been abbreviated but that is the gist. As this is my first Sabbatical application a portion of requirements that look at the previous sabbatical and subsequent work from that sabbatical did not apply to me.
Level 2 is a decision from the University Committee on Sabbatical Leaves. The University Librarian sends along the decision from Library Council to this body.This committee, as the name implies, is struck from across campus:
There shall be established a Committee on Sabbatical Leaves, represented by gender, which shall consist of six (6) tenured faculty members with the rank of Professor or Associate Professor, and one (1) professional librarian with the rank of Librarian III or Librarian IV, appointed jointly by the Provost and Vice-President, Academic and the President of the Union. Members applying for sabbatical leave may not serve on the Committee. Members of the Committee may not vote on applications at the Departmental or Centre level or at Library Council.
(BROCK CA, 34.02 l)
Here it is interesting to note that this decision is made by peers, well at least the bulk of the percentage is. The good new is that the committee has met and considered my application. I have received a nice formal letter from the Provost indicating that my application is successful. Making it officially official. The countdown begins, 9 months until sabbatical.
Some Observations on the Sabbatical
- As I mentioned the bulk of the process is collegial. That is to say most of the decisions are made from a body of peers. Not surprising in the least, but perhaps more of a statement that Librarians at Brock have it in good in the CA
- While on sabbatical I'll be receiving 90% of my salary. (BROCK CA, 34.02J)
- My office will be up for grabs while I'm on Sabbatical (BROCK CA, 34.02F) Once again not a surprise
- Within 3 months of returning from leave I'll need to provide a written report of what I've done (BROCK CA, 34.02h) This report will feature in subsequent Sabbatical applications
- I've already purchased the hoodie and sweatpants that I will be wearing during the course of my Sabbatical
What I'm going to do on Sabbatical (Redux.)
I tried to be coy about it last time but there is no point in being cryptic. My application dossier had two proposed plans. Plan B, would be my course of action if Plan A didn't pan out. Plan A, is/was to apply for the Master of Computer Science program here at Brock University. Deadline to apply is January 15 so as it sits now I wait to see if I've been accepted. I'll describe Plan B if it comes down to that. (I don't have the brain space to give it proper consideration now)
Preparing for the application for Grad School was great. It was a real throwback to my undergrad days. Part of the process to apply for the program at Brock is to contact Faculty members in an attempt to prearrange a thesis supervisor. Here's the strategy I took; I combined through our Digital Repository for recently completed theses in COSC, the ones with interesting topics lead my to the faculty supervisor, at that point I took a look at what the faculty members were publishing in, I then approached the faculty members with a good understanding of what they worked on and what I could possibly work on for a thesis. I should mention that coursework only is not an option for grad work in COSC. After having completed this negotiation with a potential supervisor you need to complete a 'Research Form' in which you explain your suitability as a candidate and what you intend to study, and how the degree will help you in the future. For both of my previous degrees (undergrad in COSC, & masters in library sci) no similar process was necessary. Along with other required paperwork, transcripts, references, etc. you upload all the documents in a web based system and then it is up to the fates. That's where I find myself now.
So why a Masters in COSC?
- I've participated in the academic process to some extent getting my other degrees, however I've never written a thesis. I want to earn my stripes on this.
- Similarly I need/want practice writing academic stuff. Publish or perish after all.
- Being the Liaison Librarian for COSC I want to understand the student experience of how it works here. I also want to be a better asset to the Faculty members in the department.
- I really, really, want to complete the degree for the intrinsic satsifaction involved in doing so. Pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge.
- I kinda miss grad school (ok, Library school isn't exactly 'grad school') but I like the feeling of simultaneous despair and hope for the future. Once again not really fair as I plunk down back into a full time gig once Sabbatical is done
So next post will be either be a happy one where I describe how psyched I am to start the program or a less happy one where I outline Plan B. Plan B to me is very important but I've got my hopes as high as I can make then. I wait with bated breath.