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Life After Tenure: Stay Fresh Via A Sabbatical

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



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Page Numbers

6.686.1 - 6.686.4

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Glenn Blackwell

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1675

Life After Tenure: Stay Fresh Via A Sabbatical

Glenn R. Blackwell, P.E. Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 47907


The sabbatical leave is a tool which may be used by faculty members to refresh and renew themselves after at least seven years of employment. The author has taken two sabbatical leaves, each with a significantly different set of goals. This paper encourages relatively new educators to consider the sabbatical leave as a worthwhile part of their academic career.


After the tenure-and-promotion process has resulted in a tenured position, hopefully at a higher academic rank, there may be a tendency to think “I’ve made it, now I can take a break”. Well, in this author’s opinion, in the classroom is the wrong place to take a “break”. That’s why you got into the world of academia, to work hard and do well by and for your students! But the need for a break is real, and that is the purpose of a sabbatical leave.

The need for a sabbatical leave has been documented in the literature (1). University faculty typically work long hours during the academic year and in many cases during the breaks and the summer term. In addition most university faculty recognize that their ability to teach and/or do research in their chosen field is enhanced by the opportunity to involve themselves in work which is not as directly related to their academic world (2,3). The ability to be away from the campus setting can allow different views and interpretations of the topics normally pursued on campus. Other reasons for a sabbatical leave include allowing the faculty member to become part of the industrial environment, allowing better correlation between topics which are taught in the classroom and the knowledge actually used by graduates in industry (4,5).

Criteria for a sabbatical

Typically the faculty member requesting a sabbatical leave must have been employed as a faculty member for a minimum of seven years, or have worked at least seven years since a prior sabbatical leave. S/he will make a proposal to his/her department head, although there is no requirement nor need to make the proposal immediately during the seventh year. Unlike many “Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition. Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education”

Blackwell, G. (2001, June), Life After Tenure: Stay Fresh Via A Sabbatical Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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