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My Experience On An International Sabbatical

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



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Page Numbers

4.397.1 - 4.397.7

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David A. Sabatini

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

Session 3675

My Experience On An International Sabbatical

David A. Sabatini School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019


Shortly after receiving tenure many faculty are eligible for a sabbatical leave at their home university, at another US university or research facility, or at an international location. Typical sabbatical policies allow for one semester of leave with full pay or two semesters of leave with half pay. Taking a sabbatical leave away from the home university raises a number of questions. How will the sabbatical leave positively and negatively impact a research program? Will the benefits of a sabbatical leave outweigh the disruption to work and family life? Does an international sabbatical involve additional complications? In this paper I will discuss factors to consider when applying for a sabbatical leave. I will describe some of the transitional issues which were faced as well as discuss the professional benefits realized during my sabbatical leave. I will share the challenges I experienced as a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the Universitaet Tuebingen (Angewandte Geologie), Germany and the advantages experienced in our family life.

I. Introduction

The concept of a sabbatical year dates back to the Old Testament where ancient Jews were told that every seventh year their fields should be left untilled, debts were to be forgiven, etc. More recently, an academic sabbatical year is defined as “a year, usually every seventh year, of freedom from teaching, granted to a professor, as for study or travel”. In both cases, the sabbatical year is intended to be a year of renewal and rejuvenation.

II. Background

To quote from the OU Faculty Handbook “Sabbatical leaves of absence are among the most important means by which an institution’s academic program is strengthened, a faculty member’s teaching effectiveness enhanced, and scholarly usefulness enlarged. The major purpose is to provide opportunity for continued professional growth and new or renewed intellectual achievement through study, research, writing, and training.”

Sabbatical leave policies typically allow a faculty person to take a sabbatical every seven years of service. Generally the sabbatical can be taken for one semester with full pay or two semesters with half pay. Faculty are typically encouraged to take a sabbatical at a remote site. A variety of settings are possible including industry, a government research laboratory, an international university or another university in the U.S. On occasion faculty remain at

Sabatini, D. A. (1999, June), My Experience On An International Sabbatical Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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