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Recharge Your Professional And Personal Activities Through An International Sabbatical

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1011.1 - 14.1011.8



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Paper Authors


Noel Schulz Mississippi State University

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Noel N. Schulz received her B.S.E.E. and M.S.E.E. degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1988 and 1990, respectively. She received her Ph.D. in EE from the University of Minnesota in 1995. From July 2001 through August 2009 she was on the faculty of the ECE department at Mississippi State University and her last position was the TVA Professor of Power Systems Engineering. Starting in August, 2009 she will be the Paslay Professor in the ECE Department at Kansas State University. Noel serves on the ASEE Board of Directors as the PIC IV Chair from 2008-2010. She has also been active in the IEEE Power & Energy Society and served as Secretary for 2004-2007 and Treasurer for 2008-2009.

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

Recharge your professional and personal activities through an International Sabbatical


Faculty careers are very demanding. The first six years we focus on activities related to tenure and promotion. Faculty are busy developing course notes, getting research programs growing, supervising graduate students, writing papers and proposals, and many other activities. After tenure, faculty members set their goal on a new prize – full professor. This has its own set of activities that can take up 50 to 60 hours a week or more. Faculty are often so busy putting out short-term professional fires that they lack time or energy for long term activities, strategic planning, advanced goal setting or reflection. Sometimes along the way faculty start to feel burned out and need a change to help them regain their enthusiasm for their chosen career.

A sabbatical provides an excellent opportunity for a faculty member to re-evaluate their professional and personal goals around their career. This paper will provide overview of one faculty member’s experience with an international sabbatical. The first part will discuss options related to planning for sabbatical, what do you need to do and when to make it happen. This part will discuss some of the questions you should ask at your university because each university has its own policies and procedures. The second part will discuss how to make arrangements for a sabbatical where you will be away from campus for a prolonged time. Suggestions on housing, transportation, must haves and other useful tips will be discussed. Hints on keeping your home research program going will be described. The last section will discuss making the most of your sabbatical and finding ways to leverage your sabbatical for future professional opportunities.


The life as a faculty member has many benefits. Working within the constraints of a university, we are our own bosses. Besides teaching responsibilities, a faculty member can pick and choose many other activities in which to participate. You can choose a variety of teaching extensions, research and scholarship activities as well as service and outreach opportunities. Some activities are chosen out of a passion by the faculty member, others help forward your career and some may be required as part of your faculty responsibilities.

There are several opportunities for promotion and advancement within the faculty ranks. After approximately five to six years a faculty member can apply for tenure and a promotion to Associate Professor. Then the next step is to continue your academic pursuits and later apply for Full Professor. Some faculty may consider going into administration related to academic administration such as a department head, dean or associate dean, while others may be interested in research or teaching leadership such as the head of a Center for Teaching and Learning or research center.

A faculty member that goes straight through to get his/her PhD may start their faculty career as early as 28 years old. With a retirement ages in the 60s, this would mean a career of 35 to 40 years as a faculty member. Because the faculty position is a fairly open ended position, typically

Schulz, N. (2009, June), Recharge Your Professional And Personal Activities Through An International Sabbatical Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5479

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