My sabbatical time officially came to a close last week with the move of my office into the main Strategic Communication office at TCU – my role as Department Chair will begin in a few short weeks so July will be spent trying to get back into the swing of things. Luckily, my new spot is peaceful, air-conditioned, and has a sliver of a view.
The last three months of my sabbatical time were productive with regard to research and planning for the Fall semester – my department chair training has been completed, finally received the go ahead on an upcoming paper in Internet Research, and started a new project analyzing the #deletefacebook phenomenon that occurred earlier this year. I am thrilled to be working on this new project with my mentor from UT Austin – makes me feel like a grad student again which always makes me better with deadlines!
July will be a busy month with a conference presentation on communication planning in Nashville for the National Association of County Information Officers followed by the Certified Public Communicator week on campus at the end of the month. During this week, there will be 50 public communicators at TCU to learn about digital first planning, crisis communication, measurement, and media management. I am looking forward to spending another year learning from these valuable government communicators.
As I look back on my sabbatical time, here are a few things that I would recommend for faculty about to take one (or for myself before the next one!):
- Try to front load your projects so you have more spare time in months 3 and 4
- Don’t give yourself too many deadlines – leave time to explore new ideas
- Take time for your personal life – get things done that could never happen while trying to get tenure (i.e. a financial plan, a will, a garden!)
- Travel and catch up with family – it’s much more enjoyable when you are relaxed
- Read things that don’t matter – step away from the journal articles at some point
- Stick to a relatively normal schedule so things don’t go completely off the rails
- Enjoy it – that next semester will be coming at you faster than you think
That’s all for now – I’ll be reporting from TCU sometime in the next few weeks.