SHU encourages professor’s sabbatical research
The Office of the Provost recently published the Sabbatical Panorama of 2011-2012, celebrating the accomplishments of Seton Hall’s faculty. The University has been publishing these panoramas since the 1995-96 academic year, according to the Provost’s office.
The panorama serves as a way to “celebrate sabbatical work as a strategic element of our academic enterprise.”
The most recent Sabbatical Panorama, which highlights projects from the 2011-12 academic year, features summaries of the research of 22 faculty members. Each professor gives a short introduction to their research, why they chose it how they went about conducting it, and any conclusions they might have reached while away on sabbatical.
Many professors use sabbatical as a chance to work on books or research that they have already been doing extensive research on. According to the Seton Hall’s faculty guide, professors must have been employed full-time for at least six years before they can become eligible for sabbatical, and professors typically go on sabbatical every six years, with a minimum of four years between each sabbatical.
Once they are eligible, a professor has to apply for sabbatical leave, which gets approved by the head of the department, the dean of the college and ultimately the Office of the Provost.
Sabbaticals are approved based on “the university’s financial ability to meet its continuing obligation to provide a balanced, quality academic program to its student body,” according to the guide.
Professors can choose to go on sabbatical for either one year or one semester. If they choose to take a semester leave, they receive their full pay. If they choose to take a year of leave, they receive three-quarters of their salary.
Dr. Kelly Goedert, associate professor and director of Graduate Studies within the psychology department, was one of the faculty members featured in the panorama. She left for a year to complete research on the neural mechanisms of spatial cognition. Her work concerned right-brain stroke patients who ignore the left side of their face. These patients would ignore any food that would be on the left of their plate or any people standing to their left. Some struggled to hear people talking to them from their left.
She also studied healthy, younger people who generally favor their left. Goedert said that some of her funding was came from federal sources, but that getting funds for sabbatical research can be very competitive.
While some work can be done without funding, Goedert said that working with bigger groups does require a financial aspect.
According to Goedert, there are some projects that end up getting dropped because they are not able to secure funding. Despite not having sufficientfunding to travel, Goedert said that she worked with Italian scientists, and hopes to continue the collaboration during her next sabbatical. However, she was able to visit conferences to present her findings.
“Sabbatical is a good opportunity to focus on one thing. Faculty members have a lot going on with research, teaching and faculty commitments, and sabbatical is a good opportunity to focus on research.”
Elena Vitullo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.