All posts by Nels P. Highberg


Sabbatical Diary: A Day of Nothing

nothingIn this sabbatical diary, I (and some great commenters) have discussed the best ways to create a productive work environment when you get that deeply-deserved time away from campus.  Today, though, I want to write about the opposite: a day where you do as close to nothing as possible.  Jason has written about the power outage in Connecticut.  Believe me, I was quite grateful for the fellowship that gave me, and my husband, a place to stay while our home went twelve days without power.  T…


Sabbatical Diary: When and Where to Work

CalendarIn previous entries of my sabbatical diary, one topic that arose was how to handle expansive periods of unstructured time.  It’s an area with which I had a lot of concern when I started, for sure.  I don’t have a history of working well when I have huge blocks of time.  On a previous post, englishwlu offered some great suggestions on this point.  I really do not have much to add to those points except to emphasize the need for flexibility and experimentation in both what you do when and wh…


Sabbatical Diary: The Shadow of Self-Doubt

While previous entries in my sabbatical diary have been more like traditional ProfHacker posts offering a few bits of advice and asking for more, this one is more like a diary because it’s been in my head as I’ve been on fellowship. I think it might also get at some of the points mentioned in a comment to my last post from “an interdisciplinary scholar on a non-traditional career path with tremendous self-doubt.” I could have written that sentence–at least the interdisciplinary, self-doubt par…


Sabbatical Diary: Finding Grants and Fellowships

Money Puzzle In last month’s installment to my sabbatical diary, I discussed general ways to prepare financially if your sabbatical involves a paycut.  In this month’s installment, I want to shift to another financial aspect of sabbatical life: fellowships and grants.  First, we need to make sure we can pay our bills and handle our basic commitments to ourselves and our families.  Once we have set ourselves up to do that, we then need to see what money we can find to enable us to do the research or …


Sabbatical Diary: Preparing Financially

Calculator and Money In this third part of my sabbatical diary, I want to focus on one of the most important parts of the sabbatical: the money. At my institution, a semester-long sabbatical comes with full salary.  A year-long sabbatical comes with a forty percent pay cut.  Many universities make it a fifty percent pay cut.  Many of us who dream of a year away from campus know we have to think carefully about how we will handle that financially, and here are few thoughts.

  • Talk to Someone in Human Resources …

Sabbatical Diary: Starting from a Strong Foundation

Stone Foundation Last month, I kicked off what will be a year-long series on life during a sabbatical. In today’s post, I hope to generate some discussion about what you can do before a sabbatical begins so you start off smoothly and easily. I spent a couple of months before mine started this month doing a few things I will outline below, and I hope readers will contribute more suggestions in the comments.

  • Decide What Projects You Will Work on and When. When you applied for your sabbatical, you probably ha…

Sabbatical Diary: What They Are and How to Apply for One

Drowning Over the next year, I will be cutting back my ProfHacker posts to one per month as I will be on sabbatical.  Since our goal here at PH is to talk about ways of handling various aspects of academic life for diverse people from a range of perspectives, I plan to make that post part of a series on sabbaticals, including what they are and how to use them as effectively as possible while seeking feedback from readers about how their experiences compare.  In this first installment, it makes s…


My Magnetic Bulletin Board

My Magnetic Bulletin BoardLast summer, Erin wrote about how and why she converted one of the walls in her home into a giant chalkboard.  I have always wanted to have a large, metal bulletin board in my office.  When people asked me why I wanted one, I never could give an answer.  I just wanted a big space where I could play and organize.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m very right-brained, which means I like to have things out in the open rather than in files or drawers (whether physical or digital).  I already have …


Communicating While Apart

Family in the Backyard As anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook is probably aware, I bought an iPod Touch a couple of weeks ago, and I have been playing with a lot of the apps that ProfHacker has written about over the years.  I bought it because I am going to be on sabbatical next year and living away from my husband for three months while I am on a research fellowship.  When I was working on my PhD, cell phones were still charging by the minute, and we racked up $300 phone bills each month as I went…


The Notebook

The NotebookOh, I am not talking about the movie.  I love a good tearjerker, but I actually have not seen it.  I am talking about ordinary spiral notebooks and how they have helped me with administrative tasks.

In the first year of my doctoral program, I was invited to join the writing program as one of three graduate assistants.  On the first day of the semester, we met with the director and the associate director.  They gave us each a medium-sized spiral notebook.  They told us to keep these on …