Sabbatical Resources and Ideas Sought


A philosophy professor at a small liberal arts college with his first sabbatical on the horizon writes in seeking advice about “resources and best practices for sabbatical planning.”

[Tomma Abts, “Heit” (detail)]

Reader recommendations regarding the following would be appreciated:

  • listings of about sabbatical fellowships
  • particular fellowships especially suited for philosophers
  • how to obtain a visiting position at another institution
  • opportunities for working on short-term projects at other institutions
  • research and travel funding
  • advice about timelines and other aspects of sabbatical planning

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

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Fritz Allhoff
5 months ago

I bet a lot of people have good ideas on the rest, but I’d mention sabbaticalhomes.com as a pretty awesome resource; I’ve used it for a few sabbaticals to set up housing exchanges. (Both to find a place to stay and to get someone in my empty house.)

I’d also suggest figuring out where you want to go, and then looking to make connections. “Applying” for fellowships is a lot of work, with a pretty low “win” rate. If you pick a university you want to visit, maybe they have some funding for you to teach a little. Fulbright Specialist programs are also pretty cool if you’re looking to go international.Report

Mark van Roojen
5 months ago

FWIW, the Republican “tax cuts” of the Trump regency made most employee work related expenses non-deductible. This makes it more expensive to live away from home for work. And this makes going away harder. DAMHIKTIT.Report

Mary Poppins
5 months ago

If you want your sabbatical to “count”, to make a difference to your career, I think you should aim to go somewhere – even if it costs you personally. First, you need a break from the regular work place. Second, you need to be somewhere stimulating (so do not pick a dud place). Third, you need to grow and learn – you need to acquire new competencies or new knowledge (maybe even sit in on a seminar). I did all of this – it was quite costly, given my own institution paid only part of my salary – and it has really helped me. I moved into new areas of research, and engaged with people in other disciplines, I produced some very good work, and I was even able to move permanently.Report

Peter Suber
5 months ago

I once started a sabbatical planning to finish a handful of articles. I was hot on the topics and raring to go. But at the same time, I had a flickering interest in a new topic. Once I was free, I surprised myself by pushing the unfinished articles aside and diving into the apparently lesser new interest. It became a passion and eventually a new and more gratifying career. (I wasn’t looking for a new career; I was a tenured full professor at the time, happy with my field, my institution, my courses, my students, and my colleagues.) I encourage you to take full advantage of your freedom to explore new topics, new ideas, and new interests. Give otherwise impossible amounts of time to this exploration. You’re very lucky. You don’t have this opportunity during a regular academic year. Precarious academics and non-academics never have it at all.Report