Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summer Ends, Sabbatical Begins

Alas, summer comes to a crashing halt this weekend.  It is already over for some of my friends who had classes start last week (or even the week before!).  Sure, I am on sabbatical, so one could think of it as perpetual summer.   But you would be wrong.  Being on sabbatical does not make one immune to deadlines, which are the stuff of the academic year (deadlines in summer?  that would be so wrong).

But even for the sabbatical person, summer's end is apparent.  I have had to respond to those deadlines that arrive at the end of summer.  I have managed to complete the letters of recommendation for those on the academic job market.  I have completed two of three tenure/promotion letters I have written for candidates elsewhere.  The last one was requested very recently.  I have read the papers that I am to discuss later this week for the American Political Science Association meeting in Philadelphia.

Ah, that one.  Yes, until the 2020's, APSA will remain the official end of summer for me.  The date is moving thanks to a political movement inside the professions that disliked the family unfriendliness of spending Labor Day weekend with political scientists and not family.  With my kid in college, the timing is not problematic, and I have been spending the last twenty plus years worth of Labor Days at the APSA's, those with fire and those without.  Sure, I have missed a couple.  I did support the change in dates, and am thrilled to see it has come with a return to an old venue--Seattle in 2021!

Anyhow, the new countdown is a month until I go off to Japan.  Which means I am already behind on the various goals I have for my sabbatical.  Of course, it hasn't really felt like a sabbatical yet since my July and August were entirely the same with one minor exception--no syllabi preparation for the fall.  However, the sabbatical will kick in next week when my colleagues are going to orientation, various meetings, and as classes start.

I may blog less as I try to focus on preparing for the research ahead.  I will probably blog a lot once in Japan since I will be experiencing a fascinating place and have much to report.  And I will have more time to myself since I will be by myself for 3/4s of it, I will probably not find that much on TV to distract me, and twitter will be less time-occupying since I will be out of sync with those I follow.

Enjoy your end of summer festivities while I join the rest of political science in my sweaty hometown.  I hope there are a few steak sandwiches left!

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