San Antonio Sabbatical

Getting Prepared

Posted on: July 11, 2010

As the weeks of summer continue to pass by, my excitement and anxiety continue to grow.  OMG!  What have I gotten myself into?  While I have moved a few times in my life, both for school and for work, my last move was over a decade ago.  Like many people, I do not enjoy the process of moving.  However, once I’m settled in I’m fine.  On the positive side, this move to Texas is only temporary (four months) so I won’t have to endure a total packing.  Nevertheless, it’s still stressful.

I still don’t have a place to live.  The ad I placed in my college’s alumnae magazine resulted in zero replies.  Speaking to colleagues and friends about my plans and hearing their suggestions has been helpful.  I’ve been browsing the ads on Craigslist — and trying to weed out the perverts — and found a couple of possibilities that seem promising.  Hopefully this will all come together next week when I make a visit to San Antonio for the purpose of finding a furnished room or apartment to rent for the semester.  I plan to check out the newspaper classifieds, visit real estate offices, and follow up on Internet listings so that I can view in person the advertised accommodations.  Wish me luck!

Another part of this process involves making preparations for my current apartment — mail, newspaper, security, etc.  There are many details to which I must attend if I want my sabbatical to go smoothly.  Some of these — for example, budget, location, and language ability — I already considered at the time of my application as I had to secure the necessary approvals for this paid leave of absence.

It took me a few years to find a sabbatical activity that was interesting, appropriate, and reasonable to complete within one semester.  I also had to connect it to my job and show how my sabbatical would benefit the university and its students.  After all, this is a professional academic endeavor which I have earned and not a luxury vacation.

Here’s the abstract from my sabbatical application:

The attached sabbatical proposal falls within the “Continuing Scholarly Growth” area on which faculty members are evaluated, and would also enhance the fulfillment of my “Counseling Responsibilities”.  Given the increasing diversity of the United States’ population, and of Bloomsburg University students, it is important for psychologists to have an understanding of many cultural variables and to be well versed in a variety of effective counseling techniques.  The purpose of my sabbatical is to gain more knowledge about how to provide appropriate and effective counseling services to Hispanic/Latino populations.  I would enroll in two on-site graduate-level courses (i.e., either two lecture courses or one lecture and one practicum), at least one of which would be taught in Spanish, that is offered by Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.  These courses are part of their Psychological Services for Spanish-Speaking Populations (PSSSP) certificate curriculum.

To this application I attached supporting materials to show my years of Spanish study as well as my level.  I was certified at the Intermediate-Mid level of oral Spanish proficiency by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.  This ACTFL rating is a requirement I had to meet in order for OLLU to grant me permission to take their PSSSP courses.

One of my favorite subscriptions is that to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the weekly newspaper about colleges and universities and their students and employees.  Over the years there have been stories about faculty sabbaticals from which I gathered ideas, resources, and solutions.

Two sabbatical books that I have found helpful and that I highly recommend are:

(1) Sabbaticals 101: A Practical Guide for Academics & Their Families by Nancy Matthews (New Forums Press, Inc., 2008)

(2) Six Months Off: How to Plan, Negotiate, and Take the Break You Need Without Burning Bridges or Going Broke by Hope Dlugozima, James Scott, and David Sharp (Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1996).

So this is the “setting the stage” post that provides some background on what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.  I should mention that this blog is not part of my official sabbatical project.  It is my own independent undertaking.  I’m a nonfiction writer so I want to write.  However, I never thought I’d be a blogger.  But times have changed, and so has the world of publishing, and blogging is the popular online medium for communication.  Please be patient with me as I explore this new arena.

Feel free to LINK to this blog.  Request my permission if you wish to publish any or all of it in any format.  Copyright laws apply.

Finally, a slightly off-topic note:  Congratulations to Spain for winning its first World Cup soccer title!!!  This just happened a few minutes ago in South Africa as I was watching their game against the Netherlands on television while typing this blog post.  A week ago I returned from Spain (where I completed another month of language study) and while there got to witness the joy and pride that fans showed for their team.  This championship title is a great victory for Spain and I share in their happiness.  Felicitaciones!!!

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