Sabbatical is Not Just One Big Holiday ...

Robbie's currently on sabbatical - or long study leave. But what is it? And what exactly is Robbie meant to be accomplishing on all these trips to the US and Europe and Sydney and Groote Eylandt?

Well, according to Wikipedia a sabbatical is:
'a ceasing [of] work, or hiatus.' 
But it also says - hidden a paragraph or two later - that in modern times a sabbatical is:
'any extended absence in the career of someone in order to achieve something.'
Uh oh. So there are expectations.

At UQ, a sabbatical is granted every 3 to 5 years - and gives academics 6 months off from administrative and teaching duties. There is an expectation that the academic will use this time wisely - to collaborate with researchers overseas, or undertake extended field trips, or write a book, or punch out half a dozen publications or so. Basically, it's time to catch up on all those things that an academic is supposed to be doing (in between teaching and supervising and sitting on committees).

The academic-on-sabbatical doesn't actually have to leave home - but getting out of town does make it easier to leave office stresses behind and focus.

On his sabbatical, Robbie will attend two overseas conferences; collaborate with researchers in Sydney and France and Phoenix; finish up those 20 or so papers that currently hang in various states of completion/submission/revision; begin writing a book on maximising soccer performance; make two jaunts field trips to Groote Eylandt; and various other duties that will enhance his career and make his life easier when he returns to full-on duties in February.

So there you have it: what a sabbatical is, where you can still get one, and what you might like to do while you're on it. Not bad, hey?