ask a scatterbrain: leave

I’m on leave this fall. I’m excited. The first book is done and I’m starting a couple new projects. As both of these involve New York, I’m staying in the city. And so I have some questions about managing a leave while staying near my university. How strictly do I limit my contact with my colleagues? My students? I obviously won’t do committee work or anything like that. But is it wise to disappear completely (don’t go to talks, to workshops, etc.)? And on a more professional level, is it okay if I reject all requests to review papers, etc.? I normally never say no to a review. But I’d like this time to really work away on my own stuff…

5 thoughts on “ask a scatterbrain: leave”

  1. I can’t speak from the faculty perspective, obviously, but I think it can be devastating to a graduate student if their mentor goes on leave and becomes uncontactable. I understand not wanting to take on new responsibilities (committees, reviews, etc.) but if you have a long term commitment to a student, I think you should at least stay in touch. I’ve had friends who stalled for a semester or even a year because a key committee member refused/failed to read their work or send feedback. You don’t have to respond instantly, or agree to meet in person much if at all, but I think (especially if you are not in a far off part of the world with no phone service and bad internet connections) you should be able to keep up with your grad students’ research.

    Apart from that, I think disappearing completely is fine!

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  2. I always thought that leave meant excluding one’s self from bureaucratic responsibilities in a department but not necessarily leaving the intellectual life of the department.

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  3. I need help with this exact issue as well; so I’m looking forward to other responses!

    Brayden’s comment is interesting; esp. in light of the fact that I keep being advised to not be around campus, or I’ll get sucked into things.

    I’m not sure how to balance things if I stay around…

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  4. Hide, if you can. Find someone in another department who is also on leave in fall and see if he or she wants to temporarily swap offices. This will get you out of the department and eliminate walk-in (drive-by?) questions or conversations. Meet with your students at a coffee shop or the library, not your temporary office or the department.

    Whatever you do, don’t attend faculty meetings.

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