By Shawn Morris
Christmas break provides students with an opportunity to rest and take a break from academics. Similarly, professors require a reprieve from both teaching multiple classes and working on projects on their own time.
Sabbaticals provide professors with the opportunity to take a step back from their duties for a semester. Despite what their names suggest, however, sabbaticals are not a time of complete rest for professors. They must be working on an academic project during the time.
Ross Peterson-Veatch, vice president for academic affairs, evaluates sabbatical requests. He said professors must follow an application process if they would like to go on sabbatical.
Firstly, the professor has to be eligible. The eligibility requirements vary depending on the institution, but at Southwestern, professors are required to have taught at this institution for at least seven years.
Peterson-Veatch said, “The application has to prove that taking a sabbatical will increase the professional effectiveness of the faculty member. In other words, they have to show why the time period they chose is right for a ‘time of renewal.’ ”
Lastly, classes that the faculty member is responsible have to be covered somehow. This could happen in a variety of ways. One way is to hire an adjunct professor, a professor who only teaches that one class. Another faculty member could teach the class as well.
Jacob Goodson, associate professor of philosophy, is taking a sabbatical next semester. He became eligible for sabbatical in August 2018 and his application was approved for next semester.
While on sabbatical, Goodson plans to work on two separate books. The research for the first book has been completed, his next step is to write it. The book will be covering the serenity prayer. However, the second of the two books is more of a project.
“The book will explain what is Goodson’s absolute and final take on how William James speaks to us today and how his philosophy is still relevant in today’s society,” said Goodson.
William James is the main philosopher that he has studied, and other philosophers close to Goodson strongly recommended Goodson to write what Goodson calls, “The next big book on William James.”
Goodson has written other books in the past, and has managed to write them in less time after every book. The first book took him five years to write, while the second and third books took him two years and a year and eleven months, respectively.
Goodson hopes that he can finish his latest book in five months while on sabbatical. He views this as the perfect time to take a sabbatical, because the new feeling of the school year has worn off while fatigue begins to settle in.
Peterson-Veatch and Jackson Lashier, social science division chair, agree that Southwestern will benefit by Goodson going on sabbatical.
Lashier said, “Dr. Goodson is a very good researcher and writer, and he is working on a project that has never been done before.”
Dr. Goodson would normally teach an ethics class next semester. There will be two versions of the class, taught by two different professors for a political science perspective and a business perspective. This allows students to choose the class that benefits them more. The courses will focus on how ethics can be applied within those specific fields.