The first day of the Fall Semester is one of my most favorite days of the year. To me, it represents a fresh start. I love welcoming new students into my classes and can feel the excitement and energy in the air as I walk around campus. This year, however, is quite different for me. I am on sabbatical this fall. The first day of the semester came and went for me with little difference than any other day and certainly with less fanfare than usual for the start of the Fall Term.
While on sabbatical, I’ll still be quite busy even though I won’t be teaching. I’m under contract to author two books, and so I’ll be diligently writing them over the next few months. I’m also working on determining the feasibility of putting together a simulation lab for our Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program. And, over the next few weeks, I’ll be guest-editing a special issue of the Measuring Business Excellence journal. And of course, I’ll still be attending meetings for my roles as a graduate director, member of the Faculty Council and within the McKenna school.
Even though I had more than enough to stay busy during my sabbatical, I had planned to do some traveling to present my research and talk about my two books that came out last Spring. My travels almost brought me to England (to present at Oxford, no less, which is one of my life goals) and throughout the US. But unfortunately, due to Covid remaining a threat, those have all been changed to virtual events. So, I’ll be presenting at a half dozen online sessions from the comfort of my couch or office instead.
The best thing about no classes or travel is that my schedule can be a lot more flexible, and I’m so excited to spend some extra time with my daughter and wife. I’ll miss having the opportunity to travel, and I’ll miss teaching, but I know that working on the projects I have lined up over the next few weeks and months will make me a better teacher when I return to classes in January.
Of course, I’ll still be writing my blogs while on sabbatical, too. For now, I wish everyone returning to campus healthiness and a great learning experience, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Dr. Mike Urick