Third Sabbatical's A Charm
Sabbatical 2023-2024

 

As an aging half-time academic, I figure I am down to my last professional sabbatical in life.

I believe in the intent of sabbatical, perhaps because it's been reinforced by two previous experiences. Perhaps not so much as in the pure noun definition in the Oxford dictionary:

a period of paid leave granted to a university teacher or other worker for study or travel, traditionally one year for every seven years worked.

nor in the luxurious perspective of this consideration found on Wikipedia:

A sabbatical is a rest or break from work. The concept of the sabbatical is based on the Biblical practice of shmita, which is related to agriculture. According to Leviticus 25, Jews in the Land of Israel must take a year-long break from working the fields every seven years.

No, sabbatical to me is aligned with my approach to education. Never did I not work a job during my five degrees. Usually half-time, but sometimes part-time and sometimes full-time. I believed work was an integral part of study: a place to apply the knowledge. This never worked better than when supported by a corporation or as part of a university research scientist role.

I take overdue sabbaticals when I have worked my way up the learning curve on a job, to whereby I feel I am providing ample usefulness to a team of collaborators with the existing knowledge I apply to our shared activities. I keep a half-time funding level, working on existing activities, and spend the other half pursuing goals of the sabbatical. These aims include:
  • to find a new direction in which to advance the work I am currently performing.
  • to find a new area of work in which to make a contribution.
  • to dive into areas of knowledge life has made me aware of with evidence of great significance.
  • to calm a wanderlust that had built up since the last such period.
I have found these goals to be compatible in pursuit, and have been iterating upon them for the last three years, hoping to find the best path forward for a final professional sabbatical.

Sabbatical 1 (2003-2004):

Supported by 50% FTE funding from the PRISM project at the University of Washington, which I had been working on since 1998.
  • a deep dive into immersion, distributed intelligence, and embodied cognition
  • in the context of mixed reality applications beyond virtual reality
  • such that I could better understand augmenting human intelligence and purpose
  • during seven months in the southern hemisphere (New Zealand and Australia) helping develop culture for a successful research spin-off of our Seattle-based academic lab.
Sabbatical 2 (2011-2012):

Supported by 50% FTE funding from a consultancy building websites for non-profit organizations that I started in 1995
  • a deep dive into ocean awareness as coupled with climate change modeling
  • in the context of understanding earth systems modeling and the complex information science supporting the CMIP
  • such that I could competently promote the work of climate modelers and better read their publications
  • during many investigations of climate change effects with the world's ocean in France, South Africa, Singapore, California, and Nova Scotia.
Sabbatical 3 (third time's the charm 2023-2024)

Supported by 50% FTE funding from my role as a visual analyst at CENIC.
  • a deep dive into embedding artificial intelligence (AI) into human-coupled systems
  • in the context of understanding the contribution of artificial intelligence as a positive contributor through ideation and statistical relevance
  • such that I can better contemplate the societal effect of such systems
  • during many investigations of applied AI to personal projects, collaborations, and research publications.


Tangible Sabbatical Deliverables
  • Special Journal Issue on Art+AI for Computer Graphics & Applications
  • Realistic science perspective for Barbara Kingsolver meets science fiction style novel:
    • AI
    • godwit physiology
    • device miniaturization)
  • AI injection into middle-mile fiber routing for maximum impact to unserved areas
  • (more to come)
Sabbatical Collaborations
  • U Alaska (Fairbanks)
  • Alaska Sea Grant
  • RISD/Brown/URI (AI meets art and climate change)
  • 20-year Anniversary NZ Catch-up
  • (more to come)