A sabbatical is a break, a rest, designed to recharge people from whatever it is they do. In academia, it's aim is to reenergize faculty in their careers - often offered about once every 6 years, for a period of one semester or a full year (for partial pay).
In February 2020, I put in my application for tenure and promotion at Arizona State University, and soon thereafter (in the deep of early Covid-19 pandemic), started trying to plan for a potential sabbatical. I did not know how long the pandemic would last, but wanted to try to plan for the future and look forward to something to hope for as a way to cope with the stresses and uncertainties of the world.
For years, I'd been saving in an e-folder potential sabbatical funding opportunities to refer back to when it was time. I applied for every opportunity I could as I looked for sabbatical possibilities, including a possible stint as a program officer for the National Science Foundation, science and technology fellowships with the AAAS, an executive branch fellowship by the American Psychological Association, a few specialized institutes and centers at Ivy League schools, and my dream goal of a Fulbright scholarship. I ended up applying for 11 different positions/fellowships in summer and fall of 2020 for a potential 2021/2022 sabbatical (if my tenure bid was successful, and if pandemic allowed for it). I was rejected outright from 8 of these applications, with finalist selection interviews for 3: one with Fulbright to go to Australia for 4 months, one to work in the executive branch in Washington DC for a year, and one to serve as a program officer for the National Science Foundation in Washington DC for a year (or maybe two). While one of these didn't work out, another was awarded, and I withdrew from the third once I knew about the Fulbright award.
The Fulbright timeline / application process:
What is Fulbright all about?
Trying to align timelines....in a pandemic.
Tess M.S. Neal
Sharing my sabbatical adventure in Australia with my partner and our two young boys. We are staying in Sydney for 4 months on a Fulbright Scholar Award.