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Professors to lose sabbatical

As a part of the university’s financial plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic, president Gary Roberts announced in an email to all staff that sabbatical would be postponed.

As Bradley University makes significant changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also postponing sabbaticals, a period of time where professors take paid time off from teaching to focus on projects such as writing books or research that helps with their field of study.

“Under the current crisis, funds used to support sabbaticals have been designated as non-essential,” the office of the provost said in a statement. “To allow sabbaticals and not hire part-time faculty would compromise the number of courses needed for the 2020-2021 [school year]. Therefore, postponing sabbaticals is an important part of preparing for the negative financial consequences of COVID-19.” 

The office of the provost said in the statement that faculty who are currently on sabbatical are unaffected, but those who had been approved for a sabbatical during the upcoming school year have been ordered to postpone their sabbatical until 2021-2022. Faculty members who had to postpone their upcoming 2020-2021 sabbaticals will satisfy their full-time responsibilities under the terms of their contracts.

“For individual faculty members, it will likely result in the delay of at least some of their plans around their research or creative activity,” The office of the Provost said in the statement.

According to the office of the provost, there were 15 professors on sabbatical from 2017-2018, 18 from 2018-2019 and 24 from 2019- 2020.

Joshua Dickhaus, an associate professor of sports communication, said he had to change his plans with the news of the sabbatical postponements, as he was planning to go onbe on sabbatical this spring.

“Due to some curricular work we were planning to do with sports [communication], I postponed that sabbatical with the approval of my chair, my dean and the provost,” Dickhaus said. “The plan was for me to possibly have my sabbatical in the spring of 2021 or maybe fall of 2021. Now, with what COVID-19 has done, I am not sure when I will take that sabbatical.”

Dickhaus said he was planning to write a book over his sabbatical with friends from Alabama University’s mass communication doctoral program. Although the cancelation does impact him, he said it is nothing that he cannot work through.

“I don’t think it negatively impacts us in the long term,” Dickhaus said. “We are not alone, every university in the world is having to deal with the impact of this virus. It will just take time and when the impact of the virus has passed, sabbaticals will return.”

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