starting a new year…

it is time to think about starting a new year. i wouldn’t normally put such an emphasis on this, except that the end of 2011 marks many changes for me. for the last three years, part of my work time has been allocated to a faculty learning and teaching position, where i have been working with a lovely group of people from across the university in promoting learning and teaching research and practice, and trying to find ways to help my colleagues obtain funding and support for new approaches or tools that they wish to try. this has been a great position, and i have very much enjoyed it, but now it is time for a change.

next year, i will be taking as study leave – no administration, no teaching, just research. i am very much looking forward to this as well, but as very well aware that this means that my world will contract in some ways, as it expands in others. such a quick and somewhat abrupt change in focus will be challenging, i expect.

over the past few months, i have been trying to wrap as many loose ends as i can – completing projects, handing over tasks, and trying to not leave too many things incomplete. so things have been a little busier than usual (i think i keep saying that, don’t i?), but with little actual real output. in fact, i think in many ways, it has made it painfully clear how little one actually does get done in a year!

i am looking forward to having much more free time. i still have work to do (!), but it will be very much at my own pace. i am no longer squeezing in an extra day a week, or sitting on (what feels like) a hundred committees. i will miss that too – working on so many different tasks at one time has its own inherent challenge and sense of enjoyment. and being able to swap tasks when one becomes painful, or is “not the right thing to do at the time” is a very easy habit to adopt.

study leave presents its own challenges – some of which i am aware of after my last study leave, although that was a long time ago, much shorter in duration, and i was also working more for other people rather than working on my own research. i suspect i will be sharing some of those challenges as the year progresses.

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