Green's Sabbatical Plans

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Kapic might need to find another colleague to pick on during Chapel introductions next semester: the well-loved professor and colleague Dr. Jay D. Green will not be around for Fall 2015. Dr. Green, a Professor of History who has been on the faculty since 1998, is taking a semester-long sabbatical next fall.

Having taken two sabbaticals previously within his seventeen years of teaching, Green proposed for an early sabbatical this time. “If you have a book contract, you can usually apply for an early sabbatical,” Green explained. Green has a book that is coming out soon called “Christian Historiography,” which is about approaches to history that are informed by faith. Even though he has written in journals and magazines and edited a couple of books, “Christian Historiography” will be his first full, solo book.

Another thing that Green is excited to do during his sabbatical is reading all the new books that have been piling up on his list. Green writes essays and book reviews on the books he reads. “I’m also starting a new book project which is going to be on something called public history,” Green said. Green is also using the opportunity to “spruce up” his classes.

Faculty members of Covenant College are qualified to apply for a sabbatical every seventh year of teaching. However, “it’s not a guarantee, because you need to propose some kind of a project that will make your time outside of the classroom worthwhile,” Green explained. “It’s not a ‘semester off’ when you don’t do anything.”

Faculty members usually get one semester of paid sabbatical. Some professors stretch the sabbatical to a year, getting paid partially for each semester, and find grants to make up for it. Some professors even teach half of their normal class load to stretch their sabbatical. “But that doesn’t really feel like a sabbatical,” Green commented.

Green believes that sabbaticals help attract prospective faculty members to Covenant. After all, as Green said, it’s “a bit of a sacrifice coming to a teaching-intensive place” like Covenant. Research and writing are considered part of faculty’s work, but along with teaching, it’s hard to focus on these other aspects of the job. That’s why a sabbatical “is really quite a wonderful thing to have,” Green remarked. About three to four professors take sabbaticals each semester, partly because with the size of the faculty in Covenant sabbaticals have to be spread out.

Green explained that part of the proposal of a sabbatical is presenting how your normal classes will be covered. With four colleagues in the history department, Green said that the history department can usually absorb the absence of one professor. “It’s harder in departments where there are only one or two people,” Green observed.

Green is hoping that he will be a better professor “after having a semester of becoming more knowledgeable, more well-rested, and more connected to my discipline.” Coming back after his previous sabbaticals, Green recalled that he became more energized and excited about teaching. “It actually serves my teaching because I’m able to have a richer understanding of my discipline.”

For students waiting to take Green’s classes in the spring, it might well be worth the wait after all.