Gas station without pumps

2015 December 8

Sabbatical plans for 2016–17

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 17:04
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In Considering splitting Applied Electronics course, I suggested that I would split the Applied Electronics for Bioengineers course into two courses next year, to make a more sane teaching/learning schedule, and said “I plan to take 1 quarter of sabbatical in each of 2016–17, 2017–18, and 2019–20 (or, at slightly reduced sabbatical salary, every year for the next 5 years).”

I’ve investigated this possibility some more, consulting with my department chair and department manager, along with other faculty in my department.  My plan is now to take sabbatical at 2/3 pay for Fall quarter next year and teach the Applied Electronics courses the other two quarters (plus the freshman design seminar one of the two quarters). The department would have to cover the grad courses I currently teach, but those are relatively easy to transition to other faculty, as about half the department has the requisite expertise.  There is even a lecturer who has taught the main course before (the last time I was on sabbatical), and the other half course is fairly easy to teach, as it can be adapted to interests of whoever is teaching it.

Initially I was worried that my taking sabbatical would hurt the department financially, because the department does not get any funding for replacing people on sabbatical leave.  But it turns out that if I take only partial pay while on sabbatical, the department gets the remaining salary, so if I take sabbatical at 2/3 pay for a quarter, the department gets 1/9 of my 9-month salary that it can spend on lecturers or TAs.  Because I’m paid more than a lecturer, that covers 1.5–2 courses of lecturer pay, which is about what I’m not teaching. So I won’t be putting the department in a financial bind by doing this.

I don’t think that I’ll miss the 1/9th of my salary, since I no longer am saving for my son’s college education, and my retirement funds have enough money in them for my planned retirement date.  If I do decide I need more money, I can teach in summer school, where each course would earn me 1/9th of my salary (or so I’ve been told).

My plans for next fall are mainly focused on finishing the textbook, which will probably include splitting it into two volumes, to correspond to the two halves of the course.  Because the course is also moving from upper division to lower division, and the prerequisites are being reduced, I’ll need to increase somewhat the background material, and rewrite it from “you should already know these things” to “background to learn very quickly”. I still don’t know whether I’ll try to get a traditional publisher to pick up the book or just continue to self-publish through Leanpub.  I’ll probably do some more investigation of that question over the summer and fall.

Over the next 5 years, I want to find some lecturers  (or faculty in other departments) who want to teach the Applied Electronics course, so that I can retire without the course disappearing.  It would make sense for the course to be renumbered to be in a different department (like Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering), if instructors were provided by those departments.

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