The Importance of Sabbatical Leave for Scholarly Production


John D. Holst, Associate Professor
Department of Leadership, Policy and Administration

Stephen Brookfield and I wrote a book called Radicalizing Learning: Adult Education for a Just World. We were notified recently that the book won the 2011 Cyril O. Houle World Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education given annually by the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE). Since most of the research I conducted for my portion of the book was done during my Fall 2007 sabbatical, Ann Johnson asked if I would write a few paragraphs explaining the importance of my sabbatical in the writing of the book.

The goal of my sabbatical was to engage in primary document research on the educational research practices and theoretical perspectives in a number of contemporary and past social movements in the U. S. and abroad. Since much of my sabbatical work was library-based research, I requested a study room in the OSF library. I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I was to have the quiet and dedicated space in the library for my sabbatical. In my library study room and at the microfilm viewer, I spent long but fruitful hours dutifully identifying units of data from archival documents, autobiographies, and edited collections of primary social movement documents. I simply could not have accomplished this without a release from the demands of teaching and service.

In the book, we take a broad, social movement approach to the various aspects of adult education. Without the time of a sabbatical, I could not have written descriptions of social movement-based educational practices, nor could I have identified and written about the goals and principles of the educational aspects of social movements.

I am honored to have won the Cyril O. Houle World Award for our book Radicalizing Learning and I know I could not have written my parts of the book without my sabbatical leave or the resources and support provided by our library.

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