Probably a cliche to start a new blog on New Year’s Day, but oh well.

January 1, 2015 marks the start of my sabbatical, which seems like as good a time as any to start trying to blog more regularly. I expect this blog will be mostly related to my professional interests, since my personal interests are likely not of interest to that many people.

So, what am I planning to do on my sabbatical? Well, research of course. I need to finish up a couple of papers started-but-not-quite-finished by MSc students. I want to work with my current grad students on their projects. I also want to do some work on my own, in particular figuring out how to better organize and analyze observations of nearby galaxies. More on this later. I am contemplating whether to propose a Gemini Large Program, something I never felt that I had time for before. But I suppose I should reduce my 2013 data first!

I also plan quite a bit of reflection. The first order of business is to do some reflection on the courses I’ve just finished teaching; watch this space for that. Then I want to think hard about my future career direction. Being a professor is a job with a lot of potential to do good in the world, and I want to figure out how to best apply my efforts to that end. Are my talents, such as they are, best applied in research, teaching, administration, or something else? I’m planning to talk to folks with different positions inside and outside academia, some of whom I expect I’ll meet through Software Carpentry and also through an effort to read more blogs. I want to know what they (dis)like about their positions and how they got there. I hope this will help clarify my own goals.

I wish you a wonderful 2015!