Sabbaticals will continue at Iowa's three state universities - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sabbaticals will continue at Iowa's three state universities

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- Dozens of professors at Iowa's public universities will get time off from teaching this year to pursue research projects under a plan approved by the Iowa Board of Regents.

Meeting by telephone, regents on Thursday approved requests by the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University to give sabbaticals to 95 professors during the budget year beginning July 1.

Most of the leaves will last one semester and give professors time to research everything from cochlear implants to free speech. Professors will visit research sites, write books and publish articles.

Republican leaders of the Iowa House have proposed canceling sabbaticals to save money.

But regents and university presidents said the "professional development assignments" are worth the cost, which is estimated at $422,000 to hire replacement teachers.

Area professors say these sabbaticals or personal development assignments are crucial to doing research and putting their school on the academic map.

University of Northern Iowa Communication Studies Professor, Chris Martin took a PDA during the fall of 2008. During his journalism history project he wrote a manuscript, two scholarly articles, two magazine articles and a major study.

"I think I got a lot of publicity for UNI so that journalism history work that I did was mentioned in a number of newspapers around the country, on MSNBC, and trade magazines in the journalism area. It would be difficult to total up the value but it actually gave a lot of attention to UNI as a faculty member who was doing all that work," said Martin.

During a PDA a professor is paid 50 percent of his or her salary. The university also gets grants for the professor's research.


Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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