Professors need a break, too

April 26, 2010 by Shannon Ostrowsky NMSU Round Up

Most take advantage of summer vacation

New Mexico State University students are not the only ones on campus crossing off the days until summer break.

NMSU personnel said most professors take time off, while administrators are stuck working.

“I would kill to be back in faculty,” said Pookie Sautter, head of the marketing department.

Most professors in the marketing department teach one summer session, but it is unusual for them to teach all summer, Sautter said.

“The summer gives professors a chance to catch up on research and have some nice down time,” Sautter said. “And they enjoy having that little bit of leisure.”

Although she will be working over the summer, Sautter said she will take a few weeks of personal leave to travel, fish and go camping with her husband.

Sautter said she is very fortunate to work in a department where everyone gets along well, and some will definitely keep in contact over the summer.

The same does not go for the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, where most professors do not socialize with each other too much, said Nancy Howell, administrative assistant.

Professor Charles Scholz, an instructor from the journalism and mass communications department, said professors may be friends, but he would not be surprised if they do not get together over the summer.

“It’s really a chance for me to re-charge and catch up on things,” Scholz said. “I can also prepare for my classes in the fall.”

Scholz said he has not taught summer courses for the past four or five years and likes to keep it that way.

“I don’t miss [teaching over the summer]. It is a great relief and I like to take the time off,” Scholz said.

Scholz said some will teach over the summer for the extra money, but he likes to take that time to travel, read and see his kids.

While some professors use their summer time for travel and leisure, others seize the opportunity for research.

“Most of the professors from our department don’t teach over the summer and instead continue research,” said Margaret Vasquez, secretary for the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Professor Thomas Jenkins, from the Engineering and Technology Department, said he doesn’t know yet if he will be working.

“It depends if a certain job goes through,” he said.

Jenkins said he does like to do some work over the summer, but also enjoys the chance to spend time with his family and “recharge the batteries.”

“[One summer], I would like to spend three months on a sailing boat with scuba gear in the Caribbean,” Jenkins said, and he hopes to do so in the near future.

This summer, however, Jenkins said he will be conducting research on renewable energy technologies.

Sociology professor Cynthia Pelak said she also will use her time during the summer to perform research.

“I am going to be writing up research on the control and ownership of the National Civil Rights Museum,” Pelak said, and added she will work with professors from around the country.

Pelak said she also will travel to Kenya and conduct research on women’s soccer.

Even without working for money, Pelak said she prefers not to teach over the summer.

“Financially, I can swing that,” she said.

Shannon Ostrowsky is a staff writer and can be contacted at

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