During winter break, activities may vary between Lassie reruns, Oreo cookies with milk, sleeping in until 2 p.m. and family visits.
But for some Temple professors, holiday break can also mean other things, for instance, examining bones to understand the cellular structure for determining growth patterns in alligators.
“I have a number of projects running now on various animals,” said Allison
Tumarkin-Deratzian, a first-year lecturer in the Geology Department. Besides alligators, Deratzian will also be studying fossilized birds during winter break.
While many professors at Temple said they enjoy their break through the same outlets as students, some faculty members will be utilizing their free time for personal projects and research.
Deratzian said she will spend much of her time during the break catching up on her biological research projects. Because she teaches two lecture classes during the semester, it’s sometimes difficult for her to find time for her own personal endeavors.
“I’m at the image analysis stage right now,” Deratzian said of her research.
“Photographs, looking at [samples] under the microscope, taking more pictures [and] learning how to use incredibly complicated software to do digital image manipulation.”
But it’s not all work.
“We do have lives,” Deratzian said. “The period between the end of the semester and probably New Year’s, I’ll get some writing done. But really, there’s family obligations.
It’s not going to be all that different from what many students will be doing.”
On Nov. 29, President Ann Weaver Hart sent an e-mail to students and faculty announcing that at the end of this year, the university will be closed from Dec. 22 through Jan. 1.
University employees will be gaining three paid days off, and employees who are still required to work during those days will receive compensatory time pay.
Quincy Jones, an adjunct professor in the English department, may be the faculty member who has the most in common with students.
Jones summed up the first few days of his vacation with four simple words: “a lot of sleeping.”
But besides plenty of sleep, Jones also has other activities planned on his winter break agenda.
“My family celebrates Christmas, so as soon as I finish [the semester], I usually take a little siesta, and then I have to do a mass amount of shopping,” Jones said.
Aside from holiday obligations, Jones will also be visiting the Modern Language Association conference in Philadelphia from Dec. 27 to 30. Because he said he regrets missing the convention two years ago, this year it is something that is definitely on his agenda.
On top of all that, Jones will also attempt to fit in a book or two, but he won’t be reading them.
“I’ve got several poetry manuscripts in the process,” Jones said. “One I wanted to finish up before break, but that’s not going to happen. Right now one is about 35 pages. I need it to be about 60 so that I can edit it down to about 50. Then I can start sending it out to places and advertising it.”
According to Jones, winter break is really one of the few times when he can dedicate serious time to his own creative writing.
Ray Betzner, director of University Communications, said that Temple’s decision to completely close during the week after Christmas will mostly affect administrators, support staff and those types of positions.
“Students already have off, so it’s not going to affect them,” Betzner said.
That is, unless you’re an international student.
“If you’re living on the other side of the world, it’s very expensive to travel back and forth,” Betzner said. “You may not be able to make that trip more than once a year.”
Therefore, international students are one of the reasons that the university maintains a certain amount of security
and services on campus.
According to Betzner, most universities implement a skeletal staff for things such as police and security officers, as well as maintenance and facilities employees.
“These people need to be around in case there are problems or an emergency,” Betzner said.
“For those [employees] that might have to work during this time … they would get compensatory time.”
AlliedBarton security officer Craig Myers said he believes that through Hart’s decision to shut down Temple over the holidays, Temple has begun a more family-oriented tradition in comparison to former administrations.
“It’s the holiday season,” Myers said.
“She probably wants to be with her family. I understand exactly what she’s doing.”
T.C. Mazar can be reach at email@example.com.