Faculty news Lorena Blasco-Arcas puts sabbatical to good use

The Associate Professor of Marketing literally removed the Sabbath (weekly day of rest) from ‘sabbatical’, achieving quite a lot during her one-year “leave”.

A sabbatical is traditionally considered as a rest or break from work for all working professionals, not just scholars. However, and although it is based on the Biblical practice of shmita (sabbatical year), which is related to agriculture, it was universities and other institutional employers of scientists, physicians, and academics – starting with Harvard University in 1880 - that first offered the opportunity to qualify for paid sabbatical as an employee benefit, called sabbatical leave, in order to attract talents.

Early academic sabbatical policies were designed by Harvard to aid their faculty in resting and recovering, but also to facilitate “advancements in knowledge in vogue elsewhere... an intellectual and practical necessity.” Academic sabbaticals typically excuse the grantees from day-to-day teaching and departmental duties, so that they can focus on their research. “Contrary to popular belief outside of academia, a sabbatical is not a vacation or a time to relax,” adds María del Carmen Rodríguez de France in The Academic Sabbatical: A Voyage of Discovery.

Awards, nominations and publications galore

This partly explains why Lorena Blasco-Arcas was so productive during hers:

  • She attended the GAMMA Global Marketing Conference, one of the largest marketing conferences in the world and definitely the leading conference in Asia, for the first time and presented with “academic partner in crime” Hsin-Hsuan Meg Lee (London campus) their latest research project on influencer marketing and consumer well-being, which is in progress for publication. They were rewarded for making the trip to Seoul with two different prizes: The Best of the Best Conference Paper Award, as well as the Psychology & Marketing Award on Consumer Psychology & Marketing paper in the Age of Digital Transformation.
  • She became the new Engagement Officer and board member of the SERVSIG chapter of the American Marketing Association. “In that capacity, I aim to contribute to the global research community and increase the visibility and position of our dear institution as a research-focused one,” she explains.
  • She co-authored a research paper titled Visual Modality of Engagement: Conceptualization, Typology of Forms, and Outcomes in the Journal of Service Research (an A-category journal) with two colleagues from the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde. “In that paper, we explore how users engage visually with brands to express their engagement behaviours and how they subsequently influence other social media users and brand perceptions,” she adds.
  • Lastly, she was one of the guest editors of the school’s latest impact papers series.