Little Rest for Professors on Sabbatical

Little Rest for Professors on Sabbatical

By: 24712 Brent Fisher

This article is the first in a series on RMC professors who are currently on sabbatical leave, a period that allows a scholar the opportunity to initiate or complete research without the distractions of daily teaching or administrative responsibilities. Many professors take advantage of this opportunity to complete research outside of the Kingston area by visiting other universities or research centres while on their break. These articles will highlight many of the unknown feats and accomplishments that RMCC professors are completing during these special stages in their careers.

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Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk has been a professor in the Department of Politics and Economics since 1990. A native of Kingston, he returned to the city following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto. Specializing in political geography of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Dr. Luciuk has authored or co-authored dozens of books and over 200 opinion editorials and received several prestigious fellowships and awards, most recently the Shevchenko Medal. Currently he is nearing the end of a half-year sabbatical that started in July, before which he took up the duty of being head of the Department.

Throughout his twenty years at RMC, Dr. Luciuk has only ever taken one other sabbatical. In 2002 and 2003, he spent a month in France, during which time he completed research on the manuscript for Their Just War: Images of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (2007). He also undertook a month-long lecture tour throughout Australia and initiated the campaign to rescind Walter Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize, underscoring he latter’s mendacious reporting about the genocidal famine of 1932-33 in Soviet Ukraine. On top of that Dr. Luciuk organized the 2004 lecture in the Distinguished Speakers Series in Political Geography at RMC and began work on his historical novel on Victoria Cross winner Cpl Filip Konowal (CEF), which is currently the basis for a potential film production. Many could certainly argue that it would be difficult for anyone to surpass the work accomplished during a subsequent sabbatical.

Yet Dr. Luciuk’s research this time around is no less exciting: He has been granted access to the Vatican Secret Archives to complete study on Ukrainian nationalist movements throughout the 20th Century. He plans to complete the manuscript for a collaboration with Father A McVay tentatively titled “The Holy See and the Holodomor: Documents from the Vatican Secret Archives on the Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine.” He has also visited the Ukrainian and Italian Foreign Ministry archives to secure additional primary information on the issues that he has pursued.

His interactions with academics from the same field have inspired him to plan a symposium in Kyiv at the Holodomor Memorial Museum complex in 2011. He has given lectures at the Pontifical Oriental Institute and at Temple University in Rome, and has continued to contribute opinion-editorials on issues related to his research interests to major Canadian newspapers. Confirming his status as a public intellectual, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress awarded him the 2010 Shevchenko Medal, its most prestigious distinction, for his educational work on behalf of the Ukrainian Canadian community.

Dr. Luciuk has amassed a great deal of primary source material while working in Europe, and he will employ that material as he crafts several new books and gives lectures within the next few years. He is eager to return to the classroom and interact with his students, but there remain other research opportunities for him too. In addition to keeping in touch with his newly made contacts during his sabbatical term, Dr. Luciuk will engage himself in French language training in the New Year.

His accomplishments and ability to produce top quality research that is respected among the international community speak for itself. It appears that Dr. Luciuk has once again taken full advantage of his sabbatical leave period to broaden his understanding of subjects on which he is quite passionate, and we look forward to his return on campus in January. As for him, he says, quite plainly, “I can think of no higher privilege than being able to speak to the young women and men who are officer cadets at RMC. They are, quite frankly, Canada’s finest. Someday the nation will more truly recognize that.”

Caption: Dr L Luciuk receiving 2010 Shevchenko Medal, Edmonton, 6 Nov 2010.  Left to right: Ambassador C D Caron, Paul Grod, Professor Lubomyr Luciuk, Daria Luciw, Senator Andreychuk and Abassador Ihor Ostash.

The Shevchenko Medal is the highest form of recognition that can be granted by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. It recognizes individuals of Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian descent for their outstanding national contribution towards the development of the Ukrainian Canadian community.

It recognizes outstanding achievement in community development, culture and the arts, education and sport and is measured by the recipients’ level of excellence and initiative, their sustained body of work, peer recognition and the recipients’ broad impact inside and outside the Ukrainian Canadian community.