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How one Fall 2017 faculty member stays connected

Semester at Sea Faculty Member Professor Shauhin Talesh has been busier than usual during the latest leg of the Fall 2017 Voyage. In addition to teaching courses in business and sociology, keeping up with his workload from his home institution, and spending time with his wife Jasmine and son Cyrus onboard the MV World Odyssey, Talesh has been fielding calls from publications that, because of breaking news around the United States, are suddenly extremely interested in his area of expertise.

“I got an email from the Washington Post editor asking me if I have any interest in writing an article on sexual harassment insurance‚Äîthis is insurance for employers that are sued for sexual harassment,” Professor Talesh said. “There’s been all this talk about people who are being exposed for harassing behavior and it turns out there’s this insurance for employers, and this is part of the area of my scholarship, which is why they identified me.”

The only hiccup, however, was that Talesh was in the midst of exploring Vietnam at the time, and as the editor made clear, newspapers tend to operate on a tight deadline. Still, Talesh was able to work writing the article‚Äîpublished November 20 under the headline, “When companies buy harassment insurance, they’re not protecting the victims“‚Äîin to his schedule, which led to radio requests and an additional interview in Variety.

It would be a busy time for any professor, much less one that is sailing around the globe and is half a world away from breaking news that is occurring in Washington or Hollywood. It helped that he has experience staying connected while sailing, having previously served as the Assistant Director of Student Life for the Summer 2008 Voyage. Talesh has also had a good deal of support from his home institution, University of California—Irvine, where he holds appointments as Professor of Sociology and Criminology and also serves as the Director of the Law and Graduate Studies Program. He was able to use his sabbatical to serve as a faculty member on the Fall 2017 Voyage, and encourages faculty thinking about sailing as a voyager that he has had no trouble staying up to speed.

“One of the great things about Semester at Sea is that they offer a lot of free websites, like the Washington Post. I read the Post every day. So I feel pretty up on at least some aspect of the news, both globally and domestically in respect to the United States. So I think I’m following. Plus we get Al Jazeera on the television. And I obviously know what’s going on in regard to this sexual harassment explosion of publicity. When I’m in port I try to read, and I felt pretty informed.”

In addition to stayed clued in and commenting on cultural events, Talesh has also kept up-to-date with work he needs to get done when he reaches the end of his voyage, including assisting with the search for a new dean in his department.

“You can do those kind of things. You can stay connected. For faculty thinking about doing the voyage, you can stay connected to scholarship, real-world current events,” Talesh said. “I stay pretty connected to my home institution because I have all my emails forwarded. I’m able to conduct business I need to with students, able to write letters of recommendation, communicating with fellow faculty. I stay connected.”

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