Sabbatical Leaves Approved for 2011-12

Sabbatical leave requests have been approved for nine faculty members for 2011-12. According to Susan Koch (Academic Affairs), “Sabbatical leaves are positive investments that enable our faculty to increase their scholarly productivity, enhance the intellectual climate on campus and improve our students’ educational experience. We had several outstanding and ambitious proposals this year and I am particularly pleased that so many sabbatical awards relate directly to the goals and priorities in the Road Map to 2015.”


The recipients and their project descriptions follow. Most will result in publications and/or presentations:


▪Kenneth C. Holder (Education) will complete three research projects. He will analyze years of monitoring reports published by the NMU Charter Schools Office; study constituents’ value of the charter schools monitoring process; and research “best practices” for on-site charter school monitoring.


▪Mitchell Klett (Education) will investigate the application of “smart technologies” such as iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices in the K–12 educational environment. During his sabbatical, Klett will be a research fellow at the Ingenuity Center at the University of Texas, Tyler, where he will study educational software applications and make classroom visits to schools that are implementing “smart technologies” in the classroom. His work will also involve testing the viability and value of smart technologies in educational settings as they relate to the achievement of desired educational outcomes and the development of new and distinctive applications for use in schools. 


▪Alec Lindsay (Biology) will expand an integrative research program centered on advancing understanding of common loon (Gavia immer) population dynamics. Understanding the stressors on breeding loons in the Upper Peninsula is important for conservation of these birds on a regional and continental scale. Working with biology students, Lindsay has begun developing a new protocol to genotype individual loons and his sabbatical will enable him to perform additional laboratory experiments and related analyses. Lindsay also plans to further develop his use of acoustic monitoring techniques for the study of bird migration patterns across the U.P. and associated research protocols.  

▪Diane Sautter Cole’s (English) project is a book of poems to be titled The Culling. She will search 30 years of archives for poems that represent woman's evolution over time as part of the 20th century societal change in attitudes toward women and access for women in the United States. Sautter Cole will also write new poems that resonate with the archival material. These new poems will seek a harmonization between primordial “goddess” type myths and present day lifestyles. The Culling is a project to discover “what is worth saving” from an era of profound gender reorientations.

▪Eileen Smit (Nursing) has developed a network of medical community partners in the Yojoa region of Honduras through several faculty-led study abroad programs with nursing students. During her sabbatical, she will use that network to conduct research in Honduras, describing the experiences of Honduran nurses who act as clinical supervisors for American students in short-term study abroad programs.   


▪John Smolens (English) will complete two historical novels: The Schoolmaster’s Daughter, set in Boston during the American Revolution; and Incognito, set in Michigan from 1944-1999. The Schoolmaster’s Daughter is based on a young woman named Abigail Lovell, whose espionage activities for the patriot cause influenced events during the American Revolution. Incognito is narrated by an Italian army officer who is incarcerated in a prisoner of war camp at Au Train in the Upper Peninsula. He escapes to Detroit, where he lives for years and ultimately assists the U.S. government in the capture of a Nazi war criminal. 

▪Catherine Terwilliger’s (English) professional development sabbatical will enhance her competency in multimedia journalism so that she can add multimedia components to existing classes within the journalism minor and contribute to the development of a proposed new major in multimedia journalism. She will attend intensive multimedia training at either the Poynter Institute or the Knight Digital Media Center, followed by pro bono work in the newsroom at The Colorado Springs Independent. Terwilliger will develop multimedia packages and collaborative multimedia complements to the newspaper’s text stories. She will also teach multimedia skills to staff and interns.

▪Helen Wedin (Nursing) will complete a book based on her research on “reentry,” defined as coming home after a perceived major life event such as living in another culture, studying abroad, going on a foreign wilderness expedition or serving in the military overseas. Such transitions are often more difficult than the original “culture shock” of leaving home and most travelers do not anticipate the challenges of the reentry transition.  Based in part on her master’s thesis and dissertation research, the proposed book is targeted at reentering individuals.  

▪Qinghong Zhang’s (Mathematics and Computer Science) ongoing project is the modeling of human motion for use in computer simulation. The development and use of virtual humans have recently gained momentum for engineering product design and biomechanical studies. Zhang will expand his research to include applications of optimization techniques in digital human modeling. In addition to studying the related literature, he will spend part of the sabbatical period working with a colleague at Texas Tech University, where he will have access to specialized laboratory facilities.



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Updated: December 10, 2010

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