Faculty 2012-13 Sabbaticals Announced

Sabbatical leaves are a long tradition in higher education, with the first program beginning at Harvard University in 1880. At NMU, leaves are granted for the purpose of engaging in activities that will "...enhance the professional growth and effectiveness of the recipients." All full-time, tenure-earning faculty are eligible to apply for one of two types of sabbaticals: professional development, which may improve competencies through study, research or other suitable experience; or research, scholarship and creative works, which enables faculty members to contribute to their disciplines through activities leading to publication or the production of creative works. 

Here are the nine NMU sabbatical projects approved for the 2012-13 academic year:

Donna Becker (Biology) will undertake laboratory experiments to explore the concepts of microbial signaling among antibiotic-producing bacteria. This is a collaborative project involving scientists from the University of Minnesota, and scientists from Uruguay and Morocco. The proposed research will focus on signaling interactions among Streptomyces bacteria in soil and will examine the potential importance of chemical signaling for their ecology and evolution. 

Sheri Giordana (Nursing) will write and publish a monograph on creating positive learning experiences for nursing students caring for the elderly population. She will include assignments utilized in her foundations clinical course, photos and stories from nursing students and elderly residents of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. The target audience will be nursing faculty, students and nurses.

Robert Goodrich (History) will complete a history monograph on “Habsburg Immigration to Michigan,” contracted for publication by Michigan State University Press. He will conduct research at state archives/sites and take a short research trip to Vienna, Austria, for documents, maps and photographs.

Jeffrey Horn (Mathematics and Computer Science) will extend his theoretical analysis of his recently invented algorithm, RFS. RFS uses artificial evolution to find ecosystems of cooperative species that together represent solutions to hard problems such as shape nesting and exact cover. Recent theoretical analysis by Horn has produced surprisingly general results. He will work to extend these results and publish them in journals.

Randall Jensen (Health, Physical Education and Recreation) will serve as a visiting professor for one year in the Department of Sport Science at the University of Konstanz in Germany. Jensen will observe and participate in courses and collaborate on research projects that investigate acquisition, modeling and visualization of performance parameters in competitive bicycle training; the effect of strength training on endurance performance of multiple sclerosis patients; and balance training and modeling of landing stability on the beam in athletes. The service component will facilitate connections between the sports science programs at NMU and the U of K to initiate an exchange program for students and faculty, and observe how HPER may link to area health care providers in research opportunities.

Keith Kendall (History) plans to complete three historical editing and writing projects that are already in process and take the next steps on a long-term historical editing project.

Stephan Larson (Art and Design) will complete artistic and technical research and produce an animation that continues his previous explorations in abstract and non-narrative animation.

Rebecca Mead (History) intends to study the native populations of Marquette County during the American period (1814 to present) by producing a historical geographic information systems (HGIS) map of native population density in the area for each decade using census data. She will also develop grant applications for future interdisciplinary and collaborative research on local indigenous cultural resources and complete the research and writing of an article on women's suffrage in Michigan.

Lesley Putman (Chemistry) will conduct research on the phytoremediation of bisphenol A (BPA) by little bluestem.  She will look at the ability of exudates from little bluestem seeds to break down BPA and determine what component of the exudates is responsible for this degradation. She will also determine whether bacteria plays a role in the degradation of BPA by little bluestem. 



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Updated: January 19, 2012

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