Congratulations to 2014-15 Sabbatical Awardees and Jepson Fellows!

By Jonathan Levin
It’s my pleasure to recognize the faculty who were selected for sabbatical leaves and Jepson Fellowships for the next academic year.  Twelve faculty members were awarded sabbatical leaves for all or part of the 2014-15 academic year to pursue a research or other professional development project.  One additional faculty member received a sabbatical award that will be deferred to the 2015-16 academic year.  Finally, another five faculty members will spend the next academic year as Jepson Fellows with a half-time teaching load while they pursue a research project that has particular and direct application to their teaching.  Please continue reading to see who has earned these important awards.

The Board of Visitors approved the sabbatical awards at their November meeting.  The sabbatical proposals recommended to the Board went through several stages of review.  Proposals from eligible faculty were made to the College Deans, and the deans reviewed and then forwarded the proposals they supported to the new university-level committee on Sabbaticals, Fellowships, and Faculty Awards.  This faculty committee reviewed the proposals as forwarded and recommended to the Provost that all of the proposed sabbaticals they received be awarded.  That is the recommendation I took to the Board.

The 2014-15 sabbatical awardees (and their project statements) are listed below:

* Dianne Baker, Department of Biological Sciences.  Project for spring 2015: conduct research on “Spatiotemporal mapping of kisspeptin system gene expression during early development in the model teleost, medaka (Oryzias latipes).

* Ana Chichester, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (Spanish).  Project for spring 2015: conduct research on “Print Media and Political Bias: The Portrayal of Gender and Race in Cuban Anti-Independence Newspapers.”

* Chris Foss, Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication (English).  Project for spring 2015: conduct research on “‘He is so ugly that he might have made the King smile’”: Deformity and Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Birthday of the Infanta.’”

* Steven Harris, Department of History and American Studies.  Project for fall 2014: continue research on “Aeroflot and PanAm: Mobility and Modernity in the Cold War and Beyond.”

* Elizabeth Larus, Department of Political Science and International Affairs. Project for 2014-15 academic year: research project on “US Reengagement in the Western Pacific: Implications for Security in the Asia-Pacific.”

* Leo Lee, Department of Mathematics. Project for fall 2014: to pursue “Interdisciplinary Research and Writing in Mathematics.”

* Emile Lester, Department of Political Science and International Affairs. Project for 2014-15 academic year: conduct research project on the question,  “Liberalism and Leadership: What Qualifies As a Successful Liberal Presidency?”

* Leslie Martin, Department of Sociology and Anthropology (Sociology).  Project for fall 2014: conduct research on “Constructing the Neighborhood School: Gentrification, Parents and Schools.”

* Mary Beth Mathews, Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion (Religion).  Project for fall 2014: research project on “‘Every Grace that Brings You Nigh’: African Americans, White Fundamentalists, and the Challenges of Modernity.”

* Jeffrey McClurken, Department of History and American Studies.  Project for spring 2015: conduct research on “Murder at the Asylum: Poisoning, Politics, Pinkertons, and Psychiatry in Late-Nineteenth-Century Virginia.”

* Gary Richards, Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication (English).  Project for 2014-15 academic year: research project on “A Queer Quarter: Literary Imaginings of Gay New Orleans.”

* Debra Schleef, Department of Sociology and Anthropology (Sociology).  Project for spring 2015: conduct research project on the question,  What is ‘Intentional’ about Intentional Communities? Exploring Vocabularies of Motive among Commune Residents in the U.S. and Germany.”

Additionally, Surupa Gupta from the Department of Political Science and International Affairs, was awarded a full-year sabbatical that has been deferred to the 2015-16 academic year.  It was deferred because the department could not afford to have three full-time faculty on leave at the same time.  Her research project will explore the question, “Will Markets Work for Small farmers: The Role of Institutions, Policies, and Farmer/Producer Companies in Transforming Agricultural markets in India?”

The Jepson Fellows program seeks to enhance retention of exceptional junior faculty members by providing opportunities for a major reassignment of the faculty member’s time, thereby enabling completion of a research and/or creative project that they might not otherwise find the time to do.  Each Fellowship award is for one full academic year, with the recipients having their teaching loads reduced by one half during the time of the Fellowship.  Proceeds from the Jepson Fellows endowment covers the costs of hiring replacement adjunct instructors for the courses the Jepson Fellows do not teach in the year of the Fellowship.  The Board of Visitors conferred these awards at their November meeting.

Jepson Fellows (and titles of their projects) for 2014-15 are:

* Courtney Clayton, Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, “Using Action Research to Improve Instruction for English Language Learners.”

* Wei Chen, Assistant Professor, College of Business, “The First Two Years of Nascent Entrepreneurs”

* Chris Garcia, Assistant Professor, College of Business, “Segmentation and Factor Models for Enhancing Social Media Impact”

* Hai Nguyen, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, “Exploring the Off Resonant Faraday Effect to Slow Light Down”

* Xiaofeng Zhao, Associate Professor, College of Business, “Applying the theory of constraints to lean supply chain integration”

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