Flor de Caña

Not having grown up in academia, I admit to a uninformed view of faculty sabbaticals. My visions of faculty lounging on white sand beaches in comfy beach chairs, watching gorgeous sunsets, sipping sweet tropical drinks are perhaps best captured by Bruce Cockburn in his song, “Last Night of the World:”

I’m sipping Flor De Caña and lime juice, it’s three a.m.
Blow a fruit fly off the rim of my glass
The radio’s playing Superchunk and the friends of Dean Martinez

My equatorial reveries were rudely interrupted by VP Metoyer dropping four sabbatical projects with a loud thunk on my desk. “You may want to glance through these. They make for interesting reading.”  Indeed.

Civic engagement. Computer science. “Handbook of Assessment in Associate Degree Early Childhood Teacher Education.” Studies of genetically modified rice and biofuels. These weren’t semesters spent on the beach – these were “What I did on my summer vacation” by over-achievers.

Professor Saha spent last year at the Temasek Lifesciences Laboratory working on two research projects. She worked on “developing a variety of genetically modified rice in which starch composition was altered to produce a low glycemic index rice.” Creating low glycemic rice is a boon to sufferers of diabetes and others sensitive to spikes in their blood sugar levels. Her work will be published in a text book this fall. Professor Saha also participated in biofuels research. As a result of her work, Temasek is exploring study-abroad opportunities for our students. Professor Saha will also incorporate her experiences from last year into her classes.

Professor Nepstad wrote “Designing an Assessment Handbook for Associate Degree Early Childhood Education.” She is submitting the work to ACCESS for review, with a goal to distributing to all of our Child Development faculty. In her spare time, Professor Nepstad took a couple of courses to further her professional development at James Madison University.

Professor Gulzad worked on “Linking Civic Education to Increase in Student Civic Engagement and Political Participation.” Timely work right before an election year, he traveled to elections in Spain. As a result of discussions with elected officials there and focus groups of students here at HWC, he has revised his “American government course content to include a civic engagement project which emphasizes the importance of an active citizenship to maintain a democracy.”

Professor Mahmud kept herself busy with three courses toward her PhD: Key Concepts in Technical Communication, Publication Management, and Research Methods and Resources. In publication management, she tackled XML and Drupal.

Impressive ways to spend a few months off from the college. Sounds like four of our faculty members have earned at least a weekend on the beach blowing fruit flies off the rims of their glasses.


Published by Don Laackman

Leader with non-profit, higher education, and private-sector consulting experience.

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