By Mallory Sherwood, Features Editor
Dr. Tom Lee needs only to travel to Europe to have been on all seven continents, something most people only dream about. With the help of ACU, he plans to achieve his goal this fall.
Lee, associate professor of biology, is one of seven faculty members taking teacher renewal leave to pursue research interests for the semester and to take a break from teaching.
Each semester, the university supports faculty members by finding replacements so they can take a break from teaching to pursue other interests and accomplish dreams, which is precisely what many of the faculty want to do in the fall.
Lee plans to write a book about the 360 species of mammals in Ecuador.
“(The leave) would help make a dream come true,” Lee said. “I won’t be able to complete this project in one semester, but it will be a big kicker for this project.”
Lee traveled to Ecuador during the summer of 2003 and plans to return again this summer to finish collecting samples for his research. He also wants to visit Chicago, New York and Toronto, and Paris, London and the Berlin Zoo if he has the money.
Other faculty members are not traveling quite as far.
Dr. Waymon Hinson, chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy, plans to write about the social injustice of farmers.
Several years ago, Hinson worked with black farmers in discrimination cases against the United States Department of Agriculture as a psychological assistant.
Now he will return to these farmers and others across the Southern states of Georgia, Louisiana and Virginia to record their stories.
“I think that the topic probably chose me,” Hinson said. After his involvement in the lives of the farmers for several years, he said it became one of those “life-changing kinds of things.”
Hinson’s goal is to be able to co-author, and write articles to narrate his subjects’ stories.
“Now I don’t have any illusions that this project will cause ripples around the world,” Hinson said. “But I do think that if somebody takes notice, they might say, ‘We do need to make the world a better place and make social justice not a skin-color problem.'”
For Hinson, righting a wrong is a matter of the heart.
For Dr. Bob McKelvain, chair of the Psychology Department, it is a matter of the head.
For years, McKelvain has collected thoughts and theories about negotiation tactics. He plans to write about his observations and present them before the Association for Conflict Resolution for critique.
“Through years of research on this subject, I have decided that there are five or six elements that need to be present in a negotiation for it to be successful,” McKelvain said. “My project is to clarify what exactly happens and has to happen in a negotiation so that all of the people involved will be happy.”
He considers this to be more of a creative project for him, rather than a research project. He is not taking a traditional renewal leave though, and will teach two classes relating to negotiation in the fall.
“It is useful and valuable for people to know about,” he said. “I want to be able explain this to people so folks can benefit from it.”
The difficult part of renewal leave is over now for Dr. Cindy Roper, associate professor of communication.
She has already collected her data and is beginning to write two research papers.
One paper will deal with communication apprehension and world views of culture shock, and the other will explore a media theory of the effects of televised presidential debates and how that affects perceptions of candidates.
Roper said she hopes to present both papers at a national convention in 2006 and then publish them if they are accepted in communication journals.
“I’ve wanted to write this for such a long time,” Roper said. “I just don’t have time, and the schedules that we have as professors are hard to do any writing. I need this time where I can devote myself to writing.”