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Sabbatical Announcements 2019-2020

Posted 12/04/2018
Submitted by Robyn Kelsey
Category: Campus Announcements

President Gregory Woodward and Provost Fred Sweitzer are pleased to announce that the following faculty have been awarded sabbaticals for the 2019-2020 academic year. The group includes six full-year sabbaticals, six sabbaticals for fall 2019, and eight sabbaticals for spring 2020. Projects include forms of scholarship outlined in the Faculty Policy Manual, including "pure research" (the scholarship of discovery/creativity), writing of textbooks, enhancing pedagogy, or preparing new courses, and researching learning theory and applying it to new pedagogical approaches.

Associate Professor Frances Altvater (Fall Semester 2019)

Humanities Department

Hillyer College

Dr. Altvater will use her sabbatical to work on a book tentatively titled A Visual History of Christianity, an interdisciplinary project aimed at connecting theology, social practice, and art over the history of Christianity through the examination of objects of material culture. Beginning with its foundations from Judaism in the Roman Empire and moving to the modern period, the objects made by Christians have been influenced by the aesthetics of the cultures around them. Their iconographic choices are affected by changes in doctrine and practice. Further, choices made for common audiences were significantly different, but no less resonant, than masterworks of art; visual messaging is critically important for the spread of ideas and faith. In addition to writing, Dr. Altvater will visit a number of museums for research during her sabbatical.


Associate Professor Daphne Berry (Academic Year 2019-2020) 

Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship Department

Barney School of Business

Dr. Berry will use her sabbatical to conduct research on the nature of models of social enterprise in the U.S., with a focus on employee-owned organizations such as Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), examining the structure and processes of businesses whose goals include balancing profit with social and environmental performance. This work will include collecting and analyzing data from businesses, developing publications based on findings—some for the International Comparative Social Enterprise Model (ICSEM) project—and presenting at conferences. In addition to collecting data from businesses around the United States, Dr. Berry will travel to the Social Enterprise Center in Belgium that sponsors the ICSEM project.


Professor Power Boothe (Academic Year 2019-2020)

Painting Department

Hartford Art School

Professor Boothe will use his sabbatical to create new paintings and works on paper for a solo exhibition scheduled for the fall of 2020 at the Fred Giampietro Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, and to begin a collaborative writing project with philosopher Mark Johnson, the Philip H. Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at University of Oregon, to produce a book or major article and to provide resources for the course: Complexity and the Visual Arts. Professor Booth’s collaboration with Dr. Johnson will focus on the idea that theories of meaning (and thought) based only on linguistic phenomena are not capable of grasping all the bodily structures and processes that give rise to meaning, particularly in how humans experience visual artworks, the element of emergent self-organization in the creative process, and the ‘felt’ homeostatic process in the creation of artworks whereby physical balance, for example, may have a pervasive influence over composition.


Associate Professor Joanna Borucinska (Fall Semester 2019)

Biology Department

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Borucinska will use her sabbatical to examine selected health parameters and histopathological and morphometric biomarkers of environmental quality in cod from two locations, the Baltic in Poland and Georges Bank off the northwestern U.S. Atlantic coast. The aim is to expand her previous studies of Baltic cod and to create baseline data for the Georges Bank fish. Both of the above cod stocks have been declining despite restrictive fishing quotas. She will examine the possible contribution of health/marine pollution to the lack of recovery in these fish stocks. She expects to produce at least one article and one conference presentation based on this work, and will involve University of Hartford undergraduate students in her research.


Professor Carmen Cotei (Spring Semester 2020)

Economics, Finance, and Insurance Department

Barney School of Business

Dr. Cotei will use her sabbatical to research the link between the quality of governance environment and access to finance, and the quality of governance environment and the financing structure of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in the developing world. She will examine World Bank Enterprise Survey data from 2006 through 2016 for this research, and she expects to publish two or three co-authored journal articles from this work. She also plans to develop lectures for University of Hartford classes on the unique challenges faced by SMEs in developing countries.


Professor Tony Crespi (Spring Semester 2020)

Psychology Department

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Crespi will use his sabbatical to develop two major articles on ethical and legal issues in professional practice for school psychologists, and to examine changes in certification and licensure for school psychologists, also resulting in an article and conference presentation. He will spend time examining case law and legislation related to ethical decisions and the implications impacting practice for school psychologists. He will also research state regulations and requirements for certification of school psychologists to inform new students, educate existing students, and help guide the University of Hartford school psychology program as it evolves to meet contemporary change.


Associate Professor Marco Cupolo (Spring Semester 2020)

Politics, Economics, and International Studies Department

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Cupolo will use his sabbatical to collect his writing on Venezuela with the working title of A Failed Modernity: Bolivarianism, Oil, and Multitudes in Venezuela (or, in Spanish, Una Modernidad Fallida: Bolivarianisma, Petróleo, y Multitudes en Venezuela). The book aims to explain how the development cycle based on oil income in Venezuela led to an illusory modernity, whose main shortcomings are the institutional destabilization of the country, and the resurgence of Bolivian mythology for the political control of marginalized social sectors.


Professor Tom Eppes (Academic Year 2019-2020)

Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture

Dr. Eppes will use his sabbatical to work on developing a simulation model for an improved microfluidic mixer design. Such devices are often part of ‘lab on a chip’ test kits used, for example, to measure content properties of blood glucose, or cholesterol, and also in the food processing and chemical industries. He hopes to produce a working model using Comsol software, and to write a paper for journal publication. The model will also be incorporated into Dr. Eppes’ ECE/ME 537 (Multidisciplinary Modeling) course as part of the inquiry-based learning (IBL) component.


Professor Patricia Jaeger (Fall Semester 2019)

Accounting and Taxation Department

Barney School of Business

Dr. Jaeger will use her sabbatical to study tax abatements, which are frequently used by state and local governments to encourage development. Tax abatements, however, also reduce the revenue-raising capacities of governmental entities. Dr. Jaeger’s research will collect and examine financial statements for Connecticut’s 169 towns, as well as the state, to determine what is being reported and what types of economic developments are being subsidized. Results may then be used to guide local tax policy regarding tax abatements and as the foundation for a journal article.


Associate Professor Sarah Ketay (Spring Semester 2020)

Psychology Department

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Ketay will use her sabbatical to conduct research on social relationships, self-compassion, and biomarkers of social stress in two separate yet related projects. She will analyze data and submit a manuscript for publication and presentation on her study on self-compassion, cortisol (a biomarker of stress) and social stress. She will also develop a second line of study related to attachment styles, cortisol, alpha-amylase (another biomarker of stress), and social stress. Dr. Ketay has been invited to visit University of Fribourgh in Switzerland and University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she will attend workshops and trainings on cutting-edge methodologies and statistical techniques relevant to her research.


Associate Professor Mala Matacin (Fall Semester 2019)

Psychology Department

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Matacin will use her sabbatical to internationalize a newly created course in the University Interdisciplinary Studies program, “Systems of Oppression: Our Binary Code.” She will travel to several countries in the former Yugoslavia, focusing on Croatia. She will take Serbo-Croatian language courses; learn about specific systems of oppression relevant to Slavic countries, with an emphasis on gender and sexuality; form professional alliances with scholars, activists, and organizations working to dismantle systems of oppression, particularly those affecting women, girls, and the LGBTQ community; develop a travel blog for educators developing similar programs; and write an article on “best practices” for internationalizing courses.


Professor Ivana Milanovic (Spring Semester 2020)

Mechanical Engineering Department

College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture

Dr. Milanovic will use her sabbatical to conduct two technical studies; investigate the use of simulations, application building, and the inquiry-based learning (IBL) in the undergraduate engineering curriculum; develop a plan to introduce advanced simulations in graduate and undergraduate curricula; and collaborate with colleagues from N.Y.U. Abu Dhabi, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Her technical research will address two problems that are relevant across a number of engineering disciplines: tone generation and probe calibration with the use of computational simulations. She will produce journal and conference papers to disseminate findings, co-author grant proposals, give seminars and workshops, and exchange ideas on simulations and IBL in engineering education.


Associate Professor Hashini Mohottala (Fall Semester 2019)

Physics Department

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Mohottala will use her sabbatical to grow, study and investigate thin films of highly correlated electron systems (superconductors, magnetic materials etc.) using multiple experimental probes such as XRD (X-Ray Diffraction), AFM (Atomic Force Microscope), STM (Scanning Tunneling Microscope), SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device), and μSR (muon Spin Rotation). She will conduct both scientific and pedagogic work. The first project has two separate branches: to study oxygen intercalated magnetic/superconducting thin film systems, and to investigate the nanoparticles that can be used as drug carriers to targeted locations in the human body. The second project is to develop an upper-level writing intensive physics course, based on AFM and STM probes.


Associate Professor Peter Oliver (Spring Semester 2020)

Education Department

College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions

Dr. Oliver will use his sabbatical to study the impacts of “perfectionism” as a particular stress for students in professional educator preparation training programs. He will study student-teachers, who are not only responsible for their classrooms, but who are also regularly observed and evaluated. He will design and conduct a brief intervention to help student-teachers cultivate mindfulness and self-compassion, two self-care practices that have been shown to reduce the negative impact of stress and may mitigate perfectionistic tendencies. Dr. Oliver plans to publish the results of his study in a journal article and to present his findings at an annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association.


Professor Farhad Rassekh (Spring Semester 2020)

Economics, Finance, and Insurance Department

Barney School of Business

Dr. Rassekh will use his sabbatical to investigate the empirical validity of the economic theory that while all economies gain from international trade, due to idiosyncratic circumstances of the trading countries, gains are unequally distributed. In particular, the theory predicts that small economies, such as Bolivia or Singapore, reap much of the gains when they trade with large economies like the United States or China. He will apply econometric analysis to an economic model using a sample of at least 100 countries over the period 1960-2015. He plans to use this research as the basis for a future book project.


Professor Michael Robinson (Academic Year 2019-2020)

Humanities Department

Hillyer College

Dr. Robinson will use his sabbatical to complete background research and write the Antarctica section of a book to be titled Out There: Women in Extreme Environment Stations, 1960-2018. This book project examines the integration of women into extreme environment stations in Antarctica, space, and under the oceans in the late twentieth century. Each of three case studies offers a starting point for a broader discussion of the history of women’s integration and a way of understanding how gender norms played out at different scales—individually, institutionally and internationally—in some of the harshest environments in the world. Dr. Robinson will conduct research at the National Archives and NASA as well as write.


Associate Professor Larissa Schroeder (Spring Semester 2020)

Mathematics Department

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Schroeder will use her sabbatical to volunteer as a full-time mathematics aide in urban high school mathematics classrooms at Southern High School in Louisville, Kentucky, in order to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges facing urban mathematics educators, to work in urban schools, and to experience the culture of a school system outside of Connecticut. She expects to use this experience to modify the Mathematics Secondary Education methods course at the University of Hartford to reflect an emphasis on urban education, to develop a plan for supporting teachers in their first three years, to submit a paper for publication, to give one or more presentations, and to develop a plan to recruit more diverse teacher candidates. Dr. Schroeder hopes to develop a U.I.S. course on Urban Education/Current Issues in Education that includes a spring break trip as a model for urban education.


Professor Hemchandra Shertukde (Fall Semester 2019)

Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture

Dr. Shertukde will use his sabbatical to complete a textbook, under contract with MP, that highlights the theory, design and implementation of DC-DC Converters for HVDC Transformations. The book, titled DC-DC Converters for HVDC Transformation has implications for alternate energy sources of power and the harnessing of usable electric power, particularly in the solar energy sector. This textbook will be used in the undergraduate and graduate program curricula in the ECE Department of the College of Engineering, Technology and Architecture for several Power courses, including ECE 573-Power Electronics, ECE 591-DPVGTs.


Professor Ken Steen (Academic Year 2019-2020)

Academic and Contemporary Studies Division

The Hartt School

Professor Steen will use his sabbatical to pursue further research and development of his transdisciplinary creative work as a composer, sound, and media artist. He has been invited to work in residency at Studio Alpha at the Visby International Centre for Composers, in Visby, Gotland, Sweden, where he will learn about ambisonics, a full-sphere surround sound format. He has also been commissioned to compose a new work for SATB choir and electronics by Gary Graden, music director and conductor of the St. Jacobs Chamber Choir in Stockholm, where Professor Steen will conduct experimental work and preparatory recording of the choir that will form the foundation of this new piece.


Associate Professor Michael Walsh (Academic Year 2019-2020)

Cinema Department

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Walsh will use his sabbatical to research and write a book titled Durational Cinema: A Short History of Long Films, which will trace the history of durational film-making through three main phases, concluding with a section on durational documentary. Dr. Walsh coined the term “durational cinema,” which denotes films that “radically subtract dramatic interest and incident, challenge established conceptions of running time, and foreground time as a formal element of cinema.” He will travel to archives in Paris and elsewhere to study relevant directors and films, work on writing his book, develop presentation proposals, and submit scholarly articles grounded in this research.