Professors on sabbatical


The academic year of 2022-23 will see students mourning the temporary absence of various favored professors: after six years of uninterrupted teaching, 12 faculty members have been granted a sabbatical leave to engage in writing or research in their specialized discipline. 

Three professors from the Gupta College of Business and seven from Constantin, as well as Deans Josh Parens and Brett Landry, submitted application proposals to the Provost Office over the course of the current academic year, and have been awarded either a semester or year-long sabbatical at the discretion of a faculty development committee.  

Philosophy professors Dr. Matthew Walz and Dr. Lance Simmons will each be taking a semester-long leave. According to the Provost Office, “Lance will use his sabbatical to study the development of modal metaphysics out of the rudiments of first-order logic,” while Walz will be completing a volume of translations of various works of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Parens, dean of Braniff Graduate School, will be writing a manuscript on Maimonedes, the very philosopher UD philosophy majors studied this past semester in Junior Seminar. His working manuscript title is “Creation, Prophecy, and Providence, and the Primacy of Political Philosophy in Maimonides’s Guide.” 

The language department sends off one member to the exciting world of sabbatical research: Dr. Jason Lewallen, French program director. Specializing in Catholic writers and the 20th century French novel, Lewellan will be writing his own book, an analytic manuscript arguing the significance of Pascal’s Wager in depictions of conversion in French novels and films of the last century. 

Dr. Laura Muñoz, associate professor of marketing, will be focusing on religious themes as well. “I’m excited because I will be investigating the impact of religious messaging in the buyer-seller relationship,” she explained. “My research question looks into whether a salesperson’s religious messages, via spoken messages and iconography, impact a buyer’s likelihood to buy.” 

Also from the Gupta College of Business, Dr. Rich Miller, associate professor of operations management, will spend his leave researching sustainability in supply chains, prepping conferences and writing articles on the operations management decisions of small businesses.

Three valued members of the English department, Drs. Katheryn Davis, Bernadette Waterman Ward and Andrew Osborn, will be engaging in writing of their own. 

“My sabbatical project will focus on the conjunction of Jane Austen’s narrative moves and moral vision,” said Davis. “I want to see whether and to what extent we as readers can glimpse her moral vision from the specific narrative choices she makes on the sentence-by-sentence level within her novels.” 

Davis greatly hopes this deep-dive into her favorite author will not only enrich her own understanding, but also her pedagogy within the classroom. 

Waterman Ward, the current president of the St. John Henry Newman Association, is excited to spend her sabbatical collating her lectures on the great 20th century saint. “I went to his beatification in Birmingham, England, and his canonization in Rome,” she said. “I have given many addresses and lectures on Newman, but I have only sent ten of them to be published; this is my chance to take those years of study and spiritual guidance and bring them out as a book.”

Her Braniff colleague, poet and lyric theorist Osborn, will be taking off a full year to compose a scholarly monograph, currently titled “Meaning the Earth: Jorie Graham’s Lyric Negotiations.

Jorie Graham is the contemporary lyric poet with whom I studied for my MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop,” Osborn explained. “Having followed her career closely and reviewed several of her collections, I look forward to making her profound contribution to the lyric genre more readily discernible.”

As for profound contributions, those of our own UD professors to their unique academic and research fields promise to be impressive and valuable. Make sure to wish these professors the best as they seize the opportunity to indulge in their disciplinary passions and engage in full-time study.


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