Just imagine a semester away from school while getting paid andhaving free time to relax and do what you love to do more thananything – research.
This leave with pay is known as sabbatical, and it’s a time manyprofessors look forward to. Simpson College follows the traditionof eligibility in deciding who gets sabbatical. A professor has theopportunity to take sabbatical once every seven years.
“Last spring, I took an unexpected trip to Costa Rica,” saidTodd Lieber, professor of English and philosophy. “I was going tostay home and do my research, but instead I was asked to teach agraduate course down there, so I went.”
Even though Lieber was busier due to the honor of teaching thegraduate course, he didn’t find it to be a burden to hisresearch.
“It was more of a stimulus rather than a drag,” Lieber said.”The class I taught was small and they were eager to learn so wehit it off. This made my reading and research that mucheasier.”
Carl Halgren, professor of psychology, also received sabbaticallast spring semester. His ventures took him deep inside the mind ofa criminal.
“I focused on brain finger printing,” Halgren said. “It’s atechnique that determines what is stored in the brain. It hasproven to be successful working with murders because it brings outthe recorded details that the brain stores.”
This process was the creation of Dr. Farwell and was moved inits early stages to Fairfield, Iowa.
Halgren had the privilege of assisting Farwell in a brain wavetesting of a man on death row in the Oklahoma StatePenitentiary.
“Our findings were [that] the information of the murder wasabsent in the mind of the man,” Halgren said. “But the murderoccurred in 1991 and the testing was in 2004, so the tests may beinaccurate because Farwell does not know how the person’s brainwill respond after so many years. Any type of memory loss couldaffect the testing.”
Halgren has combined his knowledge of psychology with thedepartments of athletic training and biology to create a fewclasses on this system. The classes will include a lower-levelcourse with demonstrations, a May term section to follow, and anaddition of a lab to Halgren’s Brain and Behavior class.
Sabbatical has benefits for Simpson, even if the college doeslose the expertise of an experienced faculty member for asemester.
According to Lieber, Simpson benefits in three ways. The firstis in the classroom: the more the professor knows, the morein-depth the class will be. Second, it is a major advantage toother faculty because the information gained can be passed on.Finally, it allows the college to broaden its sources ofinformation obtained and taught.