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Augustana sabbatical and pre-tenure paid leave

Information for applicants

Numbers in parentheses are keyed to the Faculty Handbook


The Faculty Review Committee recognizes that "scholarship" encompasses a wide range of activities, practices, and processes that result in many different forms of knowledge and knowledge-creation. We therefore define scholarship broadly as research, professional, or creative endeavors with results that can be shared with, presented to, or used by others in written, oral, visual, or performative form and that is subject to critique, appraisal, review, or evaluation. To learn more about the types of scholarship that faculty are encouraged to pursue, please see the resources on the CFE Moodle site.

In keeping with the college’s commitment to encouraging faculty to “develop substantial scholarly or artistic production” (7.3),  it offers tenured and tenure-track faculty opportunities for professional growth and revitalization through pre-tenure and sabbatical leaves. The college encourages applications for sabbaticals and pre-tenure paid leaves (PTPL) in order for faculty to engage in forms of scholarship that differ in scope and impact from their regular teaching and service obligations.  According to the handbook, the “Faculty Review Committee will approve all [PTPL] proposals which specifically aim to produce peer-reviewed publication or equivalent artistic production during the pre-tenure years” ( While the current handbook contains no specific guidelines for applying for PTPL, we believe that pre-tenure faculty can benefit from engaging in the same proposal process as those applying for sabbatical leaves. PTPL faculty are especially encouraged to consult with their department chairs and tenure committees as they develop proposals, to increase the likelihood that their proposed activities would move them in a positive direction with respect to their departmental expectations for tenure.


Faculty can determine when they are eligible to apply for PTPL and sabbatical leaves by visiting → My Reports and Links → Faculty_Advisor_Menu → Reports: Faculty Information. Faculty who are eligible to apply for a leave will be notified by Academic Affairs in September of the year preceding that in which the proposed leave would take place. They should notify their department chairs as soon as possible if they intend to apply. Applicants should share their proposals with their department chairs in advance for feedback and to aid the chair in writing a departmental endorsement in advance of the due date. Applications and letters from chairs are due on Monday of week 5 of the calendar year preceding the proposed sabbatical. FRC will review proposals using this rubric and will make a recommendation to the President ( Faculty will be notified of the results by the end of the fall semester.


By Monday of week 5, applicants should submit to the FRC:

  • A cover sheet (.docx version) that includes the dates of the faculty member’s employment at Augustana, dates of any previous academic leaves, dates of the requested PTPL or sabbatical leave (, and a description of any supplementary funds necessary to complete the project, including alternative plans in the event that funding is not available. (
  • A current CV. (
  • A proposal (approximately 750-1500 words)  that includes the following: 
    • Purpose and rationale: The purpose of the project, how it aligns with the goal(s) of scholarly activity at Augustana College, and how the time frame of the requested leave is appropriate to achieve the proposed outcomes, aims, or processes. Explains how the project emerges from the applicant’s scholarly agenda. (;
    • Methodology/design: The proposal describes the research methods, techniques, creative processes, or modes of inquiry to be used and the rationale for using them. (
    • Preparation for project: The proposal describes the applicant’s relevant background, skills, and experiences that are necessary for a successful project. Includes a description of the impact and outcomes of any previous academic leaves. (;
    • Impact/Value: The proposal describes the value of the project for the professional growth of the faculty member, the Augustana community (students, department, division and/or campus) and its anticipated contribution to communities and stakeholders at the local, national, and/or international level. Describes plans for public sharing of project outcomes. ( Please see this matrix for examples of how the results of different types of scholarship could be shared.

Also by October 1, the department chair (or their representative, in the case of a current chair’s application) should submit a letter of support ( addressing the following:

  • How is the project aligned with the department’s priorities and scholarly expectations? With the applicant’s agenda? For PTPL, the chair should comment specifically on the project’s alignment with the department’s expectations for tenure. 
  • Do the project’s processes or proposed outcomes differ significantly from the applicant’s regular teaching and/or service expectations in scope, value, and/or influence?
  • Does the faculty member have the necessary experience and preparation in this content area to complete the proposed project? 
  • Does the applicant have adequate funding, resources, and equipment to complete this project?
  • How will the department accommodate the faculty member’s absence for the requested leave period?

Post-sabbatical/PTPL obligations (7.3.5)

Recipients should use this link to submit a report to Academic Affairs by March 15 following a fall leave or October 15 following a spring or year-long academic leave. This report will include a 100-200 word abstract summarizing the project, which will be published on the FRC’s webpage to recognize these achievements and provide examples to future applicants.  The rest of the report will include a brief statement of the original purpose of the PTPL or sabbatical, a summary of accomplishments, and plans for sharing the outcomes with the target communities and/or stakeholders as well as how the faculty member will share the results or processes of the leave with the campus community (e.g. at Celebration of Learning, a campus workshop, display, performance, etc.).  Unless otherwise indicated, all leave recipients will be invited to participate in Celebration of Learning in May following their return. 

Faculty may also elect to address the following in the report:

  • To what degree did your sabbatical meet your expectations? Were any of your achievements or outcomes unexpected?
  • Did you encounter any challenges, and if so, how did you address them?
  • What are your expectations for the short and/or long-term impact of your project on your own growth? On faculty, students, your department or program(s), college and/or community?

Recipients should also include a version of the report, along with any subsequent updates, in their materials at their next review.

Sabbatical and pre-tenure paid leave reports


Sabbatical reports, 2023-24

Lendol Calder, History: I am writing a book under the working title "Teaching American History in the Age of Trump: One Semester in a College US History Classroom." And I began the work of conceptualizing a book that might appeal to two different audiences: 1) instructors who want to know how my "uncoverage" methods work on a day to day basis, and 2) people who are following the "Ed Scare" as legislators in many states and in the US Congress pass laws regulating how US history is taught in K-16. What does a college American history course look like? Are professors indoctrinating students with their left-wing agendas? Are white students being made to feel "uncomfortable" during difficult discussions of race and gender inequalities? I would hope my book will throw light on these and other matters currently making news headlines on a daily basis. I gave a presentation at the American Historical Association annual meeting in San Francisco in January, 2024 on the topic of my proposed book: "Teaching History in Polarized Times." Over 120 people attended the session, making it one of the more popular sessions at a conference attended by 2,000 historians.

Rob Elfine, Music: I used the sabbatical time to complete two projects related to future performances: 1) I learned the Goldberg Variations of Johann Sebastian Bach, and 2) completed a series of original compositions for piano solo. I plan to perform the Goldberg Variations in January of 2025. The original compositions will be included on each solo recital that I present for the foreseeable future.

Nathan Frank, Physics: My sabbatical furthered my experimental nuclear physics research program associated with Michigan State University (MSU) at the Facility for Relativistic Ion Beams (FRIB) formerly the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) during the fall and J-term (August 1, 2023 – February 1, 2024). I worked on projects related to future experiments, detector development, and finishing existing projects. I traveled to MSU to work with local collaborators to prepare the experimental setup for our first experiments scheduled for Spring 2025. Tests performed on neutron detectors assembled by Augustana students at the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL) are preparation work for the Next Generation Neutron detector project recently funded by the National Science Foundation. In addition, I traveled to Los Alamos National Laboratory to work on a dissertation experiment related to neutron detection. The work during this sabbatical provides the start of new projects for students to do big physics at small places alongside completing prior experimental work. Results were presented at a talk titled “Resolution Optimization by Trace Fitting a Charged Particle Detector Telescope” at the April 2024 American Physical Society in Sacramento, CA.

Rupa Gordon, Psychology: Electroencephalography (EEG) is a non-invasive way to directly record brain activity that is relatively accessible to undergraduate students compared to other neuroscientific methods. However, it is challenging to learn proper data collection and analysis techniques. I completed two EEG projects in order to master the use of this equipment and increase accessibility for Augustana students. First, my students and I analyzed neural synchrony of individual EEG data during asynchronous storytelling: speakers told a story while video and EEG recordings were taken, and listeners later watched videos or heard audio of the speaker while their EEG was recorded. Then, we collected dual-systems data from two individuals simultaneously to measure face-to-face neural synchrony during storytelling. As one of the main benefits for my sabbatical was to the educational and research programs of the College and the Psychology & Neuroscience programs, I developed a Neurophysiology Handbook with detailed instructions and videos to improve accessibility of this technology for future Senior Inquiry and supervised research projects. Finally, I published a SOTL manuscript in the Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education showing that my J-term course led to improvement in knowledge of common brain injury misconceptions, and also reduced the students’ willingness to risk future concussion. (Gordon, R. G. (2023). Reducing brain injury misconceptions and willingness to risk concussion with a three-week introductory-level neuroscience course. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 22(1), A51).

Pre-tenure reports, 2023-24

Mike Augspurger, Engineering: My project investigates the usefulness of ceiling fans for residential climate control in cooler weather. Ceiling fan manufacturers and installers routinely recommend using a ceiling fan in the winter by reversing the rotational direction of the fan. The argument is that a slow reversed flow (SRF) disturbs thermal stratification by moving warm air near the ceiling down into the lived space of the room without introducing a significant wind chill effect. Theoretically, SRF can lower the thermostat setting needed to produce a comfortable lived environment in a room and therefore increase the energy efficiency of the heating system. However, little research has been done to provide guidance about what room conditions would benefit from SRF. My research uses computational simulations to provide this guidance. First, a simulation process for thermal stratification and ceiling fan flows would be developed and then validated against experimental results. Once this work was complete, a set of simulations would be used to determine the effects of SRF in rooms defined by parameters such as ceiling height, room volume, insulation, and flow speed. Finally, an economic optimization model would provide an estimate of when and how SRF should be used, based on environmental parameters.

AKM R. Bashar, Mathematics and Computer Science: Asthma is the most prominent chronic disease in children and one of the most challenging ailments to diagnose in infants and preschoolers. In this study, we have developed classification and prediction models for early detection of Asthma in Children of the USA population based on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) collected and maintained by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA. This prediction model can be utilized through the APP built through a web page domain-ed in an Academic website or from a personal web page that can be established through web development. In this study, we have built several machine-learned and statistically learned models based on the data collected from CDC. We have studied several algorithms to develop an algorithm with the highest accuracy. The result shows that "Visiting Doctors", "Duration of Symptoms in the last 30 Days", and several other variables of this nature play a significant role in the building process of the model. In our study, we found the "XgBoost" algorithm provides the highest accuracy when it comes to predicting Asthma based on the behavioral data that were collected by the CDC. Since our model algorithm predicted the outcome based on the available data only. So, in the case of the issue of improving the model prediction accuracy, it is inferred that if we had access to the bigger data resources and data collection process then the accuracy of the model algorithm will be improved significantly.

Rajan Bishwakarma, Economics: During the pre-tenure paid leave, I was engaged in three scholarly pursuits. The first project demonstrates that exposure to high temperatures during pregnancy can impede child growth, possibly through various market and non-market mechanisms. The second project shows that mothers allocate their time equally between boys and girls, suggesting that son-preference may not be an inherent bias but rather a product of cultural and social constraints. The third project delves into the historical and philosophical roots of the study of human capital particularly focusing on the economic approach to understanding child wellbeing before the age of five.

Cathy Webb, Communication Sciences & Disorders: During my PTPL I was able to work on several research projects that had been on hold. These projects included: 1) continuing a research study being conducted with a Master's student around the use of augmentative and alternative communication for religious participation, 2) writing up dissertation study, which focused on disability-related curriculum in Masters of Divinity programs in the United States, and 3) new work on disability, particularly chronic pain, as a feminist issue. I was also able to start refining several other projects and collaborate with peers to submit a chapter proposal for a book.


Sabbatical reports, 2022-23

Laura Greene, English: During my sabbatical, I designed a new course for the new Integrative Health and the Humanities Minor on Narrative Medicine. The premise of this course is that study of literature and the practice of writing can better equip students for the cognitive and emotional rigors of a career in medicine. I’ve organized the course into three sections, each focused on a significant concern in healthcare which narrative medicine can help address. The first concern is the increasingly reliance on diagnostic algorithms in medicine, and the consequent neglect of the interpretive skills and flexible thinking doctors need when faced with incomplete, inconclusive, or contradictory data. The second concern is the suffering of the sick, whose experience with the medical professions can deprive them of their sense of identity, agency, and self-determination, as well as their status as someone who is credible, whole, worthy, blameless. The third concern is the suffering of healthcare workers, who are experiencing burnout, PTSD, moral injury, and suicide at alarming rates. This course will explore the ways narrative medicine attempts to prevent or cope with these problems, making the practice of medicine both more effective and more humane for all concerned.

Meg Gillette, English: Middle-aged. Midwestern. A society woman. Marjorie Allen Seiffert (1885-1970) looks less like a "typical" modernist than the foils (the women who "come and go / talking of Michelangelo" or "the old lady of Dubuque" for whom The New Yorker would not be written) that so many modernists defined themselves against. Nonetheless, Seiffert, a middle-aged socialite from Moline, Illinois, participated in Spectra, modernism’s most infamous literary hoax, and published hundreds of poems in modernist magazines, most prominently Harriet Monroe’s Poetry: A Magazine in Verse and The New Yorker. These poems—which often dealt with modern love, marriage, and maternity, as well as ageism, resistance, and the growth of age identity—add to the ever-expanding archive of material for scholars interested in gender and modernism as well as those interested in critical age studies. Seiffert’s life and writing also make visible an underappreciated socio-literary context for modern women’s writing: women’s clubs. Learning from Richard H. Brodhead that "American literary history should be rethought as the history of the relation between literary writing and the changing meanings and places made for such work in American social history" (8), my sabbatical research shows how Seiffert drew upon the cultural work and literacy practices of women’s clubs to refashion midlife womanhood and participate in modernism.

Margaret Kunde, Communication Studies: In this article, I rhetorically analyze the Final Report by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capital, released in January 2023, as a jumping off point to explore possible limitations of and opportunities for rhetorical responses to political crises in the wider U.S. public discourse. In contrast to the Report’s tragic centering of Trump as agent, I argue that a comic frame could help bring the scene, or the state of democracy, to a place of interrogation, and allow for a broader accounting of agents, agency, and acts as well as their relationships to one another. Rather than deny an ultimate reckoning of a tragic situation, this article examines the importance of comic processing in service of the greater democratic community. By providing a space to reinterpret and resituate the pentadic motives underlying an act of democratic crisis like the insurrection, a comic frame’s pentadic vision can potentially open up new and transformative ways of understanding our public selves, each other, and our political relationships while still allowing for the expression of warrantable outrage.

Brian Leech, History: I completed three chapters of a scholarly book project, tentatively titled Imaginary Mines: Monster Movies, Sad Songs, Tough-Guy TV and Other Places Where Mining Appears in American Popular Culture. Covering a wide variety of popular culture—from Westerns and horror movies to reality television, country songs, and video games—the book argues that, over the past century, the portrayal of mining in popular culture has become more connected to an imagined American past than to the reality of modern industrial mining. This book will expose the cultural roots of what many call "extractivism," a model of economic development that relies on natural resource extraction for the world market.

Chris Marmé, Economics: I am writing an intermediate macroeconomic textbook. Its working title is Notes on Macroeconomics. The book is vastly different from the majority of intermediate texts in that it is written from a "Post-Keynesian" perspective. What this means is that--like all Post-Keynesians--I argue that the macroeconomic theory found in Keynes’ General Theory was truly a break from both came before and the orthodoxy that was restored with the "neoclassical synthesis". Unlike the handful of other intermediate texts written from this perspective (such as Paul Davidson’s Post-Keynesian Macroeconomic Theory or, my mentor, the late Paul Wells’ Aggregate Economic Analysis: an Intermediate Exposition) I have tried throughout the manuscript to take a less combative stance toward orthodox economics. The book centers around “indefinite preferences”, the idea that market economies are about communicating information between buyers and sellers –when that information is there- and the fundamental uncertainty that Post-Keynesians (following Keynes’ lead) emphasize, is at root is caused by the fact that when you and I save we have no clear idea of when we will draw on these financial resources or for what we will be using them for.

Margaret Morse, Art History: I worked on two research projects during my sabbatical. The first, "Devotion as Accessory: the Rosary and Religious Identity in the Early Modern World", argues that the rosary was the preferred accessory by which lay Catholics cultivated their spiritual lives and proclaimed their religious affiliation and pious status. My project explores the multiple functions of the early modern rosary, from high-end adornment to humble devotional aid, and situates the beads in the larger context of devotional jewelry and the "look" of Catholicism that emerged in the wake of the Reformation. By investigating the rosary at the intersection of both fashion and devotion, I demonstrate how belief was “worn” in early modern Europe, and the role accessories played in constituting religion in everyday life. With my second project, I began to research early modern portraits that depicted individuals in the guise of saints, particularly female saints. Little research has been done on this phenomenon, as art historians tend to treat portraiture as a secular art form. In a period when many noble women were cloistered in convents because of their families’ inability to afford a marriage dowry, these portraits may have been painted in their honor, and served as a way to maintain family bonds and affirm familial piety.

Jamie Nordling, Psychology: For my sabbatical project, I created a social and emotional learning (SEL) intervention for first-year students from marginalized and/or disadvantaged backgrounds (i.e., students of color and/or Pell Grant recipients). First-year advisors were trained to administer the intervention via virtual presentations, and they met with their advisees one-on-one five times over Fall Term. During each meeting, student participants learned the science behind the five SEL topics (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making), completed exercises to strengthen their skills, and were given homework to further develop their SEL strategy use. My overall goal was to create programming during the first year that would lead to student success and better retention rates, which is in line with the second goal of the “Augustana Unbound” strategic plan. I worked with two student research assistants; some of their tasks included writing statistical syntax for all surveys, completing qualitative data analysis, and presenting our project at Celebration of Learning.

Sangeetha Rayapati, Music: This sabbatical project was focused on examining the teaching artist vs. licensed therapist debate in teaching special populations of students, specifically students in prison higher education programs. In an effort to create a “how-to” guide for teaching artists, a thorough understanding of ethical underpinnings and best practices in the arts in prison education was examined for future contribution to the body of research on prison higher education and to help others join in the work of reducing recidivism by formerly incarcerated individuals. Conference attendance and examination of existing resources reveals the breadth of diversity of approaches to inclusion of the arts in prison higher education, with more emphasis on written creative arts as opposed to performing arts and the depth of issues regarding funding of any programming of this fashion. 

Jessica Schultz, Psychology: This sabbatical supported significant progress in projects involving both professional expression and professional development. First, I co-authored a book applying principles of deliberate practice to training clinicians in Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) and a review article of IPT (both are in press). Second, I furthered my work in translating the science of positive psychology to the public with invited presentations on the science of flourishing and psychology of hope to multiple professional and community organizations. Finally, I pursued specialized professional development activities including two weeks of Spanish language school to support my leadership of the Guatemala study away program and nearly 40 hours of continuing education programming in service of my teaching, research, and clinical work.

Austin Williamson, Psychology: It was proposed that individuals form internal working models, both of how support figures behave in general, and of how specific support figures behave individually. Participants were 217 first-year college students in the first semester of their involvement with an athletic team or Greek organization. They reported on the support they perceived to be available from three friends in those organizations at four time-points, over the course of 18 months. Regarding general working models, participants who had more supportive high school friends perceived more support available from their new college friends, even after controlling for their actual experiences with the college friends. Regarding friend-specific working models, friends who were perceived as more supportive at the beginning of the study were perceived as increasingly supportive over time, even after controlling for actual experiences with that friend. These primacy effects illustrate the influence of relationship history on perceptions of social support.

Carolyn Yaschur, Multimedia Journalism/Mass Communications: In October 2022, MJMC professor Dr. Carolyn Yaschur and Sarah Walton, an MJMC, Communication Studies, and Theater Performance triple major traveled to Nepal to teach photojournalism to and mentor girls at the Karuna Girls School in Lumbini. They collaborated with Girl Reports, an international nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls and combating gender inequality through journalism education. Dr. Yaschur is a board member and the curriculum board chair of the organization and worked with journalism professors across the U.S. to design the curriculum that she and Walton implemented. While there, Yaschur also visually documented the daily life of the Pathak family, with whom she and Sarah lived while in Lumbini.

Pre-tenure reports, 2022-23

Melinda Mahon, Business Administration: The purpose of the leave was to pursue a case study writing project to supplement other research I have contributed to in the fields of management and accounting. I planned to organize this research as a teaching case study that could be used as a capstone project in my Organizational Behavior course. This real-life case puts students in the position of the leadership team and asks them to strategize how they would approach the managerial implications of culture change. Students will practice describing the current state of an organization, diagnosing the pain points of the current state, and prescribing a course of action for addressing those pain points. This is a factual case based on a real organization, though names and some details have been changed for confidentiality. I completed a successful live classroom test of the case on October 3, 2023. Now that it has been classroom tested, I am preparing the teaching case for submission to the Journal of Business Cases and Applications.