Four Raritan Valley Community College professors were granted sabbatical leaves for the 2015-2016 academic year.
The professors are Maria M. DeFellippis, Coordinator of Paralegal Studies; Karen Gaffney, Associate Professor of English; Patricia Hulsen, Professor of Mathematics; and Christine Piptone, Professor of English.
DeFellippis, Gaffney and Hulsen are taking their leave for one semester in Spring 2016. Pipitone is taking hers for the 2015-2016 academic year.
Gaffney will be continuing a book project, which she has been working several years on, during her sabbatical leave, tentatively called, “Dismantling Divide and Conquer: A Racial Justice Handbook for the 21st Century.” This relates directly to an elective course she teaches, “Race in American Literature and Popular Culture.”
“This reader-friendly, introductory handbook will teach educators, students, activists, and other people who care about racial justice several basic concepts for working toward racial justice in the US,” Gaffney said. There will be an online component to the book with specific ways of taking action.
Gaffney said people who care about racial justice need more tools, especially user-friendly ones, and the book will draw attention to “the divide and conquer mentality that has manipulated American society for centuries.”
Hulsen’s project is called “Spanning the Math Gap: Strengthening and Extending Math CEP.” The CEP (Concurrent Enrollment Program) allows high school students to earn college math credits. They must first complete their high school math credits and place satisfactorily.
Hulsen serves as math liaison, working with RVCC CEP personnel and partnering with nearby high schools. “This sabbatical project will allow me to spend significant time thoroughly investigating opportunities to expand Math CEP for RVCC and our area high schools in future semesters,” Hulsen said.
DeFellippis plans to prepare Paralegal Studies Program graduates for immediate entry into the legal profession.
“One of the main criteria for excellence in the field is a knowledge of computer based research and legal specialty software,” DeFellippis said. “I plan to research ways to provide Certifications for students in the technology area, as well as develop an online resource for students and faculty containing lessons and links to and for the use of legal software.”
Piptone plans to help students transition from common core classes into higher levels within the English Department.
RVCC expects faculty who take sabbatical leave to foster creative projects related to their discipline and increase their professional effectiveness to the college.
The recent faculty contract allows four full year and three half year sabbatical leaves per year and full pay for one semester or half pay for two semesters. Four professors applied this year. Professors were granted sabbaticals at the Feb 17, 2015 Board of Trustees meeting.