Professor Christian Early, professor of philosophy, will use his fall 2016 sabbatical to begin working on a book. (EMU file photo)

EMU faculty on sabbaticals for the 2016-17 academic year plan a variety of scholarly pursuits

Eastern Mennonite University announces the awarding of sabbaticals for the 2016-17 academic year. Six sabbaticals are granted per year.

Proposals from tenured faculty are selected by the Faculty Status Committee, comprised of chair Fred Kniss, provost; Deirdre Smeltzer, undergraduate dean; Michael King, dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies and of Eastern Mennonite Seminary; and five elected faculty members who have professor status.

Christian Early, professor of philosophy, during fall 2016. Early will use his sabbatical to begin working on a book that will build upon claims originating with Dr. Nancey Murphy about the tension between “conceptions of biology that highlight competition and a vision of human life guided by love and peace.” Early cites deep interest and relevant reading in this subject over the past couple of years as the starting place for his writing.

Cathy Smeltzer Erb, professor of teacher education, during spring 2017. Smeltzer Erb will focus on scholarship and professional development activities. She plans to engage in activities aimed at supporting the development of beginning teachers and subsequent production of a scholarly article, engagement with an innovative public middle school program, and extension of her personal knowledge of instructional technology.

James Leaman, associate professor of economics, during spring 2017. Leaman will work on a book project, co-authored with two local business leaders. His book subject will be identifying and analyzing the process of designing and building a climate-neutral residential home. The process and book connects with Leaman’s deep personal convictions around sustainability, links to his classroom teaching, and will become a hands-on learning opportunity for students.

Mark Thiessen Nation, professor of theology at Eastern Mennoite Seminary, during spring 2017. Thiessen Nation will do extensive research and write several essays as preparation for a future book. Essay topics may include Bonhoeffer’s pacifist/conscientious objection beliefs in the context of Nazi Germany/World War II; the way in which virtue formation was the project of the seminary in Finkenwalde; and engagement with Bohoeffer’s book, Ethics, which will likely include a discussion of his notion of “two kingdoms.” He plans to visit several Bonhoeffer-related sites in Germany.

Mark Metzler Sawin, professor of history, during spring 2017. Sawin will work on researching, editing and reissuing books by 19th century authors through a self-run publishing company, Emu Editions.  Sawin will develop Emu Editions more fully: constructing its web page, developing a marketing program, and setting up a formal editorial board of other 19th-century literary scholars. The project will enable Sawin to provide EMU students the opportunity to work on real publishing projects.

Andrew White, associate professor of English, during both fall and spring semesters. White plans to outline and write at least three chapters of a book on the experience of Quakers in the Seven Years’ War and their subsequent embrace of pacifism. Out of this initial work, he anticipates giving at least one conference presentation, incorporating his learnings into the courses he teaches at EMU, and contemplating connections between the Anabaptist and Quaker peace traditions. White believes this area of research aligns well with the EMU mission.