Four School of Media Public Affairs professors to go on sabbatical next year

Correction appended

Four full-time professors in the School of Media and Public Affairs will begin a sabbatical next year.

The long-serving professors – Kim Gross, Kerric Harvey, Albert May and Patricia Phalen – will be leaving in either the upcoming fall or spring semesters for sabbatical.

GW will also see one professor retire in December 2011, and two retire at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year, forcing GW to hire additional faculty.

On average, three of the school’s full-time faculty members are away on sabbatical during any given year, SMPA’s Communications Director Samara Sit said. Next year, seven faculty members will leave, but only three will be away during each semester because of alternating sabbatical schedules, in addition to the professors retiring.

Despite their absence, all of the core classes taught by these professors will still be offered, Sit said.
Sit declined to comment on which professors would be retiring.

On her yearlong sabbatical, Gross, who is the associate director of SMPA, will continue her research on media framing and emotion. After already publishing several papers and performing experimental work in relation to her studies, Gross will examine how the media frames stories and appeals to human emotion, as well as how media framing shapes public opinion.

May will take sabbatical for the fall semester only. He will conduct a research project focusing on how Congress and the federal government utilize social media.

Phalen will conduct research at the Media Management and Transformation Center at J?nk?ping University in Sweden during her sabbatical next year. Phalen will give seminars for doctoral students and collaborate on research projects with professors at the center who study current questions about media and technology.

“The idea is to bring the experiences and research into the classroom when we get back so that our students benefit from the time we spend away from campus,” Phalen said.

Phalen received the invitation to study at the center last year during the World Media Economics and Management Conference in Bogota, Colombia.

Full-time faculty members are eligible for sabbatical after teaching for seven years.

Sit said the school is unable to comment at this time on the hiring process.

This article was updated on Feb. 1, 2011 to reflect the following: The Hatchet incorrectly reported that three professors would be retiring next year. In fact, two of the retiring professors will leave in May 2012.
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