“The word sabbatical comes from the Greek word sabatikos, which in turn comes from the Hebrew Sabbath, which means rest,” said Katie Lynch, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Brookdale Community College.

Brookdale Community College has announced an exciting array of sabbatical projects for the 2024-2025 academic year. Dr. Lynch unveiled these initiatives, highlighting their potential to enrich the college and the broader community. Here’s a closer look at the awarded sabbaticals and the visionary faculty behind them.

There are two types of sabbaticals: transitional and a more traditional faculty sabbatical. The transitional sabbaticals are for faculty retiring following the 2024-2025 academic year. “When a faculty member takes a sabbatical, they do not simply rest,” said Dr. Lynch. “They rest from the work of teaching to accomplish other projects on behalf of the institution. So, it is both a gift of service and an act of rest from their teaching duties. Their final act here at Brookdale is one of service to the institution.”

The following two faculty members, taking transitional sabbaticals, will retire and leave the college at the end of the 2024-2025 academic year.

Professor Patricia Dillon, Ph.D., Biology Department
Dr. Patricia Dillon will take a transitional sabbatical to develop an “Honors in the Major” program. This program will promote student participation in extracurricular activities and establish pathways for independent research projects. Upon graduation, students who complete these projects will receive an honors distinction in their major. The initiative aims to enhance student engagement in extracurricular activities and facilitate independent research projects, crucial for a comprehensive STEM education. Dr. Dillon, hired in 1999, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Vassar College, a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Rutgers, and a doctoral degree in physiology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). She did her postdoctoral research on inflammation and microcirculation at UMDNJ and worked as a corporate environmental engineer at Schering Corporation before joining Brookdale. Reflecting on her project, Dr. Dillon said, “This program will provide a robust support system that fosters retention and helps students achieve their educational and career goals.”

Professor Lisa Hailey, Engineering and Technology Department
Professor Lisa Hailey’s transitional sabbatical will focus on developing MATLAB tutorial assignments for key engineering courses. This initiative aims to provide Brookdale engineering students with hands-on experiences similar to those at four-year institutions. Professor Hailey, also hired in 1999, earned an associate degree in engineering from Brookdale Community College, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, also from NJIT. “These tutorials will ensure our students are well-prepared and competitive in their future engineering careers,” said Professor Hailey.

The following are the awarded faculty sabbaticals:

Professor Barbara Jones, Ph.D., Anthropology Department
Dr. Barbara Jones will use her sabbatical to gain proficiency in GIS/Geomatics Mapping by completing a three-course sequence at Rutgers University. This training will enable her to equip students with the skills necessary to succeed academically and professionally in today’s ArcGIS ecosystem. Dr. Jones, who joined Brookdale in 2000, holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Virginia Tech, a master’s degree in secondary education from Radford University, and a doctoral degree in anthropology from Rutgers University. She has published over forty articles and authored one book, with another currently in peer review. Dr. Jones emphasized the importance of GIS skills in today’s job market: “The job opportunities for our students with GIS proficiency are tremendous, and this training will position them for success.”

Professor Lawrence Hartzell, History Department
Professor Lawrence Hartzell’s sabbatical will delve into the history of the horse industry in Monmouth County, focusing on Brookdale Farm and its notable thoroughbreds. This research will culminate in a book-length manuscript and will be shared through lectures, articles, and a dedicated blog. Professor Hartzell, who has been with Brookdale since 1993, holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Duke University and a master’s degree in American history from the University of Virginia. He expressed his excitement, saying, “Brookdale has a rich horse history that deserves to be told, and I look forward to uncovering and sharing these stories with our community.”

These sabbaticals underscore Brookdale Community College’s commitment to academic excellence and community enrichment. The faculty’s efforts will undoubtedly enhance the college’s programs, offering students new opportunities and preparing them for future success. As Dr. Lynch summarized, “It is the sign of a robust college that the faculty can rest in this way from their teaching and engage in research, that they will then return to the classroom and enrich the lives of our students and the intellectual life of this institution.”