Pasco-Hernando State College Volume XIV, Issue II Fall 2020 | Page 10

FOUNDATION NEWS KELLI CARTER, PH.D.: BENEFITS OF SABBATICALS Tell us a little about yourself. I have been teaching at PHSC for 14 years—three years as an adjunct and full time for 11 years. I have a Bachelor in Science in biology and a Master in Science in zoology. In 2010, I began classes at the University of Central Florida to become full time faculty. I enjoyed being a student again. The class Teaching and Learning in the Community College sparked my interest in pursuing my Ph.D. in biology education. What was your sabbatical application for? I was working full time, juggling classes and my dissertation research. I applied for the sabbatical to focus completely on finishing my dissertation. Although I applied for an annual, (two-semester) Kelli Carter, Ph.D. sabbatical, I thought I would only be permitted for one semester. I was surprised but excited the whole year was approved! This was the fourth year of my Ph.D. program, and I could commit fully to my research. How will this elevate your teaching experience? My Ph.D., is in biology education. The focus of my dissertation research was using formative assessment in anatomy and physiology. Formative assessment is used by an instructor to gauge student learning. If students are struggling with a concept, the feedback can inform an instructor of the difficulty. I use formative assessment tools in the anatomy and physiology classes I teach. How will the sabbatical directly affect students? The sabbatical allowed me to focus on collecting data for my dissertation research. It would have been difficult to collect that data while working full time. My research gave me a clearer picture of the difficulty students have with conceptual understanding in anatomy and physiology. Besides using more formative assessment in my classes, I have modified my teaching style during some of the “sticky points” in learning. Would you recommend sabbaticals for your peers? Absolutely! The sabbatical is designed for professional development. If someone is working on an advanced degree and trying to juggle everything, the sabbatical may be the answer. What advice would you give another faculty member contemplating applying for the sabbatical? Be patient and prepared during the application period. The sabbatical application is due in October, a full year before I actually wanted it. The process went through various reviews and was finally approved the following March. Although it was unnerving to wait, the sabbatical was completely worth it. Prior to applying, I spoke with other PHSC employees who had received a sabbatical. I would be happy to talk or help anyone considering going through the application process. Anything additional you would like to add about your experience? I truly appreciate the opportunity the Foundation and the sabbatical provided me to complete my degree. I would still be working my way through my degree if it had not been for that year I could focus on my education. I am happy to say that I completed my Ph.D. a year ago! Thank you! 8 PHSC