Pasco-Hernando State College Volume XIV, Issue II Fall 2020 - Page 10
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
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”
Would you recommend sabbaticals for
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
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
Anything additional you would like to add about
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!