Two Fairmont State University faculty members were recognized at the annual Faculty Award Ceremony earlier this year as sabbatical award recipients, which provides the opportunity to engage in research, writing, study or any other activity to improve instruction.
Director of the Architecture Undergraduate Program and Professor of Architecture, Kirk Morphew, and Honors Program Director and Associate Professor of History, Robin Payne, have utilized downtime throughout the summer months to prepare for their respective sabbatical leaves, in hopes of conducting research to be utilized in future academic settings.
Morphew aims to develop a graduate-level course focusing on sacred architecture during his sabbatical.
“Sacred architecture expresses a facet of what it means to be human. It is instructive to explore how diverse faiths have expressed their differences and commonalities through the millennia,” Morphew said. “Exploring various religions via architecture is excellent for students in that it may be demonstrated how a particular belief becomes manifest or ‘concretized’ in the built environment.”
Morphew’s leave research will explore architectural sacred structures across different geographical and cultural societies and how religious beliefs can affect the built environment. The course will weave topics including ecology, sustainability, cultural boundaries, diversity and empathy into the curriculum.
“Sacredness crosses geographical and cultural boundaries,” Morphew continued. “Educated people should be empathic concerning beliefs and cultures outside of their own and strive to build tolerance and freedom from prejudice.”
Morphew anticipates the course will be prepared for delivery by Spring 2024.
Payne is slated to begin her sabbatical project in the spring of 2023 when she begins to revise her doctoral dissertation titled, “Second-Wave Feminisms and the Problem of Romantic Love,” which discusses participants of the modern women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
Payne explained the modern women of the 1960s and 1970s questioned the social and culture meanings of romantic love. While she resumes her research, Payne will continue to explore how these cultural shifts evolved into different viewpoints and stances on romantic ideals and partnership.
“My primary focus is on exploring how feminist theory was complicated by the realities of lived, personal experiences,” Payne said. “I will be incorporating more recently conducted archival research into my earlier work and will focus on seeking a publisher for the resultant book manuscript.”
Payne’s research will allow for this topic to be explored more thoroughly in future classroom settings.
Any Fairmont State University faculty member with six or more full-time years of employment at the University is eligible for a sabbatical leave.