Faculty members prepare sabbaticals, educational experience

Jay Moorman - Communication Department Head

Jay Moorman – Communication Department Head

Two Missouri Southern faculty members will be traveling abroad within the near future.Dr. Jay Moorman, head of the department of communication, and Dr. Danny Overdeer, professor of education, will be going on sabbaticals.Overdeer will be going to universities in Japan during the beginning of the spring semester 2007.Overdeer’s primary responsibility is science education. He said there are studies showing the Japanese do better than the United States in science education at the elementary school level.”I want to see what they are doing differently,” he said. “I want to see how they prepare their teachers [and] how they teach the schools.”He said he is excited about going to Japan.Moorman will spend the fall semester in Taiwan at Fu Jen Catholic University.Moorman said he attended an international conference in Beijing, China with University President Julio León and Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute for International Studies.”While I was at that conference, I met some people from this university [Fu Jen],” Moorman said.He said he was invited to come and speak at their university. The arrangement took a few years because he had to apply for the sabbatical, Moorman said.”They actually invited me last year, and we kind of had to extend it to this year,” he said.As part of his lecture, he will be discussing communication within the United States.Moorman had a lot of preparation for the sabbatical because he said he has to make sure everything is left “in good hands.” Dr. Robert Clark, professor of communication, will be the interim department head while Moorman is on sabbatical.A sabbatical gives a faculty member a chance to pursue their research interests.”My research interests have always revolved around the Pacific Rim cultures,” Moorman said. Moorman said he will be comparing the communication departments in Taiwan to the department at Southern. As personal interests, he wants to find out more about the Chinese culture and also is working on his fluency in Chinese.”I’ve been taking it for a long time,” he said.Moorman said he is nervous, but also excited to go to Taiwan for his sabbatical.”It’s something we all look forward to,” he said.He thinks sabbaticals are a chance to reinvent or reinvigorate oneself.”It’s an important time for faculty members,” Moorman said.