Brown, Liu receive sabbaticals for Fall 12’ semester

Sabbaticals have been granted to two Missouri Southern professors so they may work on scholastic writing projects.

Dr. Joey Brown and Dr. Kexi Liu are the sabbatical recipients. Sabbaticals are granted by Southern. Both recipients plan to write books of scholastic value but with different purposes.

Brown, professor of English, has two projects planned during the sabbatical.

“The first will be to revise and edit a poetry collection which I have already begun writing,” she said.

“The second project will be to research and write a long work of nonfiction based on the [Work Progress Administration] travel tours from the late 1930’s. For that I will be retracing some of the tour routes by car, conducting interviews and consulting the notes and photos of the original writers from the ‘30s.”

The WPA tours first interested Brown 10 years ago while she was working on her dissertation.

“I was writing about place and landscape, and how writers of certain geographic regions use those in their creative works,” she said.

“The WPA tours felt like both a beacon to help guide some of my research then, but also as a lost opportunity in terms of the treatment of them as a subject. They were written to be very practical and informative, and so they’re dry. I hope I write something that is more entertaining, more of a contemporary travel narrative.”

“This will be a long-term project, one I predict will take at least a couple of years to complete, so I’ll be using the sabbatical to get as much pre-writing research done as possible,” Brown said.

A collection of poetry by Brown was published in 2010 and she hopes the second will be out by the end of the year. She has also had numerous essays and short stories published.

Liu, professor of music and director of the Suzuki Violin Academy and the Southern Symphony Orchestra, is using his sabbatical to write a new textbook for the string techniques class he teaches.

“It’s a class requirement for music major students and we currently use a textbook which was published in 1995, I believe, and that textbook is kind of old and has been outdated and I cannot find another textbook for this class; that’s why I want to write one myself,” Liu said.

Liu says he will most likely begin writing in the summer. “I can take this sabbatical, leave in the fall and hopefully I can finish it by the end of the fall semester.”

He has previously written two books.

“[One of the books] I wrote was about violin bowing techniques and that’s actually related to the book I’m going to write, so I’m pretty sure I can use some results from my previous research in this textbook,” Liu said.

Both professors received the sabbatical grants after going through the application process.

According to Brown, applicants were required to submit a letter explaining why they should receive the grant, a proposal of how they would use the sabbatical and a letter of support from their respective department heads. The applications then had to be approved by their deans, a review board made up of faculty members, the vice president of academic affairs, and finally by the board of directors.

The sabbatical grant is for the coming fall semester and the professors will return to teaching in spring 2013.