Sabbatical Success: Faculty Sabbaticals Prove Rewarding for Professors and Students Alike


City Colleges of Chicago faculty bring a wealth of expertise, passion, and commitment to the classroom for the benefit of our students. Their work inside the classroom is central to every student’s college experience and to the achievement of their goals.

However, City Colleges also recognizes the value that faculty work and scholarship outside of the classroom brings to our colleges, learners, and community. To foster this work, CCC offers the opportunity to take sabbatical leave to up to five percent of its faculty annually.

During sabbatical leave, faculty engage in projects and scholarship that enhance our institutions and improve student learning. Past projects have included developing new courses, deeply investigating teaching and learning practices, completing doctoral projects, building faculty guides and resources, and developing textbook-free courses via no-cost open educational resources (OERS).

To apply for leave, faculty submit robust proposals outlining the objectives of their proposed projects and the benefits they will bring to our learning communities. These are reviewed by a committee of faculty and staff at their respective college and approved by their vice president and president.

Once the work has been completed, faculty submit a full report on the outcomes of their projects and their learnings. They often present their results to faculty and staff at their home colleges during Faculty Development Week. For the first time this year, City Colleges is also hosting district-wide Sabbatical Share Out sessions, where faculty who completed sabbatical present the results of their projects and their learnings to colleagues across colleges.

This year, nine of our faculty members are presenting their projects during Sabbatical Share Out sessions. Their work covers a wide array of topics, from cultural competency to data analytics. However, each strengthens our learning communities by exploring critical issues and sharing best practices across the district.

The presentations include:

Jeffrey Swigart, Professor of Mathematics at Harold Washington College

  • Topic: Your Phone is Your Main Computer (or: Using Phones for Learning)

Michelle Yisrael, Assistant Professor of English at Kennedy-King College

  • Topic: Engaging in SoTL (the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning)

Simon Aman, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Harry S Truman College

  • Topic: Data Analysis with Python (Free and Simple Programing/Software)

Khadi King, Assistant Professor of Humanities at Malcolm X College

  • Topic: Cultural Competency in Healthcare

Chiju Chen, Assistant Professor of Biology at Malcolm X College

  • Topic: “Free is not better, but best” – Experiences in creating a comprehensive suite of open educational resources (OER), including a free textbook, lecture PowerPoint, and learning management system (LMS) resources, for Biology 121

Kyatonia Reaves, Assistant Professor of English at Kennedy-King College

  • Topic: Promotion in Rank at Kennedy-King College

Thomas Higgins, Professor of Physical Science at Harold Washington College

  • Topic: Analysis of pre-course knowledge and post-course outcomes in Chemistry 201 at Harold Washington College

Khaldoun Sweis, Associate Professor of Humanities at Olive-Harvey College

  • Topic: The Phoenix Effect: How to come back better and stronger though adversity and address stress in a productive way using cutting edge research from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Morgan Halstead, Associate Professor of English, Literature, and Speech at Malcolm X College

  • Topic: Reverse Transfer Tales: Listening to Students Re-experiencing College

Sabbatical leave can be a deeply creative and rewarding experience for faculty, allowing them to delve into their intellectual curiosity and interests to bring new content, practices, and experiences into their instruction.

City Colleges is proud of our faculty’s scholarship and excited about the sabbatical projects currently underway for this academic year. We look forward to the future learnings that will come from faculty that are deeply engaged in their work. We know those findings will be brought to bear for the benefit of our students.

Pamela Perry is the executive director of academic process and policy at City Colleges of Chicago. Pamela holds a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School and is currently earning her Ed.D. in Learning Design and Leadership from the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign.  Pamela has over 15 years of experience in higher education, with focuses in accreditation, assessment, strategy, and governance.