Dr. Keith Kisselle, Austin College associate professor of biology and environmental science, will present “Threats to the Canadian Boreal Forest: My Sabbatical with the National Resources Defense Council” on October 7 at 5 p.m. via Zoom. The lecture is part of the Bernice S. Melvin Sabbatical Series hosted by the College’s Robert and Joyce Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching.
Pre-registration is required for the event, using the campus link. After registration, a confirmation will include needed information regarding access to the Zoom lecture.
Though Kisselle’s involvement with this project was before the COVID-19 pandemic, much of his interaction with the NRDC team was via Zoom as much of the staff worked from home during remodeling of the organization’s offices. Before his sabbatical actually began, Kisselle joined members of the NRDC Canada team during November 2018 for planning.
The majority of Kisselle’s work got underway in January 2019 as he began his sabbatical, and continued through the summer. He said he primarily assisted with background collection and analysis of literature research to help advocacy efforts to protect the Canadian boreal forest, principally from logging. He also moderated a webinar the NRDC hosted with three other researchers who outlined threats to the Canadian boreal forest.
Austin College’s Robert and Joyce Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching is directed by Dr. Andrea Overbay, associate professor of mathematics. Within the mission of the center is the encouragement of “bold exploration of intellectual frontiers” and “fostering lively intellectual dialogue within and across academic disciplines.”
The Bernice S. Melvin Sabbatical Series honors the late Professor Emerita of French Dr. Bernice Melvin, who taught at Austin College from 1980 until her retirement in 2015. As a department chair, dean of Humanities, and Johnson Center director, Bernice was an indefatigable supporter of faculty autonomy and research, and fostered a collegial environment of scholarly creativity and innovation across all Austin College divisions and disciplines. She loved to hear her colleagues discuss their research and sabbatical experiences and was a driving force behind the “Tuesdays With” faculty presentations that were a precursor to the Johnson Center’s Sabbatical Series. She died earlier this year.
The Johnson Center schedules a number of events throughout the year, with presentations by Austin College faculty and guest lecturers.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin College cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. The College, founded in 1849, is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.