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If cramming for finals sounds intense, how about a semester- or year-long study session spent delving into the issues immigrant families face or transcribing improvised jazz music?

Four University of Wisconsin Oshkosh faculty members have been awarded sabbaticals for the 2010-2011 academic year:  Donald Hones, professor of curriculum and instruction; Marty Robinson, associate professor of music; Wendy Strauch-Nelson, assistant professor of art; and Linfeng Xie, professor of chemistry.

Hones will spend a semester exploring issues faced by families who have migrated from Michoacan, Mexico, to Wisconsin. Participants within a large, extended family will be interviewed in Michoacan, California and Wisconsin.

“The study also will draw on the expertise of research institutes and non-governmental organizations that specialize in migration studies in Mexico and the United States,” Hones said. “The expected outcomes of this research include research manuscripts, a book, course revisions and exchange agreements with universities in Mexico.”

Robinson will spend his semester-long sabbatical transcribing improvised jazz solos by trumpeter Thad Jones (1923-1986) to document the complete catalog of Jones’ recorded trumpet solos.

“This extensive work will be done with the assistance of new software that allows for recordings to be slowed down while maintaining constant pitch and timbre — new technology that has immediate applications in classes,” Robinson said. “My intent is to publish a book of Thad Jones’ trumpet transcriptions and to present my research globally with papers and presentations.”

In a yearlong sabbatical, Nelson will research and write four essays based on the work of Fredrich Frobel, an influential, 19th century educator and inventor of kindergarten.

“Froebel’s child-centered philosophy may help reinvent art education practice in the 21st century,” she said. “This course of study will result in professional development through in-depth study, course revisions and improvements, and contributions to the field of art education via manuscripts for publication.”

Xie will spend a semester in the laboratory, developing useful chemical reactions and synthetic methods and studying their potential applications in the syntheses of other interesting products.

“The sabbatical will further enhance my professional growth in a new research direction and allow me to bring new knowledge and teaching ideas into the classroom,” Xie said.