By Wendy Jo Moyer
The purpose of Sabbatical Leave is to provide eligible faculty with a significant opportunity for new, or renewed, achievement and growth through activities such as study, research, writing, creative work and travel, so that the individual’s teaching and/or professional effectiveness may be enhanced.
With a desire to immerse himself in another culture, so he could share his experience with his students in World Mythology and Introduction to Music courses, Edward Frame, professor, humanities, used his sabbatical to study the mythology and music of the Māori people of New Zealand. According to NewZealand.com, Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, who came to the country more than 1,000 years ago from their mythical Polynesian homeland of Hawaiki. Today Māori people make up 14% of New Zealand’s population and their history, language and traditions are central to New Zealand’s identity.
The Auckland University of Technology National Māori Language Institute sponsored Edward for his sabbatical, and, prior to his visit, provided him a student’s doctoral dissertation on Māori subjects, so he could familiarize himself with the culture and determine what he’d like to study in advance of his travels.
During his six weeks in New Zealand, Edward gathered research materials that he could later share with his students and traveled by rental car, enjoying New Zealand’s nature and visiting Māori cultural centers and villages. Edward was able to record video and capture more than 2,000 photos to use in his lectures.
One of his favorite sights was the Te Matatini Festival, a four-day, biennial Māori performing arts festival in which members of each village donate their time and train for two years to prepare their storytelling “posture” dances that were developed out of tribal warfare and feature vigorous rhythms and movements. There were two types of performances. The women often perform the Waiata, which is a form of storytelling with music added, and the Haka is the posturing dance. Although the Haka is performed by both males and females, this dance is more often performed by males and features facial contortions, sticking out the tongue, body slapping and foot stomping.
“The way of performing during the dancing is to make the eyes big, so the whites show, and also for the males to stick out the tongue,” Edward chuckled. “Most of these dances are related to tribal differences where there might be a war. The Māori people believe that if you could make an ugly face, you could actually scare your opponent and you wouldn’t actually have to fight.”
In addition to his love for the performing arts festival, Edward was awestruck by New Zealand’s beauty. “It’s wide open. The population is low, and therefore the beaches are gorgeous with no people,” he shared. “New Zealand is unspoiled. It’s a gentle country with gentle people.”
Following his time in New Zealand, Edward also traveled to Australia and visited the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, Sydney and an Aboriginal village to research the Aboriginal people of Australia, who descended from groups that existed in Australia and surrounding islands prior to British colonization.
Upon Edward’s return to West Campus, he used his research, videos and photos to record a video lecture on the Māori people. Watch his lecture below:
“This was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life, and I was grateful for the time I had to spend in my chosen research area,” Edward shared. “I am grateful to Valencia for the time provided and would recommend that other faculty members take advantage of the opportunity provided by the sabbatical program.”
“With travel you can get in it and be involved,” he added, while also recommending that faculty members research their destination and make contacts prior to arrival to have the best experience. “Immersing yourself in another culture is the best learning experience that we can have.”
If you’re interested in a sabbatical, applications are now being accepted for the 2021-2022 academic year. For details and to apply, click here. The deadline to apply is Friday, October 4, 2019.
Do you know a faculty member doing great work? Or, perhaps you’d like to share the work you’re doing? Send the colleague’s (or your) name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu and include Faculty Highlight Nomination in the subject line of your email. We might just feature your colleague (or you) as an upcoming Faculty Highlight.