How do faculty and staff rejuvenate during the summer and get ready for the new academic year and the students they will inspire? Here are a few answers to the classic question: “What did you do on your summer vacation?”

“This summer, I found myself zipping down a mountain on a mile plus toboggan ride, passing wild flowers and big-eyed cows with bells around their necks.

We—my husband Bryan, daughter Kai, and I—were in Europe to visit my old stomping grounds in Austria. I once taught at the University of Salzburg. While visiting local friends, I got up early to shop for cheese, and then we ate a beautiful breakfast. Earlier, my little family had hiked at the foot of the alps, looked for fossils in stream beds, and on the spur of the moment, stopped in the village of Abtenau to toboggan.

We ended our trip in Finland, where my mother’s side of the family lives. We picked blueberries, took proper Finnish saunas, swam in the Baltic, and gossiped over new potatoes.”

Sari Fordham
Associate Professor of English and editor in chief, The Roadrunner Review

“I spent a week watching storms in the desert. I rewrote a play I first wrote several years ago. I like it better now. I read Neal Stephenson’s The Fall, Stephen Greenblatt’s The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve, and watched the movie Free Solo – all of which tell the same story in different ways. I can’t make other people happy–I can create the kind of safe space that makes creativity possible. That is my vocation.”

Rodney Vance, Chair
Department of Film and Television Production

“As I was granted a sabbatical for Fall quarter, I decided to take the summer to get a good start on the projects I want to conduct. So, I have been working on the preparation of some protocols I want to run during that time, and, with the precious help of some motivated student research assistants, I started to test them to see if I am going to be able to collect the data I intend to. Also, on the side, I have dedicated some time to one of my life-long passions, working on some paintings. Finally, in my remaining time, I have reconnected with some old friends, since I usually do not have the time during the school year.”

Christophe LeDantec
Assistant Professor of Psychology

“What started as a quiet summer ended up being chock full of adventures!  My husband, two daughters, and I travelled to Iceland first and were totally blown away by this magical country:  waterfalls, caves, lagoons, and glaciers – all utterly breathtaking.   That was followed by a road trip to San Francisco and then all the way back down on the Pacific Coast Highway.  We loved the majesty of Grace Cathedral, grandeur of the great Pacific, and quaint character of the small coastal towns.  A trip to Leoni Meadows, our Adventist camp in Northern California, came after that.  Lanyards, ceramics, archery and go-carts – nothing like a fun week of summer camp for our family!  And finally, we flew to Oshkosh, Wisconsin to participate in the Pathfinder Camporee with our daughters–an experience that is hard to describe, and yet shared by 55,000 other Pathfinders!”

Aimee Leukert
Associate professor, Curriculum and Instruction
School of Education

“Ever since I saw an old movie that was set in Colombia, I’ve wanted to visit that beautiful country. The dream came true in June, when I got to visit incredibly charming towns like Salento, Cartagena, and Guatape, walk through the spectacular Cocora Valley, and spend hours just relaxing on the veranda of the Main House on a coffee farm watching peacocks, an iguana, and a parrot. It was magical! On the way home I spent a day in El Salvador, another colorful and very interesting country with beautiful beaches and more than 20 volcanoes! I want to see as much of the world as possible so I can understand firsthand people and places that otherwise I’d only read about.”

Marilyn Thomsen
Vice President
Communication and Integrated Marketing

“This summer I actually spent most of my time in Sierra Towers working with the summer residents and preparing the building for Fall quarter.  I did take one week of vacation during which I went to San Diego for a Leadership and Personal Growth conference and then toured around the city for a couple of days.  It was a nice opportunity to unwind and clear my head before coming back and running full-tilt again.”

Christopher Kaatz
Dean of Men

“This July I was excited to be a part of the Defoe Society conference that met in the ‘King’s Manor’ in York, England. This was the home base for Henry VIII when he traveled north. The conference commemorated the 300th anniversary of the publication of the novel The Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

Over the past three centuries the novel has been reprinted and translated hundreds of times, adapted to a variety of genres, and adopted in support of both pro-colonial and anti-colonial narratives.  My presentation was an analysis of the 1997 film, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (starring Pierce Bronson), for the important political and biographical context provided by the performance of his co-star, William Takaku, playing Friday.

Takaku’s home island of Bougainville has staged a long and bloody fight for independence from Papua New Guinea. It has also opposed the environmental harm done by multi-national mining companies. This provides important background to understanding the film and its links to the novel’s politics.  This research will influence my teaching and scholarship this academic year, particularly in light of the referendum vote for Bougainville independence scheduled for this October.”

Lora Geriguis
Professor of English and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

I spent much of the summer researching and writing a chapter on “Music and the Community” for the upcoming La Sierra centennial volume, splitting time between the library’s Heritage Room and the digitized databases of yearbooks and old Criterion issues, and conducting interviews with current and former music faculty, their family members, and administrators. Apart from that, I worked on three (!) new class preps for Fall Quarter, tried to read as much Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, and William Thackeray as I could find for sale in local thrift stores, went swimming with the kids, and entertained myself by watching episodes of Fawlty Towers and the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries with Ian Carmichael.

David Kendall
Associate Professor of Music