Press release: Sabbatical Awarded To Maryann Lesert

Leah Nixon
Director of Communications

May 6, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. An associate professor at Grand Rapids Community College will spend the 2014 winter semester writing two novels.

GRCCs sabbatical committee approved a proposal from Maryann Lesert, who has worked in the English department since 2006.

Her work on these critical issues will directly benefit her students, the college, and the community as she has already become a well-known resource on the subject, said professor Fátima Nieves, committee chairwoman.

Professor Lesert received bachelors degrees in Art and English from Western Michigan University in 1988 and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Spalding University in 2003. She has written many plays, including Superwoman and Natural Causes, which was a finalist for the 2001 Princess Grace Foundations National Playwrights Fellowship. She has also written one novel, Base Ten.

When we actively pursue our passions, we practice what we teach, professor Lesert said. "Were working through the same theories and processes and practices that our students are working to master, and by sharing our experiences with students and the community, were treasuring life-long learning and growth. Were modeling and mentoring, which is what GRCC, to me, is all about.

During my sabbatical Ill be working on two novels, both of which involve extensive research. One has to do with Alzheimers disease and the stresses of care-giving. The other is an expression of what Ive learned about horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which to me, represents what Ive written about as the ugly end stage of our fossil fuel addiction.

At first glance, these two stories may not seem related, but they both deal with significant health and environmental trends. They both question our way of living with the physical, natural world and the dangers of forgetting our interconnectedness with nature and each other.

GRCC offers full-time faculty with at least six years of service the opportunity of a sabbatical so they can explore new ideas and opportunities that reaffirm their passion for their disciplines.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.