STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 05/09/2016

An Entrepreneurial Faculty Sabbatical

by Dr. Jessica Ventura  |  Department of Kinesiology

Each year a small percentage of Gordon faculty are on sabbaticals, semester-long breaks from normal teaching and administrative responsibilities. This set-apart time—the word sabbatical is derived from the Hebrew shabbat—frees them for intensive research, writing or other scholarly work. 

I’ve spent my sabbatical in Gordon’s Biomechanics Laboratory working on research and venture projects with a number of kinesiology students. My goal is to establish ongoing funded opportunities for those interested in practicing biomechanics beyond the classroom.

One research project, in collaboration with Dr. Karen Troy of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Dr. Rebecca Fellin of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, studies the changes in running style and bone loading of first-time marathon runners. This is a great opportunity for the students, who are aiding in data collection and computational modeling of the runners, with the goal of submitting their findings for publication or as pilot data for funded research.

Another project, in collaboration with Dr. Valerie Gin, seeks to establish an institute at Gordon that would provide clients with performance or clinical fitness assessment and training services. This spring we mentored a team of students who designed the business model for the institute as part of the Social Venture Challenge run through the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

(Editor’s note: the Social Venture Challenge had not taken place when this issue went to press—but it will have by the time you read this. Read about the outcome on Gordon's blog, The Bell.)