Research and Scholarship

Build a Scholarship 'Cabin'

Dr. Ed Brantmeier outside of the Grillhof Seminar Centre at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

SUMMARY: College of Education faculty member, Dr. Ed Brantmeier, advanced scholarly projects on culturally competent engagement and the pedagogy of vulnerability while on educational leave.

By Lindsay Grohowski (’19), JMU Research & Scholarship

Edward Brantmeier, Assistant Director of Scholarship Programs in the Center for Faculty Innovation and Associate Professor in the Learning, Technology, and Leadership Education (LTLE) Department, returned in January from a four-month educational leave, spanning from August to December.

Brantmeier said most of his leave time was spent “merging the waters between research and teaching,” and a focus on three specific projects, including a book about culturally competent engagement. Brantmeier spent 15 years thinking about writing this book and the leave afforded him the opportunity to move that project forward. His partner, Dr. Noorie Brantmeier, also a professor in JMU’s College of Education, is co-authoring the book.

Brantmeier also worked on a co-edited book project with a professor from Notre Dame, Dr. Maria McKenna. They invited 16 authors from around the world to submit chapters on the pedagogy of vulnerability. In brief, Brantmeier described the topic of pedagogy of vulnerability as mutual self-disclosure in the learning process. Brantmeier takes a particular interest in answering the question, “How do you (instructors and students) bring your full lived curriculum to the classroom?”

Brantmeier’s Inclusive Leadership for Sustainable Peace course
Brantmeier’s Inclusive Leadership for Sustainable Peace course

During the 16-17 academic year, Brantmeier taught his dream course -- Inclusive Leadership for Sustainable Peace -- for the JMU Honors College. His leave time provided him the opportunity to work with an undergraduate student researcher and Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT) and Independent Scholars double major, Destin Webb, to develop a study on the impact the course had on student learning. Brantmeier and Webb sought to identify what the students learned about themselves, others, and their ability to make a difference as inclusive leaders. During the ongoing research process, Brantmeier was excited to learn that one of the students who completed the course applied to AmeriCorps, was accepted, and spent the year in New Orleans teaching grade school mathematics, while another student remains heavily involved in local sustainability efforts right here in Harrisonburg.

This research project led to an invitation to present the preliminary findings on a plenary panel at a five- day learning community in Innsbruck, Austria. Following the presentation, Brantmeier was invited to teach a modified version of the course this upcoming summer, 2018, for the Master’s Program in Peace, Development, Security, and International Conflict Transformation at the University of Innsbruck. He and Webb plan to co-teach the course and expand the research study to involve this international cohort of students. Webb recently received an award from the Independent Scholars program to fund his travel.

Brantmeier’s other JMU hat is his service to the Center for Faculty Innovation (CFI). His main role at CFI is to tend after various scholarship programs for JMU faculty that promote scholarly productivity, scholarly skill development, and appreciation of the many diverse forms of scholarship present at JMU. Most of his work focuses on networking and building community with other faculty members from across campus. Sometimes, this means working alongside faculty colleagues on writing programs, while holding each other accountable, thus allowing for increased scholarly productivity.

Brantmeier returned from leave with a better understanding of the impact of educational leave on the overall wellness of faculty members, in terms of taking care of themselves and their scholarship. Brantmeier says “We [faculty members] all have dream projects or courses that we want to get to before we die, and so, this time is truly a golden opportunity.” Combining his dream course that involves community engagement and engaged learning and including an undergraduate student in the process has afforded Brantmeier an opportunity to attempt to live the vision of JMU—to be the national model for the engaged university—engaged with [difficult, thorny] ideas [and a troubled world in need].

If Brantmeier could offer one piece of advice to people wondering, “How can I be productive in my scholarship?” it would be “build a cabin”. While on leave, he remodeled a cabin in the wilderness of West Virginia, and stated that more specifically, we should not be caught up in our heads all the time, “We have to get out into the world and connect to our bodies. We have to do the things that we love to do.” Brantmeier believes if you nourish your soul, if you find a sense of harmony and connection, then professional productivity will naturally follow.

Back to Top

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018

Last Updated: Monday, May 16, 2022

Related Articles