This selection of messages sent by President Daniel R. Porterfield to members of the Franklin & Marshall College community reflects engagement with faculty, professional staff, students, parents and alumni on a wide range of issues of interest to members of the F&M family.
President Porterfield sent this message on October 23, 2014
Dear Members of the Franklin & Marshall Community,
I am writing to share the very sad news that Robert S. Wohlsen ’50, one of Franklin & Marshall’s most loyal alumni and devoted friends, passed away early this morning.
Bob and his late wife Carolyn Wohlsen, who passed away in 2012, were staunch supporters of Franklin & Marshall for more than 60 years. Their thoughtful leadership and generosity left an indelible mark on the campus and continue to touch students and faculty daily. Through their generosity, Franklin & Marshall now uses Wohlsen Admission House as the home of our Office of Admission. In addition, the Provost’s House on Race Avenue—Bob’s childhood home—was a gift of the Wohlsens. Bob and Carolyn made possible the Epps Tennis Pavilion, honoring the service and citizenship of F&M’s Director of Athletics and Recreation, Patricia Wohlsen Epps. Bob was also a supporter of several Franklin & Marshall philanthropic campaigns, including the Quality Dimension Campaign of 1971-1976 and the Century III Campaign in 1978-1982, and he supported creation of a scholarship in honor of Franklin & Marshall Academy alumni. He served on the Alumni Board and on the Trustee Art Collections Committee. He also was active in the Franklin & Marshall Academy Alumni Association throughout his life.
Bob and Carolyn Wohlsen’s leadership has touched the entire campus through their work with President John Fry to forge a formal partnership between F&M and the Millport Conservancy in 2008 and a gift to create the Wohlsen Center for the Sustainable Environment, which opened in 2009. Millport, led by Executive Director Lynn Wohlsen Myers, annually hosts hundreds of Franklin & Marshall students, faculty and professional staff for classes and research, as well as recreational activities ranging from formal retreats to casual getaways for hiking and fishing. It also continues to enrich the lives of Lancaster County residents with environmental education and recreation opportunities and is a highly regarded resource for the Lititz and Warwick Township communities. The Wohlsen Center is home of the Fair Trade Café and regularly hosts Environmental Studies classes, as well as courses related to the environment in departments across the College. In addition, the Wohlsen Center is a regular gathering place for student organizations and community events focused on environmental stewardship and education.
Born on May 13, 1926, in Lancaster, Bob attended the former Franklin & Marshall Academy and served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 until the end of World War II. He returned to Lancaster after his military service, enrolled at Franklin & Marshall College and graduated in 1950. Bob went on to work in the family business, the Wohlsen Construction Company, where he became chief executive. This iconic local firm’s work has defined much of Lancaster’s skyline and housing stock. Numerous campus buildings have been built or renovated by Wohlsen Construction, including Appel Infirmary, Philadelphia Alumni Writers House, Schnader Hall, Steinman College Center, Wohlsen Admission House, the Klehr Center for Jewish Life, and the Central Services Building that now also houses the Wohlsen Center. Wohlsen Construction also played key roles in construction of Weis College House and New College House. In addition to daughters Patricia Wohlsen Epps and Lynn Wohlsen Myers, Bob is survived by two sons, Thomas and Robert, and by numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
We’ll share more information about services when those plans are finalized.
Please join me in keeping Patty, Lynn and all of Bob’s family and friends in your thoughts.
President Porterfield sent this message to faculty and professional staff on October 7, 2014
Dear Members of the Faculty and Professional Staff,
I am pleased to announce that F&M has received a $400,000 gift that will enhance our ability to provide specialized learning support resources for our students.
In recent years, research has demonstrated that targeted support can help students with a range of learning differences succeed academically and flourish in college. This generous anonymous gift from the parents of an F&M student will expand our services that help our students identify and understand their learning styles and develop effective strategies to help them learn and apply knowledge.
The funds will also enable the Faculty Center to sponsor workshops to help faculty understand the range of learning styles they may encounter among our students, and will support a professional staff position to coordinate F&M’s learning support resources. Accordingly, the College was recently pleased to appoint Alison Hobbs, Psy.D., as F&M’s Coordinator of Disability Services, allowing us to further help our students through dedicated staffing in this important area.
As our understanding of learning differences has grown, the strongest institutions have invested in learning specialists and appropriate diagnostic and support services. With this gift, F&M takes another step forward in our work to respond individually and holistically to the needs of all of our students.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message to faculty and professional staff on September 5, 2014
Dear Members of the Faculty and Professional Staff,
I write today as part of F&M’s proactive efforts to raise awareness of and address what is a serious issue for all colleges and universities: the prevention of sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct.
Your participation in these efforts is very important. As Director of Public Safety Bill McHale reminded us this morning, all F&M faculty and professional staff are designated as mandatory reporters and must report incidents of sexual misconduct and other criminal acts.
I encourage you to take part in the opportunities for training and education that you will hear about from Title IX Coordinator Jan Masland in the next few weeks.
I also ask that you read the following information about the College’s current resources for students and others, including some valuable program enhancements we have implemented over the summer. If you have questions about our sexual misconduct policy or need to report an incident of sexual misconduct, please contact Jan at x7178 or .
As described in this fact sheet, F&M sustains a comprehensive sexual misconduct policy, programing that emphasizes education and prevention, access to immediate counseling and a confidential reporting option, a judicial process that respects the privacy of students, a working relationship with the Lancaster police, and campus policies that mandate the reporting of sexual misconduct.
Over the summer, we have added to these resources in important ways, with input from our new General Counsel, Pierce Buller, and from an attorney and policy expert formerly with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.
First, we appointed Jan Masland—who for two years has served as the College’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator—to serve as our full-time Title IX Coordinator, building upon her 25 years of service to F&M as a nurse practitioner, director of student health and wellness education, and sexual assault victim advocate. Jan now oversees the College’s sexual misconduct policies and reporting responsibilities, which have been appropriately updated to reflect new guidance from the federal government, and next week we will announce the appointment of a second colleague who will work with her in a newly formed Title IX Office.
Second, we have enhanced our programs to build awareness about sexual assault and how it can be prevented. We provide a comprehensive sexual assault education program for first-year students that begins during orientation and includes sessions on prevention, resources, campus culture, and bystander intervention. This year, as we have in the past, the College will host several campus-wide events, including a Common Hour and our annual “Take Back the Night” event, to raise awareness and to help ensure that there is an environment of trust and safety on our campus. As always, these programs benefit from input and leadership from our students.
We have other resources to bring to bear to reduce the risk of sexual misconduct and to respond well when complaints are made. Our Committee on Sexual Misconduct, chaired by Jan Masland, comprises faculty, professional staff, and students, and will participate in the ongoing review of our policies and practices. We will continue to increase efforts to publicize our resources and to ensure that students know they can come forward and that they will be taken seriously when they do. As mentioned above, we will increase and enhance training and education opportunities for faculty and professional staff, including for our College House Dons and Deans, our coaches, and our Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
In addition to our annual student health surveys, we also will survey the campus community this year in two ways. Consistent with evolving practice and federal guidance, we will develop a survey for the student body about any experiences with sexual misconduct. And, as she has done periodically in the past, Professor of Sociology Carol Auster will conduct a gender climate survey of the faculty and professional staff.
As I reported last June, the College is complying with a federal review conducted by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) regarding a complaint. F&M is one of 76 institutions under similar review, as of August 8, 2014. And, as you may have read in the Chronicle of Higher Education or seen in the national media, the federal government has asked colleges and universities to examine their policies and practices thoroughly to ensure that they are in compliance with Title IX legislation, and to find ways to do more to raise awareness of and prevent sexual misconduct from occurring on our campuses. In July, I took part in a conference call with federal policy makers and higher education leaders in order to learn more about what will continue to be an unfolding federal response.
Should you have questions about our current sexual misconduct resources, policies, and practices, our comprehensive fact sheet should be helpful, and you may also direct questions to Title IX Coordinator Jan Masland.
This is a crucial area of work for our campus, and I appreciate all that you do to respond appropriately and supportively to our students’ needs.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message to students on September 3, 2014
As the year begins, I’d like to welcome returning students back to campus and new students into our community, and send you my high hopes that this will be a great year of learning, growth, and discovery.
I’m extremely excited about our 617 new first-year and transfer students who bring a spectacular array of talents, interests, and backgrounds to the campus. New Student Orientation was brilliantly planned and carried out, and I’m confident that the Class of 2018 and transfers are grateful for the way they were welcomed. Yesterday, we held our Convocation Ceremony, which emphasized the theme of developing our voices. I was impressed by junior Emilie Woods’ outstanding speech from the podium, and the similarly eloquent remarks that her sister Gabrielle sent from Chile where she is studying abroad. Click here to read an account of the ceremony, which also included a terrific speech by New College House Don and John W. Wetzel Professor of Classics and Professor of Government Dean Hammer.
As always, we can anticipate a stimulating array of discussions, lectures, and performances this year. I hope you’ll attend tomorrow’s first Common Hour, when our new Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Joel Martin—the chief academic officer of the College—gives his first major presentation, “Why F&M?” Dr. Martin is an outstanding professor who began his career in Religious Studies at F&M, and one of the nation’s leading scholars on Native American history, culture, and spirituality. Please join our faculty and staff in welcoming Dr. Martin.
Also, this year our campus will mark the centenary of World War I, and provide many opportunities for shared reflection on the monumental events and human suffering associated with that historic conflict. Upcoming activities include a film series, lectures, Phillips Museum exhibits, performances, and presentations. Everyone will have a chance to learn. Our ability to offer such a sustained, multi-disciplinary intellectual experience truly differentiates Franklin & Marshall College on the higher education landscape.
Finally, returning students will note that we made a number of improvements to campus over the summer. Our new Ben’s Underground will open tomorrow night. Meyran Hall—home to Music and Theater, Dance and Film—has been extensively renovated. Three classrooms in Keiper Liberal Arts, Kaufman Hall, and Stager Hall have been upgraded with the latest advances in instructional technology, as well as new seating that accommodates student laptops. The locker rooms in the Mayser Physical Education Center have been significantly renovated, and we have enlarged the sports medicine room dedicated to the health of our student-athletes. These improvements were the result of outstanding planning, hard work, and generous donations—the ingredients, I believe, of even more campus progress in the future.
Once again, best wishes for a terrific 2014-2015. I look forward to the richness and community of this academic year.
See you soon,
President Porterfield sent this message to faculty and professional staff on September 3, 2014
Dear Members of the Faculty and Professional Staff,
As we begin first day of classes, welcome back from what I hope was a productive and renewing summer. Each year I like to open the academic year with a letter of welcome meant to provide information about summer projects and upcoming opportunities. This letter will be the same, but I’d like to start it differently.
This year, our campus will mark the centenary of World War I, and provide many opportunities for shared reflection on the monumental events and human suffering associated with that historic conflict. As part of orientation, all incoming students heard a lecture from Associate Professor of German Jennifer Redmann and discussed with faculty three short stories set in WWI. Upcoming activities include a film series, lectures, Phillips Museum exhibits, performances, and a Common Hour presentation by Jay Winter, Charles J. Stile Professor of History at Yale University, on October 30. Everyone will have the chance to learn. Our ability to offer such a sustained, multi-disciplinary intellectual experience truly differentiates Franklin & Marshall College on the higher education landscape.
And there’s an irony. As we work together to try to understand how and why, as Yeats writes, “Mere anarchy was loosed upon the world” in 1914, the summer of 2014 offered its own shocking examples of suffering and strife.
From Russia’s annexation of Crimea to the unresolved Ebola catastrophe in Africa, and from the latest chapter of the Israel/Palestine conflict to the emergence of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, it has been a searing summer on the global stage. In America, June included reports of massive increases in the number of traumatized Central American children seeking safety in the United States, and August brought national anguish in the aftermath of the killing of 18 year-old Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
With so many unfolding crises, I think there’s added value in our campus’s WWI programming. The study of time past can help us understand time present, and vice-versa. The spirit of inquiry, the methods of research, the practices of dialogue, and the principles of academic freedom embedded in the WWI project will set a terrific standard for campus discourse about contemporary issues.
Perhaps the WWI project will inspire members of the community to organize fora on some of today’s most vexing and painful issues. Already, campus chaplain Susan Minasian has organized a September 29 talk by Nick Peterson ’02, a staff member at Lancaster Theological Seminary and Interim Pastor of Capitol Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg who grew up in Ferguson and recently took part in civil protest in his home community. I encourage the community to organize more opportunities of this nature for dialogue and for learning—and I ask that we bring to every campus encounter our awareness as educators that each vexing, controversial social or political issue touches some members of our community in uniquely personal ways.
I was glad to see so many of you as the Class of 2018 and our 21 new transfer students formally became part of our learning community at yesterday’s Convocation Ceremony. I’d like to thank all of you who have worked so hard to welcome new students to the F&M community over the past several days. This first-year class is among the most talented, diverse, and engaged in F&M’s history, with 597 members drawn from 31 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia and 21 countries.
I’m pleased to note that our 39 percent admit rate for the Class of 2018 marked the fourth consecutive year below 40 percent, extending a College record. Average SAT scores increased to 1312, compared to last year’s very strong 1307.
Reflecting ongoing national demographic shifts, the class comprises 23 percent students of color, and 14 percent hail from states outside of the mid-Atlantic and New England, up from an average of 10 percent over the past five years. Our overseas recruitment continues to be robust, with international students comprising 13 percent of the class.
I’m pleased to announce that we will host a forum for faculty to hear more about student recruitment and admission on Monday, September 29 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. in the Academy Room of the Shadek-Fackenthal Library. The faculty will receive more information about this forum in coming weeks, including a report that outlines F&M’s admission outcomes over the past decade and identifies strategic opportunities and challenges in an era when, because of America’s changing economy and demography, the year-to-year building of classes is more complex and competitive than ever.
Please join me in welcoming Provost and Dean of the Faculty Joel Martin to F&M. Joel—who came to us from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst—arrived in Lancaster in July and is already deeply engaged in his work with our faculty and the academic program. Joel will be the speaker at our first Common Hour this Thursday, September 4, at 11:30 a.m. in Mayser.
We have 26 visiting faculty, four instructors, and six tenure-track faculty members joining our learning community this fall. Our new tenure-track colleagues bring expertise in areas from behavioral economics to bilingualism to ethics and moral psychology—we are excited to add these outstanding educators to our distinguished faculty.
We’ve also welcomed outstanding new professional staff in recent months, including Director of the Faculty Center Amy Mulnix, Senior Associate Dean of the College Maria Flores-Mills, General Counsel Pierce Buller, and Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer Carrie Rampp.
I hope that you can join Karen and me for a reception welcoming these and all new members of the faculty and professional staff at the President’s Residence this Thursday, September 4 from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
I’m grateful to the many faculty colleagues who taught courses or mentored our students participating in research projects this summer. Twenty-eight faculty taught roughly 150 of our students this summer, including those in four travel courses and field experiences in Earth and Environment. In addition, roughly 100 students undertook research with faculty through the Hackman program or with support from our Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant and other funding sources.
It’s also impressive that more than 100 F&M students contributed nearly 6,000 hours of service to organizations in Lancaster over the summer and as part of pre-orientation programs, under the auspices of the Ware Institute for Civic Engagement. And, I’m appreciative to the 11 faculty who helped the Dean of the College’s office by teaching in our three-week college preparatory program for 72 high-achieving, low-income rising high-school seniors from 52 schools across 17 states and the District of Columbia, including our own McCaskey High School and nine other Pennsylvania public schools.
I hope that you and our students will enjoy the many spaces across campus that were renovated by our facilities and operations staff, with highly effective financial planning provided by Associate Vice President for Facilities Management and Campus Planning Mike Wetzel and Vice President for Finance and Administration Dave Proulx.
Meyran Hall—home to Music and Theater, Dance and Film—has been extensively renovated. Three classrooms in Keiper Liberal Arts, Kaufman Hall, and Stager Hall have been upgraded with the latest advances in instructional technology, as well as new seating that accommodates student laptops. Ben’s Underground has been renovated to provide attractive on-campus space for students to socialize. The locker rooms in the Mayser Physical Education Center have been significantly renovated and made more secure, and we have enlarged the sports medicine room dedicated to the health of our student-athletes.
The leadership or “quiet” phase of F&M’s comprehensive fundraising campaign was launched on July 1. Our campaign work this year will focus on securing significant leadership gifts in support of the priorities the campus community identified through our strategic planning process. Last spring, Vice President for College Advancement Matthew Eynon worked closely with Interim Provost and Dean of the Faculty Joe Karlesky, Vice President for Planning and Vice Provost Alan Caniglia, and a range of faculty colleagues to begin to identify ideas for innovation in the academic program that may attract donor support. Those thoughtful and inspiring conversations will continue this year under the leadership of Provost and Dean of the Faculty Joel Martin.
As is customary in most college fundraising campaigns, significant gifts toward our campaign priorities received in the months leading up to the campaign start date will be included in our campaign fundraising total, which currently stands at just over $26 million—an auspicious beginning to the campaign. Last year marked the second highest annual totals in F&M’s history for cash received and pledges made. We will report to the campus community periodically about the progress we are making toward our campaign goals, and will also announce significant gifts that F&M receives.
I look forward to working together with the entire campus community to advance F&M’s mission through this ambitious and comprehensive campaign.
The faculty is implementing the new Connections general education curriculum for the first time this year; we are all excited to see the new curriculum in action and deeply interested to see the ways in which it helps our students make intellectual connections within and across disciplinary boundaries. The advising task force also is doing vitally important work to analyze opportunities to build upon our current approach to the academic advising of students. In the months ahead, the task force will follow up on comments made during the faculty symposium and develop a proposal for a new pre-major advising system for the faculty to discuss and potentially approve later this year.
Another significant focus of work for all of us will be student safety and wellbeing. The federal government has asked colleges and universities to examine their policies and practices thoroughly to ensure that they are in compliance with Title IX legislation, and to find ways to do more to raise awareness of and prevent sexual misconduct. I will e-mail faculty and professional staff later this week to tell you more about F&M’s current resources for students and others, including meaningful program enhancements developed over the summer.
As the year gets underway, thank you all once again for your professionalism, your commitment to our educational mission, your reflective dedication to our students, and all that you do for Franklin & Marshall College.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message on September 2, 2014
Dear Members of the Franklin & Marshall Community,
On June 9, 2014, I wrote to the F&M community indicating that, after careful consideration, the Board of Trustees made the decision to equip with side arms the sworn officers in the College’s Department of Public Safety (DPS). The Board’s determination was based on its assessment of the professionalism of our accredited campus safety force and the kinds of threats that educational institutions and law enforcement officers must be prepared to deal with today.
The Board charged me, Director of Public Safety Bill McHale, and Vice President of Finance and Administration Dave Proulx with implementing the decision immediately, requiring comprehensive training and other purposeful work.
That work was completed last week. As a result, effective today, our 19 sworn officers are now equipped with a side arm and a holster system that has multiple safety features and is used by many municipal and state police departments. Our four non-sworn DPS officers will continue to provide security functions and will not be armed.
As you know, F&M is one of only five higher education institutions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to have an accredited police force, which involves greater levels of training and reporting than most municipal forces. All of our officers have completed the Act 120 and Act 235 training required of police in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This summer we provided an additional side arm training program taught by licensed outside experts, exceeding our accreditation requirements.
The training included education about current state and federal laws that govern the use of force and detailed instruction in firearm safety. Sworn officers will be required to qualify annually to carry a side arm—a frequency that exceeds state recertification regulations—and will receive ongoing side arm training every six months. The area within DPS where the arms are stored is safe, secured and monitored.
Over the past year, our officers also took part in four sequenced training sessions provided by the Consortium for Inclusion and Equity (CIE) that focused on providing public safety in a multicultural college campus and city. This summer, I had the opportunity to speak personally with the trainers, who commented very positively about DPS’s responsiveness, professionalism, and understanding of community policing principles. I also observed some of the side arms training firsthand. This year, we have retained the services of Margolis Healy & Associates, a national leader in campus security, to help us assess our ongoing efforts and employ best practices in our work.
Bill McHale and Dave Proulx have led our implementation effort with expertise and attention to detail. Both have formally reported to me that in their professional judgment all of our officers are well prepared for their responsibilities. I have complete confidence both in our Department of Public Safety and in Bill’s and Dave’s leadership of our campus security efforts. As a matter of policy, in the unlikely event that an officer needs to draw a side arm from its holster, that act must be reported to me and to the Board of Trustees. We also will report regularly on the implementation of the arming policy to the Board.
I appreciate that members of the community may have questions. I encourage all members of our community to take advantage of new "office hours" being established this semester by Director of Public Safety Bill McHale. He will be available this Thursday from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. in the Steinman College Center to respond to questions about DPS policies. He will send an e-mail that confirms the location of his office hours this week and provides the dates, times and locations for subsequent office hours this semester. Also, any member of the community is welcome to communicate directly with me or with Dave Proulx, and we will continue to maintain our page of Frequently Asked Questions on the F&M website.
No doubt, most of us wish we did not live in a time when so many schools and colleges feel compelled to take this step for the safety of their communities and the officers sworn to protect us. We move forward committed to the wellbeing of all.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message to faculty and professional staff on July 30, 2014
President Porterfield sent this message to faculty and professional staff on July 7, 2014
Dear Members of the Franklin & Marshall Community:
I write to welcome Joel Martin on his first day as Provost and Dean of the Faculty. As many of you remember, Joel is joining us from the University of Massachusetts where he held faculty and administrative appointments since 2006, and where he served as Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and Dean of the Faculty since 2010. Prior to his appointments at UMass, Joel was Costo Endowed Chairholder in American Indian Affairs and Professor of History and Religious Studies at the University of California-Riverside. In the last two years of his tenure at Riverside, he served as Interim Dean in the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.
This day is a homecoming for Joel, as he started his academic career at Franklin & Marshall in our Religious Studies department in 1988, and chaired the department in 1996-2000. We are pleased that he has chosen to join our community again in a pivotal strategic leadership role, which he assumes in close partnership with the faculty, the senior officers of the College, and me.
Over the next several weeks, Joel will be getting reacquainted with Franklin & Marshall, settling into his office, and learning about the important and exciting work that awaits him. I know how eager he is to meet you and learn about the work you do, and I hope you feel free to share with him your words of welcome and support.
Joel’s partner, Jan de Ubl, will be a regular presence in the community. For Jan, who received her education at the University of Pennsylvania prior to embarking on a career as a very successful science teacher, the connection to southeastern Pennsylvania counts as a homecoming also. Joel and Jan look forward to hosting events at the Provost’s House in the years to come, and we look forward to welcoming them as our closest College community neighbors.
All the best,