Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Faculty Fellows

  • Profile: Dr. Marcus W. Thomsen
  • Marcus Thomsen

    Professor of Chemistry

    My participation in the Faculty Assessment Seminar in 2009 provided interesting perspectives on the nature and role of assessment for various disciplines and different pedagogies.  In 2010 and 2011 I was a member of the Organic Chemistry Examination Committee: Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society.  The committee was charged with developing a new standardized test that colleges and universities may use to assess learning in the yearlong organic chemistry course sequence.  As an assessment fellow, I look forward to working with colleagues in other disciplines as they develop and implement assessment practices at the College.

  • Profile: Dr. Benjamin R. McRee
  • Ben McRee

    Professor of History

    My involvement with learning assessment began in 2010 when the History Department started work on its assessment plan.  As part of that process I helped to prepare the original draft of a “skills matrix” that laid out the kinds of learning we hoped to see in courses at different levels.  Although I counted myself among the assessment doubters at that time—skeptical about our ability to come up with meaningful information and concerned about the uses to which data might be put—I came to appreciate the value of the departmental discussions and collective goal setting that we undertook.  I am a strong supporter of the faculty-centered approach to assessment adopted at F&M and articulated in the "Guiding Principles" drafted by the original group of fellows (available on this site).  Continued faculty leadership is the best way to insure that assessment is consistent with our educational goals.

  • Profile: Dr. Abby M. Schrader
  • Abby Schrader

    Professor of History

    As a first-generation college student, I believe in the transformative power of a liberal arts education: I entered college as a working-class kid from Brooklyn whose parents had high school educations and whose grandparents were functionally illiterate immigrants.  My family impressed upon me that education was the path to social mobility, but they couldn't tell me how it worked its magic.  

    Lots of time spent in academia has helped me formulate my own answer about why a liberal arts education is such a powerful catalyst for transformation:  it enables us to become better critical thinkers.  As a professor, I am not interested in the ‘right’ answer (indeed I am skeptical about clear-cut answers); rather, I want to understand the process by which a student arrives at a position.  I want to see how he or she thinks.  A liberally educated individual -- regardless of his or her major -- should be able to stake out a position and articulate why it's a solid one.  This sounds simple but a lot goes into this process:  it involves unearthing evidence and evaluating its relevance; locating that data within a broader contextual field that illuminates its significance; and building an argumentative structure around it that advances our understanding of some phenomenon more broadly.   This sensibility influences how I teach my courses: I continually reflect upon whether my assignments are helping students build these skills.   And it is my experience assessing (both formally and informally) my pedagogical offerings that has made me more interested in assessment generally. 

  • Profile: Dr. Jeffrey Steinbrink
  • Jeff Steinbrink

    Alumni Professor of English and Belles Lettres

    I’ve come to this fellowship as an assessment skeptic, and I’ve tried to be candid about that skepticism from the start with anyone who cared to ask. For one thing, it seems to me that at F&M we already do plenty to measure and test and evaluate one another, sometimes to the point of a debilitating self-consciousness. For another--and no doubt because I wasn’t paying attention--it was never clear to me what this assessment project was all about. And for a third, the whole thing had a top-down feel to it that made a lot of us uncomfortable.

    While climbing the assessment-fellow learning curve hasn’t made me a crusader, I’ve come to appreciate that the focus of this project is on student learning--on what works or doesn’t in our classrooms and labs--as we pay deliberate attention to pedagogies that will establish the college’s idiosyncratic rendition of the Liberal Arts going forward. To do that, this assessment initiative encourages departments and programs to investigate particular questions of their own devising about teaching strategies, to follow their own curiosities in doing so, and, perhaps with our help, to develop responses that will allow them to take advantage of what they learn.

    I’ve been reassured at every turn that individual faculty members, departments and programs will “own” whatever results they arrive at by pursuing the questions they contrive. They will determine whether, to what extent, and to whom these results will be made available. It remains our prerogative, individually and collectively, to share what we learn about ourselves only as we see fit. In no case are these results to be used for purposes of faculty evaluation.

    Under these circumstances, an assessment effort that earlier struck me as a burden or, worse, an imposition, begins to feel more like an opportunity, a chance to ask practical questions about how our students learn and to determine for ourselves how best to make use of what we discover in the process.

Former Faculty Fellows

  • Profile: Dr. Misty L. Bastian
  • Misty Bastian

    Professor of Anthropology
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  • Lynn Brooks

    Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor of Humanities and Dance
  • Profile: Dr. Krista M. Casler
  • Krista Casler

    Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Robert Jinks
  • Rob Jinks

    Associate Professor of Biology
  • Profile: Dr. Stephan A. Kaufer
  • Stephan Käufer

    Professor of Philosophy
  • Profile: Dr. Christie L. Larochelle
  • Christy LaRochelle

    Associate Professor of Physics
  • Profile: Dr. Mary Ann Levine
  • Mary Ann Levine 

    Associate Professor of Anthropology
  • Profile: Dr. Katherine McClelland
  • Katherine McClelland

    Professor of Sociology
  • Profile: Dr. Richard S. Moog
  • Richard Moog

    Professor of Chemistry
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  • Jennifer Redmann

    Associate Professor of German and Russian

Provost Office Liason

  • Profile: Dr. Alan S. Caniglia
  • Alan Caniglia

    Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty and Vice Provost for Planning and Institutional Research