5/11/2013 Staff

Jack Heller: 2013 Recipient of the Socrates Citation

  • heller

Jack Heller has been a professor at Franklin & Marshall College for more than 40 years. He arrived on campus in 1972, and has served as one of the principal architects of some of the most important systems that undergird the functioning of the institution. He drafted, for example, the document that created the Faculty Council form of governance. The establishment of the Faculty Council, which replaced the College Senate, bestowed upon the faculty greater authority, while also maintaining cordial connections between the faculty and the administration.

Professor Heller's most important achievement has been the College House System that he helped to design and create. Over a 10-year period, he served on two house committees, one that undertook the study of house systems at other institutions, and a second that proposed the features that would characterize our own. In addition, Professor Heller served as one of the first House Dons, and was designated Senior Don when he served as convener for the group of dons that would collaborate with College officials, architects, and visiting groups as they undertook the establishment and evolution of the house system on campus. In consultation with students that were elected into the system of house governance, Professor Heller was also instrumental in creating the distinctive look of Brooks College House, and also served on the design group for New College House.

For the last 13 years, Professor Heller has evaluated the Orientation experience within the houses, has performed the annual survey of student drug and alcohol consumption, and has tracked student alcohol use against various programs and policy changes instituted at the College.

He has been the Faculty Parliamentarian for more than a decade, has been a member of the Trustee Committee for Buildings and Grounds since 2000, and served as a member of the Trustee Committee on Long Range Planning from 1993-1996. Within the Department of Psychology, Professor Heller is legendary for the quality of his mind, the clarity of his lectures, and his ability to nurture the intellectual development of some of the College’s very finest students. He has sent hundreds of psychology majors into graduate school, medical school, the study of law, and the practice of psychology in a wide range of industries. He is the author of a diverse body of academic works, and he has authored an important volume titled “Increasing Effectiveness in Colleges and Universities,” which was published by Jossey-Bass in 1982.

Between 1989 and 2004, Professor Heller twice served as chair of the Department of Psychology. During his tenure as chair, he directed the hiring of 10 faculty and six staff. In sum, Professor Heller's contributions to systems of scholarship, governance, facilities, and residence life are without parallel.

He will never be forgotten by the faculty who have served with him on the Faculty Council, the Department of Psychology, and the many committees that he has chaired over the decades. He will long be remembered by the thousands of students who have studied under his tutelage in the laboratory and in the classroom; and his kind and radiant image has been immortalized by the residents of the Brooks College House who have expressed their gratitude to him by commissioning a portrait that will hang forever in that space in homage to his vision, dedication, and energy.

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