5/03/2014 Magazine Staff

Former Department Chair Joel Martin Returns as New Provost

This magazine article is part of Spring 2014 / Issue 77
  • Martin Martin


Joel Martin, former chair of Franklin & Marshall’s Department of Religious Studies and current vice provost for academic personnel and dean of the faculty at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, will return to the College in mid-summer to take up responsibilities as F&M’s next provost and dean of the faculty.

He succeeds Joseph Karlesky, the Honorable and Mrs. John C. Kunkel Professor of Government at F&M, who has served as interim provost and dean of the faculty this academic year, and Ann Steiner, the Shirley Watkins Steinman Professor of Classics, who held the post from 2006 to 2013.

“Joel has enjoyed a remarkable career as an educator, a scholar and a leader,” said President Daniel R. Porterfield in announcing Martin’s appointment. “His experience, gained in a broad range of scholarly and administrative positions, has prepared him well for a central role in helping advance our efforts to strengthen F&M’s competitive position through continued development of academic resources and programs that allow faculty to grow in their complementary roles of educator and scholar and, consequently, create such distinctive and transformational learning experiences for our students.

“I look forward to Joel’s return to campus and to working with him and all of our faculty colleagues to further elevate F&M’s leadership as a national liberal arts college.”

Fresh from receiving his Ph.D., with honors, in the history of religious studies from Duke University, Martin joined F&M's Department of Religious Studies in 1988 and later became its chair from 1996 until his departure in 2000 to become the Costo Endowed Chair in American Indian Affairs and professor of history and religious studies at the University of California-Riverside.

He would later serve as chair of the Department of Religious Studies at UC-Riverside from 2002 to 2004, and as interim dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences from 2004 to 2006, when he was appointed dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at UMass-Amherst.

“I was thrilled to be invited to visit the campus as a finalist and came away impressed not only about the College’s recent transformations and aspirations for the future, but also by how the faculty, administration, and trustees all expressed their bone-deep commitment to the longstanding mission of superior teaching and research that defines the best liberal arts colleges,” Martin said.
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