FY 2013 was another productive year at the Center. In addition to the highly visible, nationally recognized Franklin & Marshall College Poll, we conducted comprehensive studies for many state and community organizations and provided significant research and academic services to the college.
As a survey research organization situated within a liberal arts college, the Center is unique in Pennsylvania. We draw on the academic wealth of the college to conduct research that helps our clients answer important questions and make strategic decisions. At the same time, we support the practical application of the liberal arts by providing learning opportunities for students and research opportunities for faculty. In addition, our presence within F&M helps the college to be recognized positively in the Lancaster community and beyond.
Our work for community organizations in FY13 included research and evaluation for Lancaster General Health’s prestigious Community Transformation Grant, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control; evaluations of the School District of Lancaster’s many grant-funded programs; and a leadership role in the Lancaster County Health Summit. Statewide research included a large advertising awareness survey for the Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority.
At F&M, we collaborated closely with faculty, staff, and students from many departments, providing learning opportunities, research assistance, grant evaluation, and assessments of many of the college’s programs and services. These included the Annual College Survey, a Curriculum Review Survey, and a Faculty Center Survey, among others. We also continued to pursue scholarly research on a variety of subjects, including polling accuracy during the 2012 election, and began building an online, interactive system for F&M faculty to access SPOTS results. Notably, three of our student research assistants presented at the College’s Research Fairs.
Since 2008, the Center has been an integral part of the Bioinformatics and Genomics programs funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, conducting program evaluations and other research. This year we again conducted evaluations of the Bioinformatics program’s summer programs, and assisted with final reporting for the grant. In addition, our work is central to the new Genomics program’s upcoming research on genetic health conditions among the Amish of Lancaster County.
A media analysis conducted by the Center this year showed that our research activities are a primary reason for media coverage of the college. Significantly, the Center has become nationally recognized for our excellent performance in predicting election results; the New York Times named the F&M Poll as one of the most accurate in the nation during the 2012 election. Coverage of the F&M Poll also appeared in national media such as the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and CNN. Locally, our work with community organizations was covered by the Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal, WITF, and CBS21.