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WHAT’S HAPPENING AT FRANKLIN & MARSHALL COLLEGE!

Posted May 7th, 2014 by admin

WHAT’S HAPPENING AT FRANKLIN & MARSHALL COLLEGE!

I am Spike Moyer, faculty liaison for the Innovation Transfer Network, ITN. I visit our 15 member schools and acquire a 10,000 foot view. There are two programs at Franklin & Marshall College that I want to share with you. Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster has a new Office of College Grants (OCG) aimed at supporting faculty members and the institution as a whole with grant and fellowship-seeking endeavors. Another is benefiting the Plain Community. It is an example of the many student-faculty research efforts producing outstanding undergraduate research and outreach. This research addresses inherited disorders specific to the Plain Community.

The concept behind the OCG and, particularly, its emphasis on promoting faculty development, originated due to the insight of Associate Dean Dr. Michael Billig, http://www.fandm.edu/michael-billig. Established in 2012, the OCG works hand-in-hand with F&M’s new Faculty Center to support faculty members throughout all stages of their careers. http://www.fandm.edu/faculty-center

The OCG is helmed by Ryan Sauder, http://www.fandm.edu/ryan-sauder. It employs 5 staff members, including director of faculty grants Amy Cuhel-Schuckers, http://www.fandm.edu/amy-cuhel-schuckers. One of their core goals is to support sponsored projects at F&M by helping faculty leverage internal financial resources and seek external grants and fellowships to support their scholarship. The office is on campus in Buchanan House, a cozy red brick residence that used to be the house of the Campus Caretaker, from bygone days. Ryan targets sources of institutional support. Amy works with faculty members to capture grant and fellowship funding to promote faculty members’ scholarship. In each of its first two years of existence, the OCG’s staff has had meaningful interactions with 100% of tenure and tenure-track faculty members on campus. External pressure is reducing the amount of available grant dollars while this office is working to increase the awards to Franklin & Marshall College. As the OCG anticipates its third year of operation, Amy and the rest of the staff are beginning to see new volume and improved quality in submitted proposals and they will be tracking the progress. http://www.fandm.edu/grants

How does one good idea evolve into many? At the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, the Plain Community is benefiting from undergraduate research efforts and outreach, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Rob Jinks. http://www.fandm.edu/robert-jinks. This is one of myriad examples of top-quality student-faculty research underway at F&M. In 2010 Rob Jinks challenged his neurochemistry students with field experience at the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, PA, a nonprofit medical and diagnostic service for Lancaster County children who have inherited (genetic) disorders. http://www.fandm.edu/for-news-media/press-releases/article/f-m-clinic-for-special-children-collaborate-on-life-changing-research

One year later, he and 13 students published a paper in collaboration with the Clinic for Special Children in the journal, Plos One, “Genetic Mapping and Exome Sequencing Identify Variants Associated with Five Novel Diseases”. This research, one example of how F&M faculty work hand-in-hand with students to conduct life-changing studies, was funded in large part by a 2008 grant to F&M through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Undergraduate Science Education Program, the Eyler Endowment for Biochemistry, ConnectCare3, and a grant from the Center for Research on Women and Newborn Health, Lancaster, PA.

Four years later, student-led investigation of thirteen genetic disorders is underway, and several large grants have been awarded to F&M, including a $1.4M HHMI Undergraduate Science Education award in 2012. In addition to funding genetics research, they have been applied to enhance curriculum. The HHMI-funded program is aimed at retaining students of diverse backgrounds by providing them with transformative opportunities to engage in hands-on research and community engagement. Using HHMI funds, Ellie Rice, http://www.fandm.edu/elizabeth-rice, adjunct assistant professor of biology, has developed a course, Public Health Outreach that connects the sciences and the humanities. Her students research and write genetic disease guidebooks for families of individuals with various disorders. A senior in the Public Health Program is developing a hand-book for lay mid wives who serve the Plain community.

The Plain Community has been successfully farming the same soil for over 200 years and they know the importance of plowing today’s efforts back into the ground to sustain tomorrow’s farmers. Collaborations with the Clinic for Special Children and Lancaster General Health are growing to allow a bedside-to bench-to bedside model at the clinic. This ultimately benefits the community. That learned by treating patients today will help tomorrow’s patients.