At the end of the current academic year Kent Trachte, dean of the College, will adopt a new position within the administration. He will move from dean of the College to his new position, senior counselor to the president July 31, 2013.
In his current position, Trachte is responsible for overseeing a broad range of offices, functions, and services that concern student learning. This includes managing the College House System, the Student and Post-Graduate Development Program (OSPGD), and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Trachte believes in a broader sense, he is in charge of learning both inside and outside of the classroom.
In his years as dean, Trachte has enacted many initiatives. Trachte was one of the main forces behind the creation of the College House System. Additionally, he was part of the re-recognition of Greek Life.
During the 1980s, Greek Life at F&M was de-recognized. At this time it had limited regulation and oversight, and Trachte believed this was harmful to the College. As dean, Trachte brought reform and provided a set of guidelines for the system.
Trachte also helped increase student participation in study abroad and brought greater integration of athletics to campus life. Previously, the percentage of students who studied abroad was around 20 percent and most coaches at the College were employed part-time. Afterwards the participation level in study abroad programs increased to around 50 percent and a large number of head coaches were given full-time positions.
Trachte’s new position will include similar responsibilities he has under his current position.
“In many ways it’s an extension of what I’m doing now,” Trachte said. “[It’s just we’re] reaching the point in President Porterfield’s term where the College will be developing a new plan.”
The administration will develop a strategic plan for the College’s direction, as well as a complementary plan for fundraising.
“[My] primary duty will be to take ideas in that certain plan and move them from idea to actuality,” Trachte said.
The new strategic plan will include a focus on civic engagement, both with and outside of the Lancaster community.
The plan will also focus on a broader view of academics. It will seek to promote initiatives to strengthen success for both current students and alumni. It will also prepare for changing college demographics. For example, the number of first-generation college students at F&M has increased from 10 to 18 percent.
“As an institution we have to be prepared to make sure this new generation has success,” Trachte said.
As senior counselor to the president, Trachte will still oversee OSPGD. He wants F&M to improve its services for undergrads and young alumni. As a whole he said that it is necessary to strengthen the value of liberal arts colleges like F&M.
“There are two things you hear about places like F&M,” Trachte said. “The first is, are the liberal arts still relevant? And the second is, is it cost worthy?”
He believes the OSPGD is important it because it assists students in articulating the value of their experiences at college. This means in an interview, a student will be able to communicate the specific skills he or she has learned and how it will be beneficial in a job or internship for which he or she is applying for.
The decision to create Trachte’s new position emerged out of a series of conversations between him and Dan Porterfield, president of the College. From these conversations they realized strategic priorities were emerging and wanted Trachte to have a leadership position for promoting these priorities.
As dean of the College much of his time was being occupied with other jobs and which made it difficult for him to provide leadership on these strategic objectives.
While Trachte has succeeded in his current position, after a while Porterfield made the proposal to create a new position for Trachte where he could focus more on his role as advancing the College’s plans.
“Dean Trachte’s service to Franklin & Marshall has had a positive influence on the lives of our students in innumerable ways,” Porterfield said in a campus-wide statement. “I look forward to the ongoing leadership he’ll lend in his new role to our important work that continues to position F&M as a leading institution committed to meeting the evolving needs of today’s students.”
The search effort for a new dean will be chaired by J. Samuel Houser ’89, chief of staff and secretary of the College. The search committee will have student, faculty, and administrative representation. Houser believes the search process will take several months.
“We’ll aspire to find in our next dean of the College the same qualities of leadership Dean Trachte has brought to this vitally important role,” Houser said. “The next dean will have a holistic perspective on student growth and development, and will integrate the many areas under the dean of the College’s purview into an entity that supports each student’s intellectual and personal growth from multiple perspectives in partnership with our faculty.”
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