News Archive

New Director of Reading, England Abroad Program Eager to Start 'Dream Job'

Lars Franke appointed to head Randolph College's World in Britain program.

6/26/2009 10:58:34 AM


Lars Franke

LYNCHBURG — For several years Lars Franke remarked half jokingly to his wife Amy that directing Randolph College’s World in Britain Program would be his dream job.

“It never crossed our minds that it might actually come up one day,” Franke said recently via e-mail from England. “And yet, here we are!”

Randolph College announced the appointment of Franke as director of the college’s program in Reading, England on June 22. Franke, who will also serve as an assistant professor of music, will begin the position July 1. He follows Randolph Ivy, who retired in June after directing the Reading Program and serving as a professor since 1978.

Franke is no stranger to the Reading Program. He has served as a visiting tutor since 2006. “I love teaching for the Reading program and the possibility of playing a bigger part in it was an opportunity that could not be missed,” he said.

Franke has also taught at the University of Surrey and the University of Reading. He specializes in 19th-century music, aesthetics, and film music. In 2007, the University of Reading honored him with the School Award for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning.

He earned his Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Southampton and holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Surrey. Franke's wife Amy graduated from the University of Surrey with a M.Mus in musicology, specializing in music and animation and early 20th Century aesthetics. She currently teaches music to schoolchildren in Hampshire.

Tiffany Paonessa ’09 wrote one of her seminar papers with Franke while in Reading and was excited to hear he had applied for the Reading director position.

“Lars is a warm, friendly individual who doesn’t flaunt his intelligence,” she said. “He’s a great lecturer who knows how to work one-on-one with students.”

Paonessa said Franke fits well with the Randolph community and will be a great addition to the college's Reading program, which also accepts students from other colleges.

“He will provide a warm welcome to the students going to Reading, and his excellent skills as an attentive professor will help keep the Reading program as popular and enjoyable as it was with Dr. Ivy,” she added.

Academically, Franke believes the program is a wonderful opportunity for students to pursue specialties while also experiencing a different culture from the inside.

“The interdisciplinary seminar provides a stimulating and dynamic introduction to British society, history, and culture and its impact abroad, but it is actually being here that makes this experience so rewarding,” he said. “We can study something in the lectures and then go and see where it happened. This is one of the reasons why I think the study trips that form part of the seminar are so exciting — it is a connection that I have found immensely valuable (and fun!) in my own learning.”

Lars and Amy Franke

Even more importantly, Franke and his wife intend to continue the legacy built by the Ivy family, who made the experience a family one for more than three decades.

“Studying abroad is about so much more than bringing the past to life,” Franke said. “Interacting with another culture is a thrilling experience that will stay with one for life. To communicate with someone from another culture shows us our shared humanity, enriches our feeling of belonging, and builds us as people.

“As someone who was born outside the United Kingdom, I know what it feels like to live in a culture other than my own,” he added. “The process is not always easy, but it is always enriching. Perhaps most surprisingly it alters not only our perception and understanding of other cultures but also of our own. It puts our priorities into perspective and connects us with something greater than ourselves. That is also why I am so passionate about traveling (more often than not with either one of my many tents or my aging camper van), be it to another country or 'simply' to another part of Britain.”

The Frankes see this new endeavor as an opportunity to make a difference to students while being an integral part of an excellent abroad experience.

“The buildings owned by Randolph College are so much more than a combination of teaching environment and student residences,” he said. “Right from the first time I taught there as a visiting tutor, I have loved the fact that it feels at once like a family home and an exciting place of learning. There is a buzz and a warmth here that is very special, and it is both humbling and inspiring how fondly everyone one meets speaks of the program, from students past and present to staff (both on the home campus and in Reading). I feel that it is essential that these qualities carry on.”

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations