Following a return to research and the classroom, Dr. Steven Franklin, interdisciplinary environmental scientist and former president and vice-chancellor of Trent, is retiring from the University.
“Dr. Steven Franklin brought a passion for engaging students in the classroom, on-campus and beyond, and cultivated experiences that focused on hands-on learning,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, Trent University’s eighth president and vice chancellor. “His legacy as a key leader at Trent will be marked by ambition and collaboration as he renewed Trent’s vision and planning processes, overall strategic directions, and academic structure to build on the traditions and outstanding legacy of the University.”
Professor Franklin was appointed the seventh president of Trent University in 2009. During his five-year term, Prof. Franklin put in place the University’s first Integrated Plan, launching key initiatives to strengthen Trent’s academic excellence, strategic enrolment management, financial stability, and community engagement. Under his leadership, the University also marked several milestones, including the opening of the Life & Health Sciences Building and the Trent Athletics Centre, development of student residence annexes adjacent to the campus on Water Street, the identification of the need for a central Student Centre, and growing strong connections with post-secondary partners including Ontario Tech University in Durham and Fleming College in Peterborough.
With a strong commitment to research and student engagement, Prof. Franklin moved on from his term as president to pursue teaching and research work in environmental remote sensing within the Geography and Environmental Studies and Sciences programs at Trent. Since 2014, he has led research with graduate and undergraduate students focused on hands-on field research and the utilization of aerial drone forest technologies including analysis of spruce budworm infestations and mapping wetlands in Northern Ontario. He has also played a key teaching role in three new academic programs developed during his time as president: Bioenvironmental Monitoring and Assessment, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems, and Environmental Geoscience.
“In-classroom experiences are at the heart of why I became a professor in the first place,” reflects Prof. Franklin. “I was fortunate to spend time teaching in first and second year courses, and working with students was a nice way to cap off my academic career.”
As he embarks upon retirement, Prof. Franklin has an eye to the future, both for the University and for the next generation of environmental scientists – pointing to the importance of technologies like geomatics and geographic information systems.
“Anyone working in the environmental sector is going to have to become more aware and proficient with innovative geomatics methods and approaches. The challenges we face are large, however they are problems that can be tackled more effectively with more integrated, and more technologically-savvy ways of addressing issues like habitat loss, water quality, and soil degradation,” he notes.
Dedicated to supporting the next generation of environmental scientists, Prof. Franklin, together with his family and friends, established the Jean and Eric Franklin Bursary at Trent in 2012. The fund is in memory of his parents, Jean (nee Simmonds) and Eric Franklin, who emigrated to Canada in 1956, raised four children (Gillian, Steven, Barb, and Michael) in Aurora, Kingsville, and Windsor, Ontario, and retired to Vernon, B.C. in 1995. The bursary is inspired by their love of reading, learning, and the natural world and supports students in the Geography or Environmental & Resource Science/Studies programs at Trent. Donations to the bursary are encouraged to mark Prof. Franklin’s ongoing legacy at the University.
About Trent University
One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.
For more information contact:
Cara Walsh, Communications & Media Relations Officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6240 or firstname.lastname@example.org