George W. Franz

George W. Franz

Director Emeritus of Academic Affairs



  • AB, Muhlenberg College, 1964
  • MA, Rutgers University, 1965
  • PhD, Rutgers University, 1974

Work Experience:

  • Rutgers University (1965-1968)
      Teaching Assistant
      University Fellow
  • Pennsylvania State University (1968-2007)
      Assistant Professor, History (tenured)
      Associate Professor, History and American Studies
      Director of Academic Affairs, 1997-2007
      Interim Chancellor, 2013-2014
  • Eleutherian Mills-Hagley Foundation (1982-83)
      Research Associate, Eleutherian Mills Historical Library
       [part of sabbatical leave from Penn State]


  • Phi Alpha Theta,  honorary history fraternity.
  • Pi Delta Epsilon,  honorary journalism fraternity.
  • Board of Governors University Fellowship, Rutgers University.
  • Keystone Society, Penn State Brandywine.
  • Alpha Sigma Lambda, honorary adult student learner fraternity.
  • Outstanding Teacher, 1989, Penn State Brandywine Campus.
  • George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (Penn State University-wide award), 1990.
  • Liberty Bell Award, Delaware County Bar Association, 1991.
  • Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award, College of the Liberal Arts Alumni Society, 1993.
  • McKay-Donkin Award (Penn State University-wide award for contributions to the welfare of the faculty), 1994.
  • Madlyn Hanes Prize (Campus award for outstanding contribution to Penn State Brandywine as teacher, scholar, advisor and leader), 2004.
  • Michal Menichini Award (campus award for support of athletics), 2007

Memberships, Professional Organizations

  • Pennsylvania Historical Association
    • Council Member, 1983-1989, 1990-1997
    • Coordinator, Annual Meetings, 1989-1997
    • Chair, 1991 Program Committee
  • Library Company of Philadelphia
  • Associates, Omohondro Institute of Early American History and Culture
  • McNeil Center for Early American Studies
  • Friends of Lindenwald [Martin Van Buren National Historic Site]
    • Board of Trustees, 1982-1986
    • Honorary Trustee

Instructional Activities:

Courses taught:

  • History 20, American Civilization to 1877
  • History 21, American Civilization Since 1877
  • History 150, Colonial Pennsylvania
  • History 200, American Local History
  • History 440, Colonial America to 1753
  • History 441, Revolutionary America, 1753-1783
  • History 451, American Political Parties
  • History 540, Studies in Colonial and Revolutionary America
  • American Studies 100, Introduction to American Studies
  • American Studies 402, American Themes, American Eras
  • American Studies 491, Seminar in American Culture

Course development:
In 1972 developed the first experimental course (198) taught at the Penn State Commonwealth Campuses.  It eventually evolved into two regular catalog courses:  History 150, Colonial Pennsylvania, and History 200, American Local History.  As a result of this work, participated in the Newberry Conference on Teaching State and local History (Newberry Library, Chicago, January 19-22, 1978).  A description of History 198 and the course materials were published in New Approaches In Teaching Local History, The Newberry Papers In Family And Community History (Chicago, Newberry Library, 1978).

Innovative teaching:
Developed and team-taught (1973) an integrative studies program that consisted of History 21, Speech 200 and Honors English.  The same students took the three courses and an effort was made to provide an "integrated" approach to learning.  Students read American literature that corresponded to the period under study in the History course, and they used the material from the two courses in their Speech 200 class.

Project Vision (1995-98) -- part of a three person instructional team that developed collaborative and active learning focused course (American Studies 100) that was taught "on-line" for the first time, Spring 1996.

University Service:


  • University Faculty Senate, 1971-82, 1984-2007
    Secretary, 1978-79
    Chairman-elect, 1979-80
    Chairman, 1980-81
    Past Chairman, 1981-82
    Parliamentarian, 1993-2007
    Intra-university Relations Committee, 1971-73
    Academic Affairs Committee, 1973-74 (Chairman, Subcommittee on Grading, 1974-75)
    Committee on Extended Degrees, 1975-76
    Committee on Undergraduate Instruction, 1974-78 (Vice-Chairman, 1975; Chairman, 1976-78)
    Elections Commission, 1978-79 (Chairman, 1978-79)
    Committee on Committees and Rules, 1979-82, 1985-89, 1990-94, 1997-2002, 2004-present (Chairman, 1987-88; Vice-Chair, 1986-87, 1990-92)
    Council, 1978-82 (Chairman, 1980-81)
    Faculty Affairs Committee, 1984-85 (Chairman, Subcommittee on Fringe Benefits, 1984-1985)
    External Affairs Committee, 1989-90 (Chairman, 1989-90)
    Subcommittee on General Education, 1984-85
    Committee on Commonwealth Educational System, 1994-96 (Chairman, 1994-96)


  • Undergraduate Program Review for Accounting, 1975
  • Coordinating Committee for Program Review, 1976-78
  • Administrative Review Committee on Division of Admissions Records and Scheduling, 1975
  • Chairman, University Task Force on programs for academically superior students, 1977-78 [appointed by the President of the University and the Chairman of the University Senate]-led to creation of the University Scholars Program, predecessor of Schreyer Honors College.
  • Faculty Representative to the University Board of Trustees, 1978-81
  • Faculty Advisory Committee to the President of the University, 1978-82, 1988-91, 1996-  (Co-Chairman with University President, 1980-81)Search Committee for the Senior Vice President for Administration, 1979
  • Administrative Committee on Undergraduate Instruction, 1979-80
  • Proposal Evaluation Committee, Office of Gifts and Endowments, 1979-1980
  • Facilities Naming Committee, 1980-81
  • Advisory Committee, University Scholars Program, 1981-84, 1988-90, 1993-97
  • Selection Committee, University Scholars Program, 1988-2007
  • Presidential Search and Screen Committee (appointed by Board of Trustees) 1981-82 (Secretary)
  • President's Committee on Recruiting Academically Superior Students, 1984
  • Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits, 1984-99, 2001-present (Chairman, 1986-99, 2001-2007)
  • Search Committee for Vice Provost, 1988
  • Search Committee for Senior Vice President, Commonwealth Educational System, 1989
  • Search Committee, Director of Academic Affairs, Ogontz Campus, 1990
  • Atherton/Lindbach/Eisenhower Award Selection Committee, 1991-93
  • University Task Force on Health Benefits and Life Insurance, 1991-92 (Chairman (Jointly appointed by President of University and Senate Chair))
  • Board of Directors, Healthpass, Inc., 1990-1992 [Elected by Corporation for Penn State]
  • Commission on Intercampus Issues, 1992-95 [Appointed by President of the University]
  • Eastern Region Coordinator, Campus Honors Programs, 1993-97
  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Admissions CQI Team, 1993-94
  • Chair, Ad Hoc Committee on CES Retrenchment, 1994 (Appointed by the Chair of the University Faculty Senate)
  • Special Senate Committee on Faculty Compensation, 1995-96
  • Steering Committee, CES Reorganization, 1996-97 (Appointed by President of University and Senate Chair)
  • Search Committee for Dean of the Commonwealth College, 1997
  • University Task Force on the Future of Benefits, 1997-98 (Chairman (Jointly appointed by President of University and Senate Chair))
  • Joint Committee on Curricular Integrity, 2004-2005
  • Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Promotion and Tenure Transition, 2005





  • Faculty Affairs Committee, 1968-69
  • Chairman, Campus Faculty 1969-71
  • Coordinator, Project to Improve Classroom Instruction, 1971-72
  • Dean's Representative, 2 Letters, Arts, and Science Program, 1973-1986
  • Academic Affairs Committee, 1974, 1977-78
  • Budget Committee, 1977-79
  • Council of Dean's Representatives, 1978-86
  • Coordinator, University Scholars Program, 1980-1997
  • Chair, Scholarship Committee, 1985-1997
  • Faculty Advisor:
    Keystone Society, 1981-97
    Adult Student Organization, 1990-94
    Alpha Sigma Lambda, 1990-97
  • Artist and Lectures Series Committee, 1983-86
  • Coordinator, Academic Advising, 1985-86
  • Promotion and Tenure Committee, 1986-87, 1993-95
  • Strategic Planning Committee, 1986-89, Chair, 1988-89
  • Search Committee, Campus Executive Officer, 1986
  • Coordinator, Letters, Arts, and Sciences degree program, 1988-97
  • Coordinator, American Studies degree program, 1993-97
  • Faculty Executive Committee, 1989-9l, 1994-95
  • Recruitment Advisory Group, 1993-1994

College of the Liberal Arts:

  • American Studies Committee, 1971-73
  • Honors Committee, 1973-74
  • Pennsylvania Studies Committee, 1980-85
  • Consultative Committee on the Humanities, 1981-84
  • Sabbatical Leave Committee, 1983-84, 1991-92 (Chair, 1991-92)
  • EGNAS Committee, 1989-92 (Chair, 1991-92)
  • Research Committee, 1991-93

Department of History:

  • Undergraduate Studies Committee, 1987-90, 1992-94
  • Promotion and Tenure Committee, 1990-91

Department of English:

  • American Studies Review Committee, 1993-1994

King of Prussia Graduate Center:

  • Strategic Planning Committee, 1984-85

 Microfilm Publications:

THE PAPERS OF MARTIN VAN BUREN.  [55 reels] Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healy, 1988, $5,600.
Associate Editor, July, 1975-January, 1976
Editor, 1976-86
Project Director, 1976-88
The Papers of Martin Van Buren undertook to collect and publish in microfilm form the papers of the eighth President of the United States.  The collection includes over 13,000 documents from more than 260 different locations.
The Project began in 1969 and received financial assistance from the Pennsylvania State University since its inception and from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission from 1971 until 1979.  Various sources within the University contributed more than $75,000 to the Project, and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission contributed in excess of $100,000. 

"The Paxton Boys," in Pennsylvania 1776, University Park, PA:  Penn State Press, 1976 (Vignette).
"Martin Van Buren," in Research Guide To American Historical Biography,  Washington, D.C.:  Beachem Publishing, 1988, pp. 1546-1552.
Paxton:  A Study Of Community Structure And Mobility In The Colonial Pennsylvania Backcountry.
  New York:  Garland Publications, 1989.
Centennial History of The Pennsylvania Lumbermen's Association.  Norfolk, Va.: The Donning Company, 1992.

Parts of Books:

"Who is Martin Van Buren and Why Do Scholars Care," in Working Papers Of The Seminar On New York State History, Albany:  New York State Department of Education, 1983, pp. 43-57.
“Mason-Dixon Line,” World Book Encyclopedia, 2005

"Perspectives on the American Revolution," The Historian, 41 (May, 1979), pp. 553-554.
"Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts," Journal Of American History, 66 (June, 1979), pp. 123-124.
"William Penn's Legacy," Pennsylvania History, XLVI (April, 1979), pp. 180-182.
"The Baron of Beacon Hill," in The Historian, 43 (May, 1981), pp. 443-444.
"White Servitude in Colonial America:  An Economic Analysis," Pennsylvania History, 49 (October, 1982) pp. 291-292.
"The Papers of Henry Bouquet, Volume 4, September 1, 1759 - August 31, 1760," Pennsylvania Magazine Of History And Biography, VCII (October, 1983), pp. 639-640.
"William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania," Pennsylvania History, 51 (April, 1984), pp. 175-176.
"Abraham Clark and the Quest for Equality," The Historian, 47 (November, 1984), pp. 118-119.
"Prosperity and Progress:  Concord Township, PA, 1683-1983, Vol. 1, The Colonial Legacy," Pennsylvania Magazine Of History And Biography, CIX (April, 1985), p. 252.
"The Ninth State:  New Hampshire's Formative Years," The Historian, XLVIII (November, 1985), pp. 134-135.
"The Evolution of the Southern Backcountry," Pennsylvania Magazine Of History And Biography, CX (January, 1986), pp. 186-188.
"Scotland and Its First American Colony, 1683-1765," Pennsylvania History, 53 (July, 1986), pp. 233-234.
"The Papers of Henry Bouquet, Volume 5, September 1, 1760 - October 31, 1761," Pennsylvania Magazine Of History And Biography, CXI (January, 1987), pp. 125-126.
"Loosening the Bonds:  Mid-Atlantic Farm Women, 1750-1850," Pennsylvania History, 54 (July, 1987), pp. 240-241.
"Rhetoric and History in Revolutionary New England," The Historian, 51 (August, 1989).
"Transformation of the English Cultural Ethos on Colonial America:  Maryland,  1634-1720," Choice , March, 1989.
"Empire of Fortune:  Crowns, Colonies & Tribes in the Seven Years War in America," Pennsylvania History, 56 (April, 1989).
"Charles Thomson:  A Patriot's Pursuit," Choice, September, 1990.
"A Union of Interests," The Historian, 53 (Summer, 1991), pp. 834-835.
"Community Development and the Revolutionary Transition in Eighteenth-Century Lancaster County, Pennsylvania," Pennsylvania History, 58 (July, 1991), pp. 244-246.
"A Dutch Family in the Middle Colonies, 1660-1800," Choice, November, 1991.
"The Papers of Benjamin Franklin," Vols. 27 and 28, Pennsylvania History 58 (October, 1991), pp. 348-349.
"Breaking the Bonds: Marital Discord in Pennsylvania, 1730-1830," Choice, October, 1992.
"Robert Cole's World: Agriculture and Society in Early Maryland," Historian, 55 (Winter, 1992), pp. 376-377.
"The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History.  Volume 2, Continental America, 1800-1867, Choice, November, 1993.
"Traders and Gentlefolk: The Livingston's of New York, 1675-1790," Choice, November, 1992.
"The Storm Gathering: The Penn Family and the American Revolution," Choice, May 1993.
"The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History, Vol. II, Continental America, 1800-1867,"Choice, November, 1993.
"From Gentlemen to Townsmen: The Gentry of Baltimore County, Maryland, 1660-1776," Choice, April, 1994.
"Palatines, Liberty, and Property: German Lutherans in Colonial British America," Choice, March, 1994.
"Passionate Sage: The Character of John Adams," Pennsylvania History, 62 (Winter, 1995), pp. 128-129.
"In Pursuit of Equal Justice: George Bryan and the Revolution in Pennsylvania, Choice, December, 1994.
"Of 'good laws" and 'good men': Law and Society in the Delaware Valley, 1680-1710, Choice, March, 1996.
"Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America, 1717-1775, Choice, September, 1996.
"Portia: The World of Abigail Adams, " Pennsylvania History, 63 (Summer, 1996), pp. 493-494.
“Benjamin Franklin, Politician,” Choice, April, 1997.
“Letters of the Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789, vol. 1-22, Choice, July/August, 1997.
“Transatlantic Radicals and the Early American Republic,” Choice, December, 1997.
“Martin Van Buren: Law, Politics and the Shaping of Republican Ideology, Choice, June, 1998.
“Benjamin Franklin and His Gods,” Choice, July/August, 1999.
“Rum Punch and Revolution: Taverngoing and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia, “ Choice, October, 1999.
“The Fabulous History of the Dismal Swamp Company: A Story of George Washington’s Times,” Choice, May, 2000.
“Haughty Conquerors: Amherst and the Great Indian Uprising of 1763,” Choice, March, 2001.
“Sweet Land of Liberty: the Ordeal of the American Revolution in Northampton County, Pennsylvania,” Choice, November, 2001.
“Drawing the Line: How Mason and Dixon Surveyed the Most Famous Border in America,” Choice, January, 2002.
“Benjamin Franklin,” [Edmund S. Morgan], Choice, April, 2003.
“Franklin: The Essential Founding Father,” [James Srodes], Choice, April, 2003.
“At the Crossroads: Indians and Empires on a Mid-Atlantic Frontier, 1700-1763, Choice, November, 2003.
“Breaking the Backcountry: The Seven Years’ War in Virginia and Pennsylvania, 1754-1765,” Choice, July, 2004.

Papers Presented/Session Commentator/Session Chair:
"The Paxton Boys and the Frontier," October, 1968, Pennsylvania Historical Association, Presenter.
"Community Structure, Geographical Mobility and the Revolution in Pennsylvania:  An Interpretation," October, 1976, Pennsylvania Historical Association, Presenter.
"The Coming of the Revolution in Pennsylvania," November, 1976, Connecticut College Colonial History Seminar, Presenter
"Communal Antecedents to Revolution; The Pennsylvania Backcountry, 1750-1776," August, 1978, Pacific Coast Branch, American Historical Association, Presenter.
"Martin Van Buren and His Papers," April, 1982, Seminar on New York State History, Presenter.
"Community Structure and Mobility in Colonial Pennsylvania," March, 1983, Eleutherian Mills Historical Library, Presenter.
"The Plight of Pennsylvania Minorities," October, 1986, Pennsylvania Historical Association, Session Chair.
"Beyond Trivia to Understanding:  Teaching the Constitution," October, 1988, Pennsylvania Historical Association, Session Chair.
"Putting Preservation in Perspective," For History's Sake Seminar, Delaware County Heritage Commission, November, 1990, Presenter.
"Pennsylvania and Republicanism in the Late Eighteenth Century," October 1991, Pennsylvania Historical Association, Session Chair.
"Description of 'Community' in Chester County, Pennsylvania," American Studies Seminar, George Washington University, 1992, Presenter.
"Urban Institutions in the Pennsylvania Backcountry," October, 1992, Pennsylvania Historical Association, Session Chair.
"Politics and Class in Eighteenth-Century Pennsylvania," October, 1995,
 Pennsylvania Historical Association, Session Chair
"The American Revolution in Pennsylvania," October, 1996
 Pennsylvania Historical Association, Session Commentator
"Teaching Without a Classroom: American Studies On-Line," Learning Colloquy III, University Park, PA, May, 1996. Joint presenter, with two students.
"Information Retrieval, Synthesis, and Learning in On-Line Courses: Penn State's Project Vision After the First Year," What Works II: Postsecondary Education in the 21st Century, National Center for Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Conference, State College, Pa., June 21-23, 1996. Joint presenter.
“Enhancing Academic Quality: Four Perspectives on Leadership Challenges,” CIC Academic Leadership Program seminar on“Leadership and Human Resources,” November 6-8, 1997, Ohio State University.  Invited panelist.

Miscellaneous Activities/Community Service:
"Accent on People" - cable TV presentation on Colonial Pennsylvania, 1976.
"The Paxton Boys" - Penn State University bicentennial television spot, 1976.
"Preserving Our National Heritage" - Glen Riddle Rotary Club, 1978.
"Political Parties in the Early Nation" - Easterly Parkway Elementary School, 1981.
"Seed of a Nation" - Baltimore Pike Lions Club, October, 1984; Dunwoody Retirement Community - January, 1986, Media Retired Mens Club, May, 1987; 0707 Club, November, 1987, Linwood Women's Club, October, 1989.

Other Professional Activities:
Co-organizer of Pennsylvania Studies Committee Conference on Immigration and Its Impact on Pennsylvania, April, 1982.
Consultant, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, 1980-88.
Lecturer, Pennsylvania Humanities Council, 1983, 1987.
Judge, Pennsylvania State History Day, 1986-94.
Coordinator, Seventh Congressional District, "We the People" National Competition on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, 1987-98
Pennsylvania State Coordinator, “We the People…the Citizen and the Constitution,” and “Project Citizen,”1996-2004.
Chadds Ford Historical Society, Board of Directors, 1986-1993, 1994-2000, 2001-2007, 2008-2014 (President, 1988-1993, 2002-2007, 2008-2013; Chair, Chadds Ford Days, 1993-96)
Instructional Evaluator (Consultant), Ritchie Resources, 1988-1992.
Archives Advisory Committee, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1988-1990.
Judge, Citizen Bee, 1989-1991.
Brandywine Battlefield Commission, 199l-2000 (Secretary, 1991-96; Chairman, 1996-2000) - (Gubernatorial appointment, with confirmation by the Pennsylvania Senate)
Historical Marker Review Panel, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1992-94 (Chair-1994).

Community Activities:
Chadds Ford Knoll Civic Association, Board of Directors, 1980-82.
Pennsbury Historical Commission, 1991-97
Kennett Area Senior Center, Board of Directors, 1998-2001
St Michael Lutheran Church Congregational Council, 1994-2000, 2008- (Chair, Finance Committee, 1994-96; Vice President, 1994-96; President, 1996-98)
Boy Scouts of America Packmaster, Cub Pack 31, Chadds Ford, PA, 1982-83.
Woodbadge Trained Leader,
Order of the Arrow, Brotherhood Member
Secretary-Treasurer, Troop 31, Chadds Ford, PA, 1984-98.
Extraordinary Service Award, Chester County Council, PA, 1988.