Letter from the Director

Welcome to Jan Plan 2018! The end of fall semester brought change amidst new initiatives at the Goldfarb Center. Amanda Cooley left after five years as assistant director to accept a position at Husson College as director of content marketing. Her uber-organization will be sorely missed in GC programming. We are pleased to have filled her position on a temporary basis as we welcome Tim Dobyns and Emma Hunter. Tim came to Colby this fall along with his wife, Lindsey Novak, who joined the Economics Department; he brings talents in video and communications. Emma also accompanied a new faculty member, Evan Randles in Mathematics; her background in public health dovetails nicely with student interest in health policy. The Goldfarb Center is very lucky to draw on their many talents!

We held off on a permanent hire as we work with faculty colleagues across the college on a public policy initiative. As we shape this new academic program, the Goldfarb Center has emerged as a strong co-curricular partner in providing the internships, labs and capstone experiences that will distinguish Colby’s innovative policy program.

We are piloting some of these initiatives this January. In collaboration with DavisConnects, 12 Goldfarb students will be in full-time internships (11 supported by the Sandy Maisel Fund and one by DavisConnects) in Washington D.C. this month. Their experience will be facilitated by several components: a young alumni mentor, weekly meetings with prominent Colby distinguished alums, and a capstone networking program, during which they will be joined by 17 other students for H2H (Mayflower Hill to Capitol Hill) to learn about D.C. through Colby’s extensive alumni network. A preliminary tally of the incredible Colby outreach registers:

  • 12 young alumni mentors to provide career advice
  • 16 alums and parents who will be speaking to the combined H2H group
  • 29 alums participating in mock interviews
  • Many more, we hope, who will join the students for a Colby Club event at the Lincoln Restaurant on Thursday, February 1. (Please look for the invitation details shortly, and if you can help with mock interviews, awesome!)

We are enormously grateful for the generosity of time extended by the Colby family in Washington, and we know that student lives will be changed by this experience.

The Goldfarb Center has also sponsored two labs this January. Professors Maple Razsa and Nadia El-Shawaari will work on the Balkan lab with Chloe Powers ’19, who will travel to Turkey to gain a better understanding of the lives of people on the move along the Balkan Route. Chloe will collect stories and data from migrants, refugees, and other “movers,” as well as from migrant solidarity activists within the Refugee Camp on Lesvos, Greece. Also, with support from the Walker Fund in Latin American Studies, three students and I (also advised by Psychology Professor Arterberry) will be working with an NGO in Lima, Peru, in identifying ways to encourage young mothers from marginalized communities to interact productively with their young babies to lay the basis for strong infant mental health. We look forward to creating new research teams in the future to interrogate complex policy problems.

For those on campus, we look forward to welcoming Colby parent Mark Hews (Joshua ’17), the Maine State Organizer for the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) for a dinner workshop on promoting civil dialogue (see details below). The board has also identified health care as its focus area for the spring. Students will be working with Goldfarb staff in organizing programming to probe our nation’s health crisis.

We anticipate 2018 as a year in which Goldfarb students learn by doing. We are excited about these new initiatives to connect the Colby community to the world of public affairs and inspire active citizenship. We look forward to partnering with alums, students, parents, and friends of the Goldfarb Center to create opportunities for engaged study in 2018!

Best regards,
Patrice Franko
Grossman Professor of Economics and Global Studies
*(Please bring on ideas for partnering!:  pmfranko@colby.edu)

Programming Highlights From Late Fall 2017

Fall 2017 William R. and Linda K. Cotter Debate


November 16, 2017: After a boisterous dinner honoring Bill and Linda Cotter, Colby Professor Neil Gross moderated a debate entitled Free Speech on Campus: Should There Be Any Limits? Featured panelists included Jon Shields, Associate Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College; Laura Beth Nielsen, Director of the Legal Studies Program and Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University; and Jon Zimmerman, Professor of History of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. The debate touched on a variety of free speech issues, including the importance of protecting elite institutions as havens for the pursuit of truth, the psychologizing of politics, the physical harm caused by hate speech, and the very concept of a “micro-aggression,” which is defined as any verbal or behavioral actions, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile or negative insults towards minority groups.


Watch the Fall 2017 Cotter Debate

Gender and Resistance: An Evening with Jennifer Finney Boylan


Jennifer Finney Boylan

November 14, 2017: Students, faculty, and guests crowded into the Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center when Jennifer Finney Boylan returned to Colby and discussed gender issues. A former Colby Professor, an activist, and an author, Jenny shared insights on the changes in the LGBTQ+ movement over the past 20 years and on the importance of storytelling in activism. When Jenny was young, her mother told her, “It’s impossible to hate anyone whose story you know.” With this quote in mind, Jenny went on to read two stories. The first depicted Jenny’s developing empathy for her grandmother’s hearing impaired friend. The second revealed the importance of writing in Jenny’s own identity during graduate school. We are very grateful to have heard Jenny’s story and, for some at Colby, to be part of her journey.


Read Jenny’s work at the New York Times.

Listen to a Podcast of the Event

D.C. Facilitated Internship Program & Hill-to-Hill



On January 8, a group of 12 Colby students will begin full-time Jan Plan internships in Washington D.C. The students will be interning with top D.C. politicians, NGOs, media companies, and think tanks, including Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, Vox Global, the Atlantic Council, and the United States Census Bureau. Stay tuned for blog entries, Facebook updates and video clips from Washington!

Spring 2018 Events and Cosponsorships

The Goldfarb Center is excited to offer a premier slate of events and guest speakers in spring 2018. Please stay tuned to this newsletter, social media, and our website for the most up-to-date information.


Text, Talk, Revive Civility
Jan. 24 | 4 p.m. | Diamond 124 & 126

Colby parent (Joshua ’17) Mark Hews, the Maine State Organizer for the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD), will lead a dinner workshop on promoting civil dialogue. Maine is one of four states that will take part in an intensive program to help people improve the way they talk and listen to each other. The NICD initiative aligns with objectives expressed by our Goldfarb student engagement board seeking deeper dialogue on campus.


Ultimate Insiders: White House Photographers and How They Shape History
Feb. 22 | 5 p.m. | Location TBD

Ken Walsh is chief White House correspondent for U.S. News & World Report. He has covered the White House since 1986 and is the author of eight books on the presidency. The Goldfarb Center will welcome him to discuss his latest book on the influential but often unseen official photographers who cover the president. Ken’s book will be available for purchase and personalized autographs at the conclusion of the lecture.


Spring 2018 William R. and Linda K. Cotter Debate
Early April | Time and Location TBD

The spring 2018 Cotter Debate will focus on the growing crisis that the opioid epidemic presents to our country. Panelists are yet to be determined, but we intend to showcase a broad range of academic and scientific experts in health care and health policy.


2018 Morton A. Brody Award for Distinguished Judicial Service
April 22 | 4 p.m. panel | 5:15 pm award Ostrove Auditorium, 142 Diamond

The biennial Brody Award for 2018 will be presented to Judge Anita Brody, Senior United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, Judge Brody (no relation to Morton A. Brody) is best known for presiding over the lawsuits and settlements relating to concussions in the NFL.


#MeToo, Tarana Burke
April 30 | Time and Location TBD

We are thrilled to partner with the Pugh Community Board to welcome civil rights activist and creator of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, to the Colby campus. Tarana will present a lecture followed by an audience Q&A.


We hope that your 2018 is off to a great start, and we look forward to seeing many of you at Goldfarb Center events this spring!