Faculty Spotlight: Fran Mainella
Fran P. MainellaTitle:
Visiting Scholar, 16th Director National Park Service (2001-2006), Former Florida State Park Director (1989-2001)Department:
Parks, Recreation & Tourism ManagementWhat colleges did you attend as a student?
University of Connecticut – B.S., Central Connecticut State University – M.S. and Honorary Doctorate of Public ServiceAt which schools/colleges/universities have you taught?
Clemson University – Visiting Scholar, Florida State University – Adjunct Professor, Florida A&M University – Adjunct ProfessorWhat is the best thing about your job?
The opportunities to teach students, work with a great faculty/administration, and explore areas of interest such as reconnecting children and adults to nature, and communicating the importance of play throughout life.Describe some of your current research projects.
I serve as Co-Chair of the U.S. Play Coalition housed here at Clemson and work with researchers throughout the world whose findings further substantiate the value of play. Also, I am Chair of the upcoming Conference on the Value of Play to be held here at the Madren Center February 6-9, 2011. Our speakers will include leaders of play from across the world including keynoters Penny Wilson from England and Dr. Joe Frost, Professor Emeritus from the University of Texas. Both are renowned leaders and speakers on play. Our audience for the conference includes educators, parks and recreation professionals, health professionals, landscape architects, parents, and anyone interested in the value of play.
Additionally, I serve on a committee working with the National Park Service, three state park systems, CCIT, and the Cooper Library on the Open Parks Grid, a cyber infrastructure to help connect the widely distributed parks community. Recently, we’ve received a combined grant of over $1.5 million to further this research.
Also I assist the efforts of the Hartzog Lecture held annually here at Clemson, honoring the 7th Director of the National Park Service George B. Hartzog Jr. I assist with obtaining the speakers for the event, including this year’s presenter Dr. Gary Machlis - the inaugural science advisor to the Director of the National Park Service. I also contribute in determining the award recipients given during the Hartzog luncheon including the bi-annual Fran P. Mainella Award for leadership by women in resource management.
I am also an HEHD faculty representative for “The Will to Lead: A Campaign for Clemson” fundraising initiative. It is an effort to raise more than $600 million in support of Clemson students and faculty by July 2012.
While representing Clemson, I speak nationally on the value of play and parks. I also serve on the Boards of the Children &Nature Network, the National Park Trust, and Chair the National Recreation and Park Foundation, while also Chairing the Public Lands Advisory Committee to the National Environmental Education Foundation.
Tell us about your family.
I am happily married to my husband Bob Landers for nine years, who teaches Leisure Skills classes here at Clemson. I also am a Grandmother of two wonderful children, Ross and Lincoln. I am able to be with my father and sister frequently residing in South Florida. Please list your favorite(s).Hobby:
Golfing and hikingBook:
Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit DisorderMovie:
Dirty DancingElectronic gadget:
National ParksMusic or musical genera:
My husband’s band – Olde Towne BluesPreviously owned vehicle:
1965 Corvette Convertible (red of course!)Influential person:
I have had many mentors change my life but my parents have been the most influential. They always supported me and taught me never to fear. They believed that if you work hard, anything is possible – including being the first woman to serve as National Park Service Director! Person with whom you would like to have a conversation:
Stephen Mather – 1st Director of the National Park ServiceThing that makes you smile:
It makes me smile when I see the success of my former students, particularly when they have successful careers in the area of public land management.Advice received:
My parents told me to work hard, be kind, and success will follow.Advice to give:
To be successful today, effective communication is the key. You must be able to speak well, write clearly, but most importantly, listen.