Cardinal Quirks: Dr. Tim Franz

March 11, 2020

Dr. Tim Franz is certainly busy in his role as professor of psychology at Fisher. Franz is sought out as an expert in social behavior, work motivation, applied research methods, and group/team psychology, and has been quoted in several newspapers and magazines, including USA Today. In addition, he has authored a book on team development and articles for two dozen peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Tim Franz on ski patrol

Despite all that, Franz still finds time to demonstrate his expertise in more recreational pursuits: alpine skiing and mountain biking.

“While growing up, my family hiked regularly and this really allowed me to connect with how important it is to experience the outdoors,” says Franz. “I love to be outside, and as an adult this has led me to activities such as hiking, paddling, skiing, and bicycling. My wife and I want to pass this on to our children.”

Franz started skiing in middle school and immediately fell in love with the sport, discovering the thrills of mountain biking later in life. He has taken both passions beyond just carving and hitting the trails. Franz is a member of the Bristol Mountain Ski Patrol, patrol director for the Genesee Regional Off-Road Cyclists (GROC) mountain bike patrol, and a certified outdoor emergency care instructor, all of which are predominantly volunteer positions.

“Both patrols give me the opportunity to get outside. For ski patrol, we’re out helping people regardless of snow, rain, sleet, or wind,” says Franz. “Because of these patrols and my love to help, ride, and ski, I volunteer and ski and bike more than ever before.”

While his work within Fisher’s psychology department and his skiing and biking volunteerism may seem worlds apart, Franz believes they fuel one another. He integrates community engagement into his curriculum and uses his first-responder experiences when teaching Introduction to Psychology in the Wegmans School of Nursing. In the future, he would like to create a course that leverages social and organizational psychology to improve interventions and behaviors for first responders. He also serves as the advisor for Fisher Ski Club and FAST, the Fisher Alpine Ski Team.

Franz’s work and volunteer worlds also come together in other ways. He often runs into students, alumni, and colleagues while on his patrols, including the School of Pharmacy’s Dr. Anne Schweighardt, who currently serves as GROC president.

“A couple of times, students have seen me and called out ‘Doctor Franz!,’ which is funny because I certainly do not use the title ‘Dr.’ when I’m on patrol!”