Can you tell
us your thoughts on the initiative to ensure greater student success? How can
that be done?
Many students have told me that they want to be challenged more
by their programs and peers. Students transfer elsewhere because
they feel they aren’t being challenged as much as they want
to be, both academically and in their co-curricular experiences
here. What really good students want are really good students
next to them, individuals who are engaged in the life of the
community, in the life of the campus, and in their studies.
If we want more people like that, we have to expect more of
the individuals who are here. We have to change the culture,
so that more work is expected and faculty require better performance.
I believe most of our students can be academically engaged much
more than they are; we have to find the key to unlock their
One initiative focuses on graduate education. How can the University,
in the words of the plan, “reorient graduate programs to meet
the demands of changing market conditions in an increasingly
We have many professional master’s degree programs that rank
in the upper echelons of education in the United States and
internationally, too. I’m not sure whether it’s a question of
reorienting ourselves, or determining in what other unique areas
we can provide professional education. We also have to think
about where there would be a demand, and where we’re uniquely
qualified to meet it.
Over time, it has taken longer and longer
to earn a Ph.D. We have to figure out a way to improve the situation
for doctoral students, so they don’t tie up so much of their
prime time in school.
In the next generation, we’ll be innovators
in multidisciplinary programs that will make our students more
employable, for example. We also need to think hard about the
different career paths our graduates take and provide more explicit
opportunities to prepare them for tracks other than academia.
Please talk about the initiative
that calls for improving the University’s intellectual climate through diversity.
Diversity—in all of its
meanings—is a core value of Syracuse University. We want this community to be
a comfortable place for people of all nationalities, all races, many different
tongues, many different points of view, and political perspectives. SU will
be a much more engaging and rich place when we learn how to embrace this diversity.
We should reflect the community in which we live—both the Syracuse community
and our international community.
We need to hire more faculty
of color, so that our students of color have immediate role models and other
faculty of color feel they are valued members of our community. We can make
sure that those of us who aren’t of color are sensitive to what it feels like
to be excluded. If we are sensitive to that, we will no longer exclude anyone
by virtue of our behaviors. There are things we can do to make this a more all-inclusive