Photo by Roger Coda, The Chautauquan Daily
Chancellor Nancy Cantor speaks in August to an audience at the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit organization in southwestern New York that serves as a community, a center, and a resource for spiritual and intellectual growth. The Chancellor was a featured speaker in the institution’s Living an Ethical Life series. Her address, “Individuals, Ethics, and Empathy of Mind,” can be read at www.syr.edu/chancellor/speeches/index.html
Syracuse is hot! So many students accepted our offer of admission that we opened the academic year with a huge and talented entering class, the most diverse class ever. With a mix of ingenuity and goodwill, we housed everyone and still made room, on and off campus, for students displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
After working with more than 400 displaced students, University College facilitated the enrollment for this semester across the campus—94 undergraduates, three visiting graduate students, and six visiting law students joined us and were welcomed with orientation dinners, guides, and registration help. DIPA reached out and placed an additional 73 students in study abroad centers. And our Office of Sponsored Programs found laboratories and departmental space for displaced faculty from Dillard, Xavier, Tulane, and other “Gulf” schools. So many generous offers of short- and long-term housing came in—more than 300 in all—that we had more than we needed.
We also started this academic year with more learning communities than ever—35 in all. Many are set up in residence halls, so students with similar interests can live together and share activities, social life, and some courses. There are also non-residential learning communities, such as Connections, for commuter students, and Psychology in Action, designed to give first-year students a firsthand look at the lives of psychologists.
This year’s new residential communities include Connecting Across the Equator, which is for first-year Renée Crown University Honors Program students who want to examine the contrasts between the industrialized countries of the northern hemisphere and the less industrialized, poorer countries in Africa, South America, and Asia, south of the equator. The new Drama Learning Community brings drama majors together to talk, attend performances, and showcase their own work. Among the other learning communities are Social Justice, Law, and History; Engineering and Computer Science; Health Studies; Interfaith; Women in Science and Engineering; Multicultural; and Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship.
There’s more than talk and study. Every group goes on a retreat to build community and have fun. The Discovery Learning Community went rock climbing and white-water rafting, and members of the International Living Center visited Ottawa.
All across our campus this fall, through the College of Arts and Sciences, the Syracuse Symposium is presenting lectures, performances, exhibitions, and other special events around the theme “Borders,” exploring their profound effects—visible and invisible—on all of humankind. Leading off was international photographer and MacArthur Fellow Wendy Ewald, followed by Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of the Nobel Prize-winning Doctors Without Borders.
And we want our students to talk to each other—about differences and similarities, fears, and shared vulnerabilities—so we designed facilitated inter-group dialogues in 11 residence halls and in formal courses and first-year forums and writing courses.
Our watchword this year is “Scholarship in Action,” and we are pursuing excellence in learning in every available aspect of campus life. Listen, and you may hear the sizzle.
Chancellor and President