UniversityPlace

Ron Trinca
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Professor N. Barry Berg of SUNY Upstate Medical University explains the structure of the human heart to a group of Science Horizons students in an anatomy lab at Upstate.

Middle School Students Explore the World of Science

School was out for the summer, but that didn’t stop a group of Onondaga County seventh- and eighth-grade students from taking a science adventure. As part of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Science Horizons program, students explored the science of fire at the Cortland Fire Department, used forensics to investigate a simulated crime scene created by the SU chemistry department, and visited a farm to learn about animal husbandry. “The students are actually doing science activities and not just reading books,” says Ben Gnacik G’05, who worked with the program in 2005 as a graduate student in secondary biology education and served as a teacher this summer. “So many students think the only thing you can do with science is be a doctor, but there’s so much more.”

Now in its 14th year, the weeklong Science Horizons program is organized by University College and held on the SU campus, introducing students to ecology, geology, chemistry, zoology, and medicine through hands-on activities, presentations, discussions, and field trips. “We give students a taste of different sciences and hope that it sparks their interest in pursuing a career in science,” says Sandra Barrett, University College’s director of community programs.

Funded by the pharmaceutical corporation Bristol-Myers Squibb, Science Horizons invites each of the 40 middle schools in Onondaga County to select a student to participate. “The program allows students to see science at work in this community,” says Ken Dauria, senior director of Syracuse operations at Bristol-Myers Squibb. “It shows the kids the depth and the richness of Central New York.” As part of the program, Bristol-Myers Squibb opens its Syracuse facility to the students, allowing them to meet company scientists, learn how to culture organisms and take samples, work on basic chemistry experiments, and respond to a chemical spill in a lab.

The program’s staff includes area science teachers, Syracuse University students, and Science Horizons alumni now in high school. Faculty and staff from SU, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and SUNY Upstate Medical University serve as lecturers and field-trip hosts, along with representatives from local organizations and businesses. “The earlier you can get students involved in science, the better,” Gnacik says. “There is a lot of research that shows the number of students interested in science is dwindling. But it’s nice to see students enjoying science and saying at the end of the week, ‘I want to do this when I grow up.’”

—Crystal Heller

 


Native American Studies Seeks to Strengthen Ties to Indigenous Communities

Paul W. Pearce/Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation
Sidney Hill Tadodaho Sidney Hill, left, and Clan Mother Audrey Shenahdoah of the Onondaga Nation discuss Onondaga history, culture, and spirituality at Syracuse Stage as part of Onondaga Land Rights and Our Common Future, a yearlong collaborative educational series organized by SU, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and several community groups.

Located in the heart of Haudenosaunee country, Syracuse University provides an ideal setting to examine Native American cultural, social, legal, and political issues. “Native studies is an emerging discipline and an important area of study that was not especially visible on college campuses until recently,” says Maxwell sociology professor Richard Loder ’67, G’78, director of the College of Arts and Sciences minor in Native American studies. The program offers undergraduates across the University the option of an interdisciplinary minor focusing on the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School teach courses in such areas as anthropology, sociology, English, writing, religion, history, and fine arts that relate to Native American studies.

As the first faculty member of Native American descent to serve in a leadership position in the College of Arts and Sciences, Loder is leading a re-visioning of the Native American studies program to expand its academic and cultural offerings. Among his goals are to develop new curricula, symposia, and community programs; support the University in recruiting Native American students and faculty; and develop links with Native American nations and urban communities by promoting education, community service, and community research collaborations. Loder, who specializes in contemporary Native American issues, has strong ties to local communities. “At Syracuse, we are well-placed to promote cross-cultural dialogue and create an environment where students can question their assumptions and explore the past, present, and future of indigenous people,” he says. “We also have a great deal to learn from indigenous people in order to develop new perspectives and solutions to contemporary problems.”

Native American studies is currently an area of enhanced focus at SU, with the establishment of the Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship for Native American students and expanded academic offerings in related issues through the Center for Indigenous Law, Governance, and Citizenship at the College of Law. Additional initiatives include Native Student Outreach Day; the Native American Students at Syracuse student organization; a series of lectures and programs featuring Native American speakers, artists, and scholars; and an SU Abroad study program in the Canadian Arctic region territory of Nunavut.

Plans also include the re-establishment of a Native American studies learning community. “I am proud of where we are and where we are going,” Loder says. “We are providing some enriching opportunities for students through academic offerings, campus programming, and community collaborations, such as the current Onondaga Land Rights and Our Common Future educational series. We have made a commitment to developing deeper relationships within the community. It is a wonderful time to be at Syracuse University.”  

—Amy Shires

 


Courtesy of Holocaust Museum Houston
holocost
Holocaust Museum Houston


Education Program Looks at the
Holocaust with a View of Today’s World

The Hebrew word for the Holocaust is Shoah. The term—literally “catastrophic upheaval”—captures some of the horror of that event, but its message is not consigned to history. The Holocaust and its continuing meaning are examined in the School of Education’s fellowship program, The Holocaust: Lessons for the Classroom. The school launched the program in conjunction with the Warren Fellowship for Future Educators and the Holocaust Museum Houston. The program provides future teachers with approaches to incorporating Holocaust instruction into the curriculum, which is mandated or strongly encouraged in 17 states, including New York. Along with learning history, students examine the moral issue of what it means to be a responsible citizen in a democratic society. “We want to do justice to the issues of the Holocaust and make it relevant to the theme of being a bystander in today’s world,” says Professor Emeritus Alan Goldberg, a program coordinator. “Students gain an understanding about everyone’s role in contributing to prejudice, and question what our role should be today in places such as Sudan, where genocide is occurring.”

Students participate in a six-day institute at the Houston museum, which took place this year in May, and continue the program at Syracuse in the fall. The fellowship covers student expenses in Houston and Syracuse and will support 20 students next year. The Fellowship for Future Educators was established in honor of Holocaust survivor Naomi Warren by Helen G’72 and Andrew Spector ’66, Warren’s daughter and son-in-law. Funding for SU students is provided by the Solomon Spector Foundation. “We expect that the Warren/Spector gift will catalyze additional giving so that we can expand the program,” says School of Education professor Corinne Smith ’67, G’73. “This could include funding student service projects abroad, bringing experts on the Holocaust and other genocides to SU, and facilitating meetings with children of survivors to learn the effects that persist over generations.”

During the Houston museum experience, the program’s first fellows—Melanie Mahanna ’09, Thomas Moran ’07, Sharon Ostrowsky ’08, Jonathan Smith ’07, Christina Valerino ’08, and Joy Wilson ’08—heard from Benjamin Ferencz, a prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials and a peace activist, and other speakers, including survivors and liberators of the concentration camps. “Ferencz empowered me to believe I could make a difference,” Mahanna says. Students also created personal tributes to Warren. Mahanna’s piece reads, in part,  “You have shone your light upon us. And, we will go out into our classrooms, communities, and families and shine your light.”

The fellows gather this fall at SU for seminars taught by faculty from across campus, including Sanford Sternlicht G’62, an English professor who addresses the Holocaust in literature. The program is coordinated by Goldberg, Smith, Sternlicht, School of Education professor George Theoharis, and Ruth Stein of the Center for Support of Teaching and Learning. Central New York teachers Nancy Richardson of Oswego and Laurie Rutter of Lafayette, who teach a Holocaust course at their own schools, also assist with the program.

As she pursues an inclusive elementary education degree, Mahanna hopes to incorporate in her curriculum the themes of equality and being a bystander, and engage students with personal artifacts, including artwork of children who survived. “If I can make students connect to one person, that’s how I will make it important to them,” she says. “You honor the past and you are active in creating a better present and future.”

—Kathleen Haley

Jesse Neider/The Post-Standard
lax

The United States men’s lacrosse team (pictured here in blue jerseys) defeated the Syracuse All-Stars, 15-6, in an exhibition game at Coyne Field on July 3 that attracted more than 3,500 fans. The exhibition was in preparation for the International Lacrosse Federation (ILF) World Championship in London, Ontario. SU’s John Desko ’79 served as head coach of Team USA, which featured several former Orange stars, including all three Powell brothers. But it was another Orange great, Gary Gait ’90, who helped lead Canada to a 15-10 upset over the United States in the ILF championship game. Gait netted four fourth-quarter goals in what was likely his final appearance as a player.


 

 

Fisher Seminar Connects Liberal Arts and Business

Winston Fisher ’96 is glad he majored in philosophy. A partner in one of the nation’s premier real estate investment firms, he believes the rigors of his education provided him with skills essential to business success. “In studying the liberal arts, you are trained to think critically and logically,” he says. “You learn to open yourself to ideas, to understand their cultural contexts, and to evaluate their usefulness. You must process a great deal of information into a clear, concise position and be prepared to articulate it. All these abilities are assets in the business world.”

Fisher believes too few students or employers understand this, and decided to do something about it. During Spring Break 2006, 14 majors from the College of Arts and Sciences participated in the first Winston Fisher Seminar, Business and the Liberal Arts, a five-day learning experience designed to demonstrate the synergy of its title pursuits. The students were accompanied to New York City by Spanish professor Harold G. Jones, who has long advocated application of academic skills in the workplace, and Teresa DiMagno, director of Career Exploration Services. Jones and DiMagno prepared the group by conducting two pre-seminar sessions on campus. With expenses paid by the Fisher seminar, students were free to take on an exacting work schedule that included reading case studies, conducting research, and working collaboratively. “The seminar gave them confidence in the relevance of their education and helped them articulate the value of their skills,” DiMagno says. Jones agrees. “The business plans they submitted as part of a scholarship competition were creative, thorough, and realistic,” he says. “Their presentations were professional and engaging. I was very impressed by what they were able to do in such a short period.”

Meetings were held at the Park Avenue headquarters of Fisher Brothers Management and at sites around the city with a succession of business leaders, including top executives in investment, real estate, utilities, and publishing. Field trips took the students to Wall Street for a visit to the New York Stock Exchange and to the West Side piers for lunch with museum executives aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. In synch with the elevated pace of Manhattan life, they even managed to catch the hit Broadway musical Avenue Q.

“I’d given little thought to working in the business world,” says Jennifer Kirchner ’06, a policy studies and political science major. “After the seminar, I opened up my job search and applied to companies I wouldn’t have considered.” One of her applications went to Bliss, Gouverneur & Associates, the public relations firm where she now works. Emily Perrone ’06, an advertising and Spanish major, emphasized Fisher’s hands-on participation and personal influence. “Winston showed me I can succeed in any area I choose, as long as the job allows me to utilize the essentials of my education,” Perrone says.

Encouraged by student reaction, Fisher is planning to expand the scope of the next seminar. “I’ve always believed the really smart people are Renaissance thinkers, not tradesmiths,” he says. “The liberal arts provide a powerful education.” 

 —David Marc

 

 
Alex Ottaviano
menopause

 

 

Menopause The Musical®

Cast members of Menopause The Musical® kept theater-goers laughing for weeks at Syracuse Stage. The production—a comedic celebration of “the change” and all that comes with it, from eating binges to night sweats—ran for a record-setting 12 weeks. It was extended seven times, making it Syracuse Stage’s most successful performance ever, selling more than 44,000 tickets. “The show closed on a very high note,” says Jim Clark, producing director. “We were still playing to sold-out and standing-room-only houses. I’m proud to say that our historic run with Menopause The Musical® didn’t run out of gas, but simply out of time. We needed to prepare for the opening of our new season.”

 

 

 

Student Attorneys Help Community Members Resolve Tax Controversies

The bundle of nerves within third-year law student Jennifer Maxwell G’06 clustered tighter as she awaited the arrival of one of her first clients, a Syracuse resident in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). But an unexpected hug from the grateful client eased Maxwell’s tension, assuring her the help was appreciated. “I found that doing simple things, like writing a letter or calling the IRS, has such a large impact on our clients,” says Maxwell, one of 10 student attorneys in the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic at the College of Law last semester. “Simply sitting down with them to go over their problems and offering help meant more to them than I could have imagined.”

Funded by grants from the College of Law and the IRS, the clinic takes on between 50 and 75 cases each year involving low-income Central New York residents involved in tax controversies. During the past four years, the clinic has recovered more than $200,000 in back tax refunds owed to its clients. “We always get the right results,” says Professor Rob Nassau, co-director of the clinic. “Not everybody is entitled to the refunds they think they’re entitled to, but if they are entitled to them, then we can get them.”

Filing tax forms can be complicated, Nassau says, especially for individuals who live in non-traditional households, such as homes with single parents or unmarried couples who have had children with previous mates. Many clients have been audited for claiming the earned income tax credit, a refundable credit instituted for low-income working people. The IRS audits people who file this tax credit more often than those who file for other tax credits because, when granted, the refund can be as high as $4,400. “Often the IRS asks these taxpayers to prove that they have children or that the children live with them,” Nassau says. “Our clients get flustered by the bureaucracy and don’t know how to provide the necessary evidence.”

Law students learn to navigate the tax system and help clients resolve their tax disputes. Students walk away from their clinic experience with an abbreviated tax law course, a working knowledge of the tax and federal court systems, and some of the practical skills needed to function as professional attorneys. Perhaps the most important lessons learned by law students concern the impact they can have on their clients’ lives. “It was a gratifying experience to hear our clients’ voices and see their expressions when we told them of the favorable decision,” Maxwell says. “That experience was worth more than anything we could learn in a class.”                                                  

—Margaret Costello

 

Museum Studies Students Collaborate with Local Historic Site

In the spirit of communal living, members of the 19th-century Oneida Community utopian society often gathered in “bees” to perform such chores as raking, sewing, and housework. When Professor Bradley Hudson’s first-year museum studies graduate students stayed overnight at the community’s mansion as part of their research for designing a new visitor center for the facility, they participated in a furniture polishing bee—honoring the Oneida Community’s strong work ethic and tradition of shared labor. During their stay, the 14 students met with the institution’s staff members and residents, toured the mansion and grounds, and participated in a reading of Oneida Community letters, which are held in the University Library’s Special Collections. “I thought it was important to stay overnight in the place we were going to design,” says Hudson, who assigned the project in response to a request from the museum’s curator. “That kind of immersion tied students to the experience and provided a unique opportunity most design projects don’t allow.”

The Oneida Community was founded in 1848 by John Humphrey Noyes and his followers. Based on principles of religious perfectionism, its members practiced communal living—sharing property and practicing “complex marriage” (in which every adult man was married to every adult woman). They raised their children collectively and achieved financial success through the manufacture of animal traps, chains, silk thread, and silverware. The community as such dissolved in 1880 and became Oneida Ltd., a joint-stock company that remains a leading name in tableware. Today, the 93,000-square-foot, three-story brick structure houses a museum, 35 apartments, eight guest rooms, and a dining room.

Following their stay at the mansion, the students worked individually to develop computer-aided drawings and three-dimensional models of their proposed designs. They coordinated such details as lighting, color, and the use of space to create a unified experience that would provide visitors with a clear look into history. Students then presented their plans to museum staff members, who included elements from several proposals in a recent application for a $12,000 grant to renovate the visitor center. “I tell students they are like package designers for products,” Hudson says. “Their job is to work with the content expert—a curator, director, or art historian—to create a ‘container’ that leaves museum visitors feeling like their time there was spent in worthwhile and interesting ways.”

Museum studies student Julie Choma describes the project as a great learning experience. “Before I design something, I have to understand it,” says Choma, whose plan incorporated hunter green walls in an open, homey space intended to welcome visitors and provide them with a quick overview of the mansion. “It was extremely helpful to see the room and meet with not just the curator, but also one of the descendants of the Oneida Community. Now I know what it is like to work with people on a real exhibit, and to create a design that addresses specific needs.”

 —Amy Shires

Courtesy of Bradley Hudson
model
Museum studies students created models of their design ideas, like the one pictured here, for the Oneida Community’s new visitor center.

 

 

 

School of Social Work Celebrates 50 Years of Service

History unfolds along the main corridor wall on the third floor of Sims Hall. As photographs of the graduating classes from the School of Social Work change from black and white to color, they reveal a student body evolving from small classes of white males to larger classes of men and women from a variety of backgrounds. Fifty years have passed since the first picture was snapped. “We’ve grown a lot,” says social work professor Nancy Mudrick, the school’s director from 2002 to 2006. “We now have much more diversity, which we feel is extremely important.”

Last spring, the School of Social Work marked the 50th anniversary of its founding. It began in 1945 as a seedling of the University of Buffalo, offering a one-semester program under that institution’s direction. By 1956, the need for a full-fledged social work program led Syracuse University to open the School of Social Work as a graduate school. The school added an undergraduate program in 1974, and was integrated into the newly created College of Human Services and Health Professions in 2001. Peg Miller, the school’s assistant director and director of field instruction, says what she finds most impressive is that for about 45 of the school’s 50 years, it was the only institution to offer a master’s degree in social work in the region, making its graduates all the more valuable to the area. “Our alumni fill most of the leadership positions in human service agencies in Central New York,” Miller says.

The School of Social Work is recognized nationally for its community organization and activism, clinical training in family systems, gerontology research, and both research and training in child welfare. The school also has a history of strong curricula in health and in occupational social work. Mudrick says the school is always eager to improve programs or introduce new initiatives or specialties. At present, the school is working to create a multidisciplinary doctorate. “That’s our dream for the future,” Mudrick says.

Social work professor Alejandro Garcia, the school’s current director, hopes to increase collaboration between the school’s students and faculty and community agencies and not-for-profit groups to keep the school aware of society’s changing social service needs. He sees the school taking a more international focus in terms of the curriculum and student activities. “The school needs to be responsive to the increasing number of Spanish-speaking immigrants coming to the United States,” Garcia says. “These are people who bring not only a different language, but also different cultures to this country, and we need to ensure they receive quality services that are linguistically and culturally competent.”

–Alia Dastagir

 

Book Provides a Personal Look at Political Life

firstperson

Ancient Romans running for political office donned white, flowing garments to symbolize pureness of intentions and to easily reveal battle scars. Today’s candidates should have it so easy. The slings and arrows of critical media, negative campaigning, and nasty partisanship make for a public increasingly disdainful of legislators and less eager to look beyond those layers to gain a true sense of what drives elected officials, says political science professor Grant Reeher. He tries to temper the public’s cynicism in his book, First Person Political: Legislative Life and the Meaning of Public Service (New York University Press), drawing on legislators’ firsthand stories to show the difficult decisions they face in running for office and staying there, despite turbulent times and personal sacrifices. “Contrary to the way public officials are portrayed, most legislators are deeply anchored in their communities with a lot of prior service,” Reeher says. “They are grounded in civic virtue and public commitment.”

First Person Political evolved from Reeher’s research on why legislators become more heavily involved in the development of legislation than other functions, including constituency service, assisting individuals with specific concerns involving the government. He interviewed 77 legislators and surveyed 233 more in the lower houses of Connecticut, New York, and Vermont. “What struck me were the personal stories behind their roots in public service: their decisions to run for office, their experiences serving, and the factors that went into staying or leaving,” Reeher says.

State legislators confront complex tradeoffs in public service, including disruptions to their personal lives and financial difficulties due to salaries below private sector levels, Reeher says. One legislator he interviewed stepped down from office after struggling financially. He was then elected mayor of his town and voted out of office after innuendos about his sexual orientation surfaced, and personal attacks were made against his family after he took on some powerful community interests. He moved to a different state and is again involved in political life. “He had gone through these terrible experiences,” Reeher says, “but felt he had accomplished important things and didn’t want his career to end in that manner.”

To create a more welcoming environment for potential candidates, Reeher suggests increasing salaries to reflect the responsibility of the work and instituting campaign finance reform. He encourages the American public to look beyond shallow media treatments. “Find places where political figures speak directly to their constituents,” he says. “Look at government and think-tank web sites. Read more in-depth pieces of reporting. Make a call to their office. They are more approachable than people think.” 

—Kathleen Haley

 

 

 

film
Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane is among the films included in Professor Minet Schindehutte’s database, Lessons from Hollywood, designed to teach students about entrepreneurship.

Films Spark Entrepreneurial Thinking

Most first-year management students know that “scarcity breeds value.” Yet too often they miss an application of this basic axiom of free-market economics that bears closely on their own careers: One of the scarcest commodities in the business world is entrepreneurial creativity. “With so many necessary facts and skills to learn, management students can become boxed in by a certain kind of thinking,” says Martin J. Whitman School of Management professor Minet Schindehutte. “In my entrepreneurship classes, I try to give them opportunities to develop their capacities for convergent and divergent ways of thinking. They must be prepared to generate new ideas if they hope to seize the entrepreneurial moment and break away from the pack.” And how does a professor teach a mind shaped by calculator and spreadsheet to explore mysteries more often associated with palette and canvas? For starters, she turns to Hollywood.

“I’m a total movie fanatic,” says Schindehutte, who earned a doctorate in chemistry and worked for Shell Oil before breaking away from the pack to start up two companies in her native South Africa. “I show my students short clips, specially selected to force them to confront paths of thought that are alien to what they have mastered.” Among the stars of Schindehutte’s archive is Robin Williams, whose free-association comedy is a perfect foil to the logic of textbook biz-think. “We tell young entrepreneurs to make connections between unrelated things,” she says. “Well here’s someone who does it quite well in Patch Adams, Dead Poets Society, and most definitely his stand-up routines.” Schindehutte’s database of clips—Lessons from Hollywood—includes three- to five-minute scenes from such films as The Matrix, Jerry McGuire, and Searching for Bobby Fischer. The database continues to grow with suggestions from colleagues and students as entrepreneurship programs in the United States and abroad adopt Schindehutte’s teaching technique into their curricula.

Lindsay Van Gordon ’06 counts the two courses she took with Schindehutte as highlights of her education. “Her lectures are compelling,” Van Gordon says. “The clips she uses to illustrate and introduce ideas have profound effects, stirring attention, refreshing the classroom, and provoking discussion. Students are free to interpret what they’ve seen, and they proactively refer to abstract ideas studied in the course to express themselves.”

Although Lessons from Hollywood includes depictions of individuals launching new businesses, that is not the main purpose or strength of film in entrepreneurial education, Schindehutte says. “The emotional content of a movie scene can stimulate memory and the senses, hardwiring the mind-body connection and allowing students to become fully engaged creatively, as they must be for success in their business ventures. It is a more holistic way of learning,” she says. Predictably, some business students complain about the unexpected emotional demands of this kind of learning, but Schindehutte relishes winning over the doubters. “Anybody seriously taking on the adventure of starting a business needs a bit of Indiana Jones in them,” she says. 

—David Marc
 

 

Faculty Take on Politics in Public TV Series

With his prime-time television series now in its fifth season, Newhouse School Dean David Rubin enjoys chance meetings with his audience while searching for fresh apricots at the supermarket, but insists he isn’t in it for the fame. “There is not enough debate in this community about local, regional, or national issues,” says Rubin, host of The Ivory Tower Half Hour, one of the only weekly news analysis programs on broadcast television produced outside the Beltway. “My goal is to be provocative, to get people thinking about issues in new ways, to shine the light on local people who deserve exposure—and to make people think, which in some cases makes them mad.” Episodes are recorded on Friday mornings at WCNY-TV, Syracuse’s public television station, and aired at 8 p.m. that day.

Rubin presides over a lively discussion of the week’s events with colleagues from SU and other Central New York faculties. Political scientists Kristi Andersen of the Maxwell School and Robert J. Spitzer of SUNY Cortland, historian John Robert Greene G’83 of Cazenovia College, and social scientist Tara Ross of Onondaga Community College are Ivory Tower regulars. “The content is developed in large part through e-mail,” says Bill Pfohl, who produced the show for WCNY during the 2005-06 season. “The panelists exchange messages with David all week, sorting out the news stories they want to discuss. The process continues right up to the tapings.”

Courtesy of WCNY
Ivory Tower
Newhouse Dean David Rubin, third from right, moderates a weekly panel discussion of news events and issues on The Ivory Tower Half Hour.

In a typical episode, conversation moves from the latest events in the Middle East to political developments in Washington to stories with impact on the Central New York economy. Spitzer believes that Ivory Tower offers a thoughtful alternative to the predictable, generic “liberal-conservative” punditry of many nationally distributed shows. “We give viewers something more than reporters and commentators talking to reporters and commentators,” he says. “While we don’t hesitate to give our opinions, what we do on the show is, for the most part, analytical.” Pfohl says some viewers find the Ivory Tower panelists somewhat more liberal than their counterparts in the national media, but with the decidedly conservative McLaughlin Group airing on WCNY later that evening, the station feels it provides a diversity of articulate opinion that is preferable to shrill debate or fluffy blandness, the twin plagues of television news analysis.

The broadcast ends each week with the assembled faculty handing out grades—A’s and F’s only—to anyone or anything they believe has earned the mark. Andersen enjoyed giving an A to the New York State Assembly for extending the state’s bottle-deposit law to non-carbonated drinks. Spitzer slapped an F on a minor league baseball team whose snack bar introduced a bacon cheeseburger served on a doughnut. “Each one probably shortens a life by two weeks,” he said.

The Ivory Tower Half Hour draws some 7,000 Central New York viewers each week, providing them access to the informed opinions of nationally recognized experts who happen to be their neighbors. If the audience is not large by the standards of commercial television, it likely exceeds the number of students that most professors encounter in the classroom during their entire careers. Rubin says that if chance encounters are any indication of audience demographics, Ivory Tower viewers are overwhelmingly age 50 or older. This is the case for most television current affairs programs, something he finds distressing. “But I’m gratified when viewers stop me, whether it’s to say they like the show—or to argue with me about Iraq,” he says.  

—David Marc

 

 

Courtesy of John Thompson
rooftops
Illustration professor John Thompson of the College of Visual and Performing Arts received the 2006 Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators for this illustration, which is featured in The Flying Bed, a children’s book by Newberry Award-winning author Nancy Willard that will be published by Scholastic Blue Sky Press in 2007. The book is set in Florence, Italy, and Thompson began his work on the project while teaching in Italy for SU. The Hamilton King Award is the society’s highest achievement for a member and is given for the best illustration at the Annual Exhibition of American Illustration, a juried show that drew more than 5,000 entries this year. The exhibition presented 500 pieces from more than 240 artists, including two from Thompson.

 

 

 

Partnership Introduces Cybersecurity to High School Students

Students at Rome (New York) Catholic High School are learning about cybersecurity and computer engineering in a first-of-its-kind course. Created through a unique partnership involving the school, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in Rome, and the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), the course introduces students to concepts and technologies that protect information systems, an area of increasing national and international importance. “Secure commerce and our national defense both require dramatic improvements in cybersecurity, and the early engagement of young people is a key to our continued leadership in this field,” says Eric F. Spina, interim vice chancellor and provost who served as the Douglas D. Danforth Dean of ECS. “The partnership between our faculty and AFRL enables the cybersecurity course to be taught right where the most exciting developments in computer science and engineering are occurring.”

Students in the class meet in 45-minute sessions four days each week during the 20-week course in a former home economics classroom that is now a high-tech lab with 12 wireless computers. Through lectures, laboratory exercises, and guest speakers, students learn about such topics as network configuration; vulnerabilities and threats; and prevention, detection, and response. ECS professor Kamal Jabbour, who is also a principal computer engineer in AFRL’s Cyber Operations Branch, based the high school program on a 10-week Cybersecurity Boot Camp held each summer for college students at AFRL. Both cybersecurity programs are funded by a three-year, $2.4 million grant secured by U.S. Congressman Sherwood Boehlert ’61 of Utica, New York, chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology. Because the Rome Catholic High School course was so successful, plans are being made to offer it at schools statewide in 2007.

SU’s Project Advance, a placement program enabling high school students to take college-level courses for credit, is coordinating the training of high school science, math, computer, and technology teachers from around the state. A summer workshop for teachers included an overview of the course curriculum, in-depth lectures by cybersecurity experts from AFRL and SU, hands-on experience with laboratory equipment, and hearing from Rome Catholic High School teachers about their experiences with the program. “The addition of the cybersecurity course will strengthen the intellectual exchange that is so important to ensuring a seamless transition from high school to college for our students,” says Gerald Edmonds, director of Project Advance and an adjunct professor at the School of Education.

The high school program and the collegiate-level summer boot camp are boosting general interest among young people in a crucial and expanding field. “We believe this experience will motivate and inspire a new generation of young people to study computer science and engineering in college and accelerate their contributions to our nation’s welfare,” Spina says.

—Kelly Homan Rodoski

 

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