SCHOOLS LOOK TO BUILD ON ITS NATIONAL REPUTATION BY DEVELOPING NEW INITIATIVES
Corinne Roth Smith
When the School of Education’s new dean arrives in 2002, he or she will find the school ready for a new period of development, building on an already strong position in its field, according to Interim Dean Corinne Roth Smith ’67, G’73. “We’ve come off a 10-year period of right-sizing our school, and now is the time for new growth, new development, and new initiatives,” says Smith, a member of the school’s faculty since 1971 and its associate dean for eight years. She was appointed interim dean last fall after Steven T. Bossert, dean since 1990, stepped down to work full-time on a $1.4 million federal grant to integrate technology into the school’s teacher education program. “Having been on the faculty for 30 years and the associate dean for academic programs,” Smith says, “I have gained a good understanding of the initiatives we need to undertake to have the college poised for its next dean.”
One key goal this year, Smith says, is to continue to recruit top candidates for the school’s faculty. “We have a tradition since the 1950s of attracting faculty who do groundbreaking work in their areas,” she says. “They test new theories, push at the boundaries of their fields, and re-examine theories to influence practice.” Faculty members consider themselves agents of change who put theory into practice in real-world settings—schools, labs, or clinics—and allow practice to transform theory if needed, she says. “We need to continue to expose our students to these kinds of leaders. If we don’t have the best faculty, we won’t attract the best students.”
Smith says many of the school’s graduate programs rank in the top 20 nationally. “Another goal for the year is to do whatever we must to augment that reputation and spread it across greater numbers of program areas,” she says. “We’re proud to be one of the few private comprehensive schools of education in the nation. Our breadth of offerings is pretty rare within a private school of education today.”
Recruiting top-notch graduate students is another priority, she says. The school has much to offer: Reflecting SU’s mission as a student-centered research university, its students study in small classes and join faculty members in research, teaching, publishing papers, and presenting at conferences. SU education students also have many more field, laboratory, and clinical placements than their counterparts at other schools. “Our students are in the field from the beginning of their programs, anywhere from four to eight times before they even get to their culminating activity, whether that be an internship or student teaching,” Smith says. “By the time they graduate, they are skilled and comfortable in the profession and poised to be leaders.”
CENTER PROVIDES INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN DIGITAL SYSTEMS SECURITY
In the movie Sneakers, Robert Redford led a team of computer specialists who were hired to test security measures protecting digital information. In an example of real life following art, Syracuse University has its own “sneakers” using their collective intelligence for good through the University’s new Center for Systems Assurance (CSA). The center was created to provide an interdisciplinary research, development, and education program in systems security and assurance. CSA faculty are also developing a degree program in systems assurance that would be certified by the National Security Agency (NSA). “This is an exciting opportunity for SU,” says center director Steve Chapin, professor of electrical engineering and computer science. “There are only a handful of programs in the country like the CSA. We have a chance to really shine in this field and become a nationally recognized center.”
Under the auspices of the CSA, students and faculty will conduct research on computer programs designed to keep digital information safe from hackers and to quickly thwart attackers who manage to penetrate a system. As the Internet continues to expand, demand for better online security systems and for experts in the field will skyrocket. “People are increasingly transmitting information online that they want to keep private,” Chapin says. “There will be an increasing demand for professionals who know how to protect that information and know what to do if it is compromised.”
Chapin says SU’s faculty and students, along with the rich systems security research environment already in place in Central New York, will contribute to the CSA’s success. “We will work closely with the Air Force Research Lab in Rome [New York], which is one of the premier international facilities for information security,” he says.
In addition to Chapin, ECS faculty members Shiu-Kai Chin, Kamal Jabbour, Susan Older, and Steven Taylor are the CSA’s founders. The center plans to apply for interdisciplinary status, which will draw additional faculty from other SU schools and colleges. The center has received $1.1 million in sponsored research grants and hopes to have $1 million in annual funding by 2005.
According to Chapin, the CSA’s research programs will offer a productive environment for faculty and student interaction. Research areas will include the design of secure computer hardware, software, and protocols, and network management and intrusion detection systems.
The center’s graduate education programs will prepare students to design, develop, and deploy complex security systems. “One of the CSA’s real strengths is that students will learn both the theoretical concepts underlying security assurance and how to apply those concepts to construct assured systems,” Chapin says. “We have strong faculty in both theory and application, which will enable students to get a balanced view of the field.”
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