UniversityPlace

Steve Sartori
SU staff members Paul Buckley and Cynthia Fulford teach students
about diversity.

A new training program called Project CODE (Coalition on Diversity and Equity) helps students confront their own beliefs about racism and understand the complex issues of diversity. “The purpose of Project CODE is to examine the psychological impact of discrimination through the lens of racial identity,” says project co-creator Paul Buckley, associate director of academic development and college preparatory programs in the SU Center for Academic Achievement. “We want to teach students how to reject harmful stereotypes associated with ethnic groups.”

Project CODE is the result of a collaboration between Buckley and Cynthia Fulford, associate director of the Center for Career Services. Both are well-read on the topics of diversity, leadership, and individual development, and often discuss trying to heighten students’ awareness of how discrimination affects people. “Although diversity is one of SU’s core values, it is often evident that members of the SU community aren’t sure how to deal with it effectively,” Fulford says. “As educators, it’s our responsibility to empower students with the communication, leadership, and emotional skills needed to actively address diversity issues.”

Fulford and Buckley put their ideas on paper and won a Chancellor’s Feinstone Grant for Multicultural Initiatives that allowed them to move forward with Project CODE last spring. In the project’s first phase, they sent letters to deans, faculty, staff, and student groups soliciting nominations for 15 student participants. The response was overwhelming, despite the fact that students were asked to devote several hours a week to the project for no academic credit. “We must have hit a chord that resonated throughout the University community,” Fulford says. “Many students still ask us how to sign up for the next class.”

Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors from various ethnic backgrounds met with Fulford and Buckley for two-hour sessions on six Sunday afternoons last spring. The first session focused on activities designed to begin acknowledging and appreciating each other’s differences. Subsequent sessions involved talks on leadership and discussions on assigned readings from books on multiculturalism. “We explored the subtleties of racism and how to address them without verbally attacking another person,” Buckley says. “We want students to acquire proper communication skills so they’ll know how to respond to discriminatory situations appropriately. It’s all about separating issues from people.”

Students kept daily journals between sessions and shared their insights with the rest of the group at the next meeting. Fulford says this process was a real eye-opener for many students because it required them to do a lot of soul-searching that uncovered surprising revelations about their own beliefs. “Being given the opportunity to write freely about my thoughts and reactions to the reading assignments heightened my awareness of my own prejudicial thoughts,” says nursing student Rasheda Persinger ’02. “The classroom discussions allowed me to address these thoughts in a non-threatening, academic fashion. What separates Project CODE from similar programs is that we not only discussed race-related issues, but also formulated ways to combat the problem and implement solutions at SU.”

At the end of the Project CODE sessions, the students developed leadership projects designed to infuse campus culture with anti-prejudice behaviors. The projects, which were carried out last semester, included a newsletter highlighting multicultural accomplishments on campus; a cultural day for different ethnic groups; diversity poetry readings; a poster project promoting diversity on campus; and discussions on diversity in freshman forums. “These projects helped students learn how to formulate ideas, build alliances, and motivate others to become involved to get things done,” Buckley says.

Looking to the future, Fulford and Buckley hope Project CODE will become a signature program at SU. “It would be great if we could teach all students about diversity,” Fulford says. “We want them not only to understand and know how to deal with prejudice and discrimination, but ultimately how to eradicate it.”

—Christine Yackel

 


A r c h i t e c t u r e
Bench Mark

Most people consider a bench lifeless, static, and utilitarian. But to four third-year architecture students whose design won the school’s first sculpture competition last year, a bench embodies transformational qualities. “The theme was transformation, and the bench works well,” says Casey Boss, a fourth-year architecture student who initiated the contest. “It casts shadows, it’s used constantly, and it’s changed by the weather and the passing of each day.”

Michael Prattico, a member of the winning team, says the group didn’t come up with the idea of a bench until the final hours of the designing process. After receiving the assignment, he and classmates Eugine Beylkin, Winnie Moy, and John Lacy had 24 hours to design and draw it. “We had to decide fast and go with it,” he says. “We knew we wanted interaction with the sculpture. We didn’t want to just have someone walk by and admire it.”

Steve Sartori

The result of their collaboration is a unique wooden bench that was built outside the north entry of Slocum Hall. The seat protrudes near the bottom of a C-shaped side made of wooden slats that look similar to venetian blinds. The back of the sculpture mirrors the front, except it’s shorter and has vertical slats. Between the two sides, a funnel-like area captures leaves as they fall from nearby tree branches, recording the cycles of nature. “It interacts with nature,” Lacy says. “Wind blows through it, and light can filter through the boards, casting shadows on the ground that change with the sun’s position.” The bench will be in place for one year, then the next competition winner will erect a new sculpture.

The team’s effort impressed the judges—architecture professor Francisco Sanin, studio arts professor Mary Giehl, and Syracuse architect Paul Soper. “It was witty and well-conceived—an elegant solution,” Sanin says. Sanin was also impressed that the contest was student-initiated and attracted 30 participants from 10 different teams, representing all five grade levels of the school. “This enterprise shows that the students are engaged and want to expand their horizons,” Sanin says. “Teachers are happy to lend support to such student initiative.”

Boss created the competition to increase the visibility of architecture students on campus and to prepare them for the professional world. “Usually students build models and design sculptures on paper, but here they build an actual-sized project,” Boss says. Prattico looks forward to participating in another competition and will urge new students to get involved. “It’s a great way to learn architecture,” he says.

The winning team received a free dinner at a Marshall Street restaurant, but the real reward remains the process of creating the sculpture. “I’m proud of it,” Prattico says. “It’s the first time I’ve built anything full scale.” The bench has the qualities of what he considers good architecture: “It’s simple, but unique; it demonstrates the use of the structure,” he says. “Most importantly, it looks good.”

—Margaret Costello and Erin Corcoran

 

 

 

 

A r t s & S c i e n c e s

Courtesy of Monte Basgall/Duke University
Geoffrey Seltzer, right, and Paul Baker wind a winch aboard the RV Neecho on Lake Titicaca.

Sedimental Journey

Earth sciences professor Geoffrey Seltzer has traveled to Lake Titicaca on the 12,000-foot-high border of Bolivia and Peru annually for the past 12 years. You might say he goes there for the weather, or more accurately, the weather of 25,000, 50,000, and 100,000 years ago.

Seltzer is engaged in an ongoing project examining substances found in the lake’s sediment for the purpose of understanding the climate of past millennia. The National Science Foundation recently awarded the Syracuse geologist and his colleagues, Paul Baker of Duke and Sherilyn Fritz of the University of Nebraska, a major grant to continue this work. For the first time, the group had the opportunity to drill long, continuous cores in the bottom of the lake. “Lake Titicaca is like a weather station,” Seltzer says. “The sediments contain a record of past climate change, including evidence for the advance and the retreat of surrounding glaciers. Chemical and biological evidence of environmental change is also preserved in the lake’s sediment.”

Getting at that sediment, however, is no easy trick. Seltzer and his team pack their equipment in 12 shipping containers, each the size of a tractor-trailer, and then send it by ocean freighter to the Chilean port of Arica. Once unloaded, it is hauled by truck into the Andes Mountains to the altiplano (high plain) of landlocked Bolivia.

While most drilling operations involve boring through hard rock, the problem at Lake Titicaca is to get through the soft lakebed without disturbing the sediment core. To do this, a special hydraulic piston drill, built at the University of Utah, is used. The main drilling component contains a long plastic tube capable of bringing up three meters of sediment at a time. The process is repeated at increasing depths to obtain a sediment core that is sent to a storage facility at the University of Minnesota to await the team’s analysis.

Articles published in Science and Nature magazines by Seltzer and his collaborators offer evidence for dramatic changes in climate conditions in the equatorial zone and the Southern Hemisphere. The full bearing of this on global warming and other worldwide ecological issues is yet to be determined. However, there are clues to intriguing links between the tropics and the Northern Hemisphere that may lead to a fuller understanding of global change.

At the local level, the value of this research is evident to the governments of Bolivia and Peru, which surround the lake and have a common interest in its future as a source of fresh water. Both countries have been supportive of Seltzer’s research, with the Bolivian Navy offering logistical assistance.

“Our goal in the study of sediments from Lake Titicaca and elsewhere is to help us distinguish between natural periodic shifts in climate and the impact people have on the environment,” Seltzer says. “This type of research will provide perspective for the development of policies that concern climate and environmental change.”

—David Marc

 

E d u c a t i o n
Stronger Seniors

Before coming to Syracuse University, School of Education professor Lori Ploutz-Snyder worked on her dissertation at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, studying muscle disuse and the resulting muscle atrophy in astronauts. As director of the Department of Exercise Science’s musculoskeletal research laboratory, she wanted to continue her work and make it useful for a wider audience. “I found that the same principles of muscle atrophy that occurred rapidly in astronauts who had spent time in space were applicable to muscle atrophy in the elderly over a longer period of time,” Ploutz-Snyder says. “Not that many people fly in space, but everyone gets older.”

With a grant from the National Institute on Aging, Ploutz-Snyder, exercise science doctoral student Todd Manini, and Douglas Wolf, professor in the Maxwell School’s Center for Policy Research, completed a study that measured how much lower-body strength older people need to complete everyday tasks. The SU group set out to define goals of muscle building for elderly people applicable to such common activities as rising out of a chair, walking up stairs, and crossing a street. Manini visited local senior citizen centers and recruited 100 volunteers ranging in age from 50 to 92. He recorded their height, weight, and age, and gave them self-evaluation forms to rate how difficult they felt it was to rise from a chair, walk up stairs, and walk on a flat surface. The volunteers were tested on the three activities and given scores for how well they performed. After this, they were tested on a leg extension machine to see how much weight they could lift using their quadriceps (thigh muscles).

Test results—expressed in a strength-to-weight ratio—showed that to complete the tasks, the volunteers needed an amount of leg strength that was approximately equal to their body weight—or a ratio of 1:1. “The results turned out to be simple to understand and allowed us to provide a goal for elderly people who want to live independently,” Ploutz-Snyder says. “Basically, people who had a ratio of 1.5:1 or higher had little or no trouble with the activities, while anyone below a 1:1 struggled.”

While finding the strength-to-weight ratio necessary to complete the tasks was key to the research, Ploutz-Snyder believes the study’s self-evaluation portion was equally important. Wolf compiled the questions from surveys administered to help formulate national health policies. The SU team found that 75 percent of the time, the test results matched the self-report. In cases where they didn’t match, the volunteers almost always overestimated their ability.

Ploutz-Snyder says because the average age in America is increasing, physical fitness for the elderly will continue to be a hot topic. “Right now, most strategies are aimed at correcting disabilities once they’ve happened,” she says. “Our goal is to identify people struggling early on and help prevent them from getting really weak.”

—Jonathan Hay

 

 

E n g i n e e r i n g & C o m p u t e r S c i e n c e

Courtesy of NASA

Aerospace engineering students Alexis Larson and Felipe Sediles enjoy a moment of weightlessness.

One Wild Ride

While some students enjoy wild rides at amusement parks, a team of five students from the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) went on an adventure last summer that no roller coaster could match. The students spent 10 days in Houston as part of NASA’s Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program at the Johnson Space Center. While in Houston, four of the team members flew in the KC-135, a microgravity jet nicknamed the “Weightless Wonder” that flies in a parabolic flight path, creating 20 seconds of weightlessness on each dive. “The plane pitches and you go to two G’s heading up, and then it comes over the top and descends,” says team member Reid Thomas ’02, an aerospace engineering major. “As soon as it begins heading down, you lift off the floor. The first time it happens you’re thinking, ‘Holy cow!’”

The ECS team was one of 29 chosen from a nationwide pool of college and university applicants who submitted proposals for microgravity experiments. SU’s experiment was to analyze the microstructure of the metal gallium when solidified in a microgravity environment. During the zero-gravity parts of the flight, the SU students cooled liquefied gallium to see if the lack of gravity changed the metal’s microstructural properties. The students are now examining the metal samples under an electron microscope at SU and will report their findings to NASA. Thomas was joined on the team by aerospace engineering majors Alexis Larson ’03, Matt McCarthy ’02, and Felipe Sediles ’02, the team leader, and mechanical engineering major Pepe Palafox ’02.

Before taking the flight, the team had eight days of preparation that included physiological training, lectures, seminars, and a Test Readiness Review (TRR). During the TRR, the team was questioned by an eight-person NASA committee of flight and safety personnel, who examined an outline of the experiment to ensure that it was safe to fly on the KC-135. The physiological training featured a trip to an altitude chamber, where for five minutes each participant breathed the amount of oxygen that would be available in a 25,000-foot-high environment while working on a written test containing simple math problems and puzzles. The oxygen deprivation caused some interesting reactions from the team. “My whole body tingled, and Alexis burst into laughter,” says Sediles, who had been an intern at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. “People from NASA asked us questions that I thought I answered right away, but when we watched a video of it afterward, there was a long pause.”

Team OranGe joined four other schools on their flights. Two students from each team flew on assigned days. McCarthy and Thomas flew one day, while Larson and Sediles went the next. Each flight was scheduled to complete 32 parabolas, and out of those 32, each SU team needed to perform the experiment 14 times. The experiment succeeded in solidifying 10 out of 28 gallium samples in the microgravity environment. “The first time we went weightless, I got so disoriented,” Larson says. “We used the first few parabolas to adjust to the new environment. After the floating part, the flight directors shouted through the cabin ‘feet down,’ so that when gravity came back you would be sure to land on your feet in a safe place.”

Sediles, who would one day like to be an astronaut, says the experience was phenomenal. “We got a chance to meet astronauts, tour the Johnson Space Center, do the flight, and conduct our experiment,” he says. “It was an amazing opportunity that we all appreciated.”

—Jonathan Hay

 

Human Services & Health Professions
Community Education on Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is killing African American men at an alarming rate. Knowing that early detection is the key to survival, Assistant Dean of Nursing Luvenia Cowart and former oncology nurse Betty Brown launched a get-out-the-word campaign to provide African Americans with life-saving information about this deadly disease.

With support from the New York State Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health and the National Kidney Foundation, the pair formed the Prostate Cancer Education Council of Central New York, an advisory group composed of survivors, government officials, and representatives from the medical and university communities. Together they developed a “blueprint for action” to address the need to educate African American men and their families about prostate cancer and promote preventive behavior. “We discovered a lack of knowledge across the board,” Cowart says. “To succeed, we knew we had to overcome cultural barriers, such as African American men’s general distrust of the health care system. We were looking for a ‘teachable moment.’”

Council members suggested that the best place to talk with African American men was at their local barbershops on a Saturday afternoon. This insight ignited the idea for the Prostate Cancer Project, in which Cowart, Brown, and various council members visit Central New York barbershops armed with prostate cancer brochures and informational videos. There they find an audience unaware that African American men have the highest prostate cancer rates in the country and are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to die from the disease. “No one really knows why prostate cancer rates are so high among African American men,” Brown says. “It may have to do with a high-fat, low-fiber diet, or heredity.”

Through the barbershop campaign, men learn to take responsibility for their own health. Because prostate cancer has no symptoms in the early stages, they are urged to get an annual prostate-specific antigen test in combination with a digital rectal exam. “We talk to them about the warning signs, answer their questions, and refer them to local physicians or health care centers,” Brown says. “We’re also educating the medical community about the need to be more sensitive to cultural differences, or ‘culturally competent,’ as far as African American health issues are concerned.”

With support from an SU Vision Fund grant, two nursing students worked with Cowart to develop a prostate cancer brochure specifically targeting African American men. Through a partnership with the University’s Soling Program and the New York State Colorectal Cancer Screening and Prostate Cancer Education Program, students created a prostate cancer video to educate African Americans about warning signs, risk factors, screening processes, and treatment options. A local group, known as Brother to Brother, was also formed to offer emotional support for African American men suffering from prostate cancer. “Despite a higher-than-average risk for acquiring this disease, African American men have few culturally sensitive informational materials or support systems available to them,” Cowart says. “It’s gratifying to know we’re providing a needed service.”

Several new prostate cancer initiatives are planned to expand early detection programs and address the need for cultural competency. A comic book, to be illustrated by nationally syndicated cartoonist Robb Armstrong ’85, will be used to teach young African American males about cancer prevention. Plans are also under way to develop the Cultural Competence Center, which will function as an information clearinghouse and consulting service to help faculty members integrate the cultural competence perspective across the curriculum. “With financial support, the center will also advance research on a variety of African American health concerns, including HIV, lung cancer, and diabetes,” Brown says. “This is just the beginning—there’s still much work to be done.”

—Christine Yackel

 

In f o r m a t i o n    S t u d i e s

Testing Technology

While telecommunications companies compete for access to the bandwidth needed to accommodate the explosion of wireless communications technologies entering the marketplace, consumers sort through conflicting information about how to incorporate these technologies into their daily lives. The new Center for Emerging Network Technologies (CENT) in the School of Information Studies is designed to answer questions about new technologies, as well as to provide faculty and students with opportunities to research, analyze, and test technologies that are expected to play a significant role in organizations.

Under the direction of faculty members David Molta and Junseok Hwang, the center established laboratory facilities for use by Network Computing (NC) magazine and other industry partners and sponsors to test and analyze new products. The center also features an experiential learning laboratory for students that opened in the fall. NC, a publication of CMP Media of Manhasset, New York, established a real-world testing facility at SU in 1993 to evaluate network hardware and software. The partnership enabled SU faculty, staff, and students to do evaluation work with NC editors. Molta, who has held both IT management and faculty positions at SU, has also worked in several capacities at NC, most recently as editor-in-chief. The partnership with the magazine will continue under the auspices of CENT. In addition, the center plans to partner with other organizations to provide similar, independent testing and analysis services. “During the past several years, we’ve tested thousands of products from hundreds of vendors and have developed the tools and techniques needed to do this in a systematic manner,” Molta says. “We’re trying to leverage that experience by providing our expertise and opening our testing facilities to a variety of partners.”

CENT worked with School of Information Studies faculty to incorporate the experiential learning laboratory into course curricula to provide students with opportunities to gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art networking equipment. “The learning lab provides an environment for students to practice the implementation, use, and management of today’s key networking technologies,” Hwang says. “We want our students to be strong in both theory and practice.”

—Judy Holmes

 

L a w
Eye on the Sky

For the past two years, a group of SU law students has teamed with officials from Hancock International Airport and the Metropolitan Development Association (MDA) to solve a problem that is vexing all of Central New York: poor air service and sky-high airfares. The partnership offers students practical experience outside the classroom and provides community leaders with valuable research and recommendations. “The students address real problems that have no immediate answers,” says Professor Christian C. Day, director of the Center for Law and Business Enterprise in the College of Law. “They build on ideas that business and government officials haven’t had time to work on.”

So far, the nine students involved in the project have submitted four detailed reports to community leaders on such issues as defining what local companies want in air service, creating a ticket voucher system to give discounts to frequent business travelers, and subsidizing smaller airlines to promote competitive prices in airfares. For example, the students suggested that the Central New York community help fund an ad campaign for Jet Blue that would promote the airline’s frequent flights to New York City and drum up more customers for the small start-up company. The new airline began offering round-trip flights from Syracuse to JFK International Airport last year for less than $100, forcing major airlines to reduce their prices to remain competitive. This spring, Day says, the students may research what effect privatizing the airport would have on competition and ticket prices. The students may also examine the impact of the September 11 attacks on airport service at Hancock, and what effects the expansion of the Carousel Center shopping mall would have on the local travel industry, Day says.

“This type of partnership is very beneficial,” says Tom Blanchard, assistant to the executive vice president of the MDA. “The students come up with fresh ideas and fresh thinking. They also research similar problems in other places and keep us apprised of what else is possible.” Although none of the students’ suggestions have been implemented yet, community leaders use the students’ evaluations as a valuable barometer. “They certainly help us in terms of perspective,” says Charles R. Everett Jr., commissioner of aviation at Hancock. “They recommended economic incentives that we’ve been looking at, and some of their suggestions are similar to reforms being debated in Washington.”

—Margaret Costello

 

M a x w e l l
Sizing Up Government to Improve Standards

Despite much fanfare from academics and others about government performance measures, too few local governments use these tools, according to the authors of Does Your Government Measure Up? Basic Tools for Local Officials and Citizens, published by the Maxwell Community Benchmarks Program (CBP) at SU. In the book, Maxwell School public affairs professor William D. Coplin and CBP director Carol Dwyer provide readers with a list of standards for various local government departments, along with a primer on the use of benchmarks as the cornerstone of continuous improvement. “One of the more difficult problems is the lack of cooperation between municipalities to develop standardized methods of data collection,” Dwyer says. “This would go a long way toward achieving success when embracing the values of continuous improvement.”

The 2000 presidential election, for instance, exposed a lack of standardized voting procedures in Florida and throughout the country. According to the authors, this is just one way in which local governments fail to establish clear performance standards and provide adequate resources for the collection of information necessary to assess these standards. “Businesses know they must pay attention to their customer base,” Coplin says. “But local elected leaders frequently dismiss suggestions to implement citizen surveys with the justification that the only survey they need occurs at election time.” What they fail to take into consideration, he says, is that in many small communities there is often little or no political opposition, which removes the incentive for government to improve.

In an attempt to change these attitudes, Coplin and Dwyer present a brief, easy-to-use guide that provides the essential tools that every government—no matter how small and strapped for cash—can use to improve services. Presented in straightforward language, the book introduces the bare essentials for good government in the areas of finance, public works, parks and recreation, police, assessment, building codes, emergency medical services, personnel, and web site development. The book also includes more than 250 guidelines that go beyond the bare essentials, simple illustrations of how to use benchmarking to make decisions, and user-ready surveys to obtain citizen feedback. (For more information visit the CBP web site at maxwell.syr.edu/benchmarks.)

The book was written at the conclusion of a four-year project establishing the CBP, with funding provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and through extensive consultation with a variety of local government agencies and professional associations. “Municipal officials taking small steps, such as introducing one strategy at a time, will realize the greatest success in implementing the models recommended in the book,” Dwyer says. “Including staff input in the changes and making modifications that will conform to the capabilities and needs of each government are important in establishing methods to determine if the government is measuring up.”

—Cynthia Moritz

 

M a n a g e m e n t
Lubin School of Accountancy Established

The late Manhattan accountant Joseph I. Lubin gave generously of his time, expertise, and money to Syracuse University. In recognition of his generosity, the University has honored him in the past by naming its New York City headquarters, Lubin House, for him. But his daughter and son-in-law, Ann ’48 and Alfred Goldstein H’85, wanted to make sure he would also be remembered on campus. In his memory, they recently gave $5 million to the School of Management to establish the Joseph I. Lubin School of Accountancy. “There is nothing now on campus that recognizes all that he did for Syracuse,” says Alfred Goldstein, a former member of the SU Board of Trustees who was elected to honorary status in 1998. “We wanted to make sure his devotion to the University wouldn’t be forgotten.”

Lubin, who headed the accounting firm of Eisner & Lubin, was a graduate of Pace College and New York University School of Law. He was a member of SU’s Board of Trustees and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University in 1952. In 1964, he gave SU the six-story building on East 61st Street in New York City that became Lubin House. In 1956, he helped the University establish Lubin Hall, a former fraternity house that was renovated and became home to the School of Business Administration’s departments of finance, law and public policy, marketing management, and transportation. The building was demolished in 1987.

Through the years, the Goldstein family has continued Lubin’s tradition of supporting SU. The University has named in their honor the Ann and Alfred Goldstein Auditorium in the Schine Student Center, the Ann and Alfred Goldstein Student Center on South Campus, and the Goldstein Alumni and Faculty Center. Their three children, Wendy (Cohen), Steven, and Richard, all graduated from SU, and Wendy is a trustee.

In addition to establishing the Lubin School of Accountancy, the Goldsteins’ gift will fund the Joseph I. Lubin Presidential Chair in Accounting, the Joseph I. Lubin Faculty Fellowships in Accounting, the Joseph I. Lubin Floor in the School of Management’s new building, and the Joseph I. Lubin Endowed Fund for Accounting. “I’m excited about this gift,” says John D. Sellars, senior vice president for institutional advancement. “Being a CPA myself, I realize the importance of accounting to the business community.”

The School of Management will seek a prominent accounting educator to fill the Lubin Presidential Chair by the time its new building is completed in 2004. The Lubin Faculty Fellowships will be used to recruit high-quality junior faculty, while the endowed fund will be used to enhance the School of Accountancy in such ways as granting summer faculty stipends and student awards, and hosting conferences and guest speakers. “We thank Al and Ann Goldstein for their generosity and their confidence in the School of Management and the accounting department,” says George R. Burman, dean of the School of Management. “Strengthening any piece of the School of Management strengthens the whole school and will benefit our students.”

Alfred Goldstein, who is a member of SU’s Chancellor’s Council, says they anticipate the gift will help the School of Accountancy build its reputation and also contribute to the School of Management’s reputation. “Both the School of Accountancy and the School of Management will increase in viability and visibility,” Goldstein says.

Professor Gerald J. Lobo, chair of the accounting department, says the gift will accelerate their progress toward becoming a leading student-centered accounting school. “It will allow us to attract and retain faculty who are nationally recognized for their outstanding scholarship, to enhance the quality of our programs, and to make our graduates even more marketable,” Lobo says. “In short, it will move us to a higher level.”

 

—Cynthia Moritz

 

N e w h o u s e
Surveying an Untapped Market

The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications is giving an often overlooked group of consumers and constituents a voice through the 2001 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census. According to initial results, the survey’s 5,869 respondents earn more money and vote more regularly than the national average. “The overall percentage of people who voted in the 1996 election was 49 percent, but for the gay and lesbian community it was almost 80 percent,” says Newhouse professor Amy Falkner, head of the research team. “If you think about what that means for politicians who will have to decide whether to seek the gay and lesbian vote, that’s a pretty powerful number.”

The online survey, which took each respondent at least a half hour to complete, is the first large-scale research of its kind to focus on the spending habits of the gay and lesbian community. It was a result of the combined efforts of the Newhouse School the OpusComm Group, a gay-owned advertising and public relations agency; and GSociety Inc., a media and entertainment company that operates GayWired.com

Considering that estimates of the homosexual population range between 6 and 10 percent of the total population, the findings will be of significant interest to advertisers who target their marketing campaigns to specific sectors of the community, based on such characteristics as age, gender, and race, Falkner says. She adds that many of the available statistics about gays and lesbians are a decade old, and the findings are often contradictory. The researchers plan to market the new data to mainstream advertising firms to help them better understand this sizable audience, and to encourage them to create commercials and advertisements that appeal to gays and lesbians. More than 80 percent of the survey’s respondents agreed they were more likely to buy products or services from companies that employed gay-friendly advertisements.

The researchers gathered data about the gay and lesbian community’s buying preferences in such categories as cars, clothing, and travel destinations to help advertisers focus their campaigns. But advertisers and marketers aren’t the only ones who will find the survey results useful, Falkner says. In addition to asking consumer-oriented questions, the online survey collected demographic information. Data concerning family structure, the length of personal relationships, and political and religious affiliations will interest social scientists, Falkner says. The survey results indicate that while only 3 percent of respondents had formal civil or religious union ceremonies, almost half considered themselves in long-term partnerships. Roughly 13 percent of the respondents had children under age 18 in their households, with nearly three-quarters of those headed by lesbian parents.

Conducting the census online helped overcome some of the confidentiality issues inherent in doing a survey of the homosexual community, Falkner says. “People have all kinds of different stereotypes for gays and lesbians,” she says. “I think some of the findings will surprise people. The survey will provide fodder for social and political discussions that people are having about gay and lesbian issues right now.”

—Nicci Brown and Margaret Costello

 

 

U n i v e r s i t y C o l l e g e

Courtesy of University College

Studies for Today’s Workplace

University College (UC) student Terri Bohannon developed many leadership skills while caring for her family. She planned meals, coordinated schedules, mediated conflicts, and supervised the day-to-day operations of a four-member household. Now her children are grown and she’s on her own, ready to use her domestic management experience in a professional setting. To begin the transition, she enrolled in UC’s Organizational Leadership (OL) Program to earn a Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) degree, a new curriculum aimed at training employees for today’s workplace. “The program appeals to me,” she says, “because it’s allowing me to develop new skills that will help my career.”

Like Bohannon, other members of the inaugural class of the BPS program either seek to advance their careers or start new ones by acquiring more technical and specialized professional skills. UC student Susan Draper, for instance, wants to build on her human resources experience by studying in the OL program. “I have good experience,” she says. “But I need the degree to go forward.”

The multidisciplinary BPS degree targets non-traditional students like Bohannon and Draper who come from the working world or have strengths from other life experiences. This year’s class is composed entirely of adult part-time students majoring in one of four specialty areas: Applied Computer Technology (ACT), Legal Studies, Organizational Leadership, or Professional Communication. This year’s BPS program admitted 50 students, who range in age from 22 to 71, with an average age of 37. “The BPS degree responds to the changing workplace, which requires a combination of skills that can be transferred to many different careers,” says Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw.

The BPS degree can be completed through evening, daytime, and distance education (online and limited residency) courses. The curriculum draws from undergraduate courses throughout the University and features a liberal arts foundation and a professional competencies core that complement the areas of specialized study. Academic co-directors Norma J. Burgess of the College of Human Services and Health Professions and Arthur D. Jensen of the College of Visual and Performing Arts oversee academic standards with the support of an interdisciplinary faculty committee.

The program even attracts people who have been out of an academic setting for decades. ACT major Bruce Barry, who has held a variety of jobs since graduating from high school in 1976, says the program has given him a professional focus. “Even though,” he jokes, “I may have more working years behind me than ahead of me.”

—Linda G. Kristensen

 

Visual & Performing Arts

Susan Kahn

“Toast” team members gather in Smith Hall at an exhibition celebrating their IDSA national presentation.

Let Them Eat Toast

When students in the interdisciplinary VPA course Experiential Design were asked to consider “time as the currency of the new millennium” and to create a project for the theme “Design Your Life,” an idea popped into their heads: Toast. “When you’re late for work or school and put bread in the toaster it seems to take forever to toast,” says Kendra Harrington ’02. “If you’re talking on the phone or doing something else, it goes by fast and even burns.”

With toast as both their inspiration and chosen unit of time, the 17 students produced a multimedia presentation for the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) annual conference in Boston. “The class was a testament to the power of creative thinking coupled with team dynamics,” says industrial design professor Donald Carr. “Their presentation represented an enormous opportunity. It was unprecedented for a student group to be asked to address an IDSA national conference.”

Carr and communications design professor William Padgett launched Experiential Design to bring students from their disciplines and advertising together to explore the origin of ideas, the interdisciplinary nature of design work, and the concept of teamwork.“I’ve never experienced a level of enthusiasm and energy this high before in a course,” Padgett says. “The students brought different perspectives, and every idea, no matter how off the wall, was great.”

The course received funding from alumnus Gianfranco Zaccai ’70, who proposed to Carr the idea of developing a multidisciplinary course for designers. Zaccai, the president and CEO of Design Continuum, an internationally renowned design firm, also invited the students to participate in the IDSA conference and funded their trip to Boston. “He wanted to show people what our students can do,” Padgett says.

Before immersing themselves in their Toast presentation, the students warmed up with other projects. One, for instance, involved coming up with ideas that would make people feel positive about the Syracuse weather (one proposed solution was to hold a lottery on every cloudy day). The course also featured guest speakers from various disciplines, including philosophy professor Laurence Thomas, political science professor Kristi Andersen, speech communication professor Amos Kiewe, and Syracuse Stage director Robert Moss. They shared their thoughts about changing behavior, influencing people, and developing ideas. “The timing was always right,” says Ross Exley ’02. “Whatever project we were working on—the person who could help us out the most was there.”

The students also held a videoconference with members of Design Continuum, including alumni Chris Hosmer ’00 and Heather Reavey ’99, to explain their toast project and get feedback. After the class ended, the students split into teams and turned their presentation concept into a reality for the IDSA conference. The 15-minute presentation featured a split-screen view of a day in the life of a man and a woman as they each went through their routines. It was fast paced and had a driving rhythm. “We wanted to give a sense of anxiety to the whole thing—as if it’s too much,” Ryan Bednar ’02 says. “At the end, everything calmed down and we had toast pop out of a toaster placed on a lectern with a spotlight on it.” The students also created T-shirts and poster boards and handed out toast at the conference to reinforce their message: “We design people’s concept of time. By designing toasters, we design toast. Toast is time. Time is life. Design your life.”

The presentation was such a success, Padgett says, that the students were asked to produce a closing video for the conference. They did, and it went off without a hitch. “I thought I had lots of experience with teamwork until I took this class,” Exley says. “This set a new standard in teamwork. It taught me a lot about sacrificing and how to collaborate on ideas with talented people. It was a grand opportunity.”

—Jay Cox

 
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