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Courtesy of DIPA
 
Diversity Digest highlights the numerous campus initiatives that support the University’s core value of diversity.

 

Diversity on the Hill


It’s been a longstanding goal of Senior Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Barry L. Wells to provide the campus community with a snapshot of the multitude of programs at Syracuse that support the University’s core value of diversity. That goal was realized with the development and publication of Diversity Digest, a collaboration of the divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. The publication is one of the initiatives developed to ensure that the campus community is aware of the efforts under way to make SU an inclusive institution. “The purpose of Diversity Digest is to share information about the many activities that support diversity on campus and to stimulate further discussion and education on this important issue,” Wells says. “It addresses a matter of great urgency: our responsibility to make certain this is a diverse institution that encourages appreciation of differences to maintain both unity and civility.”

Working closely with Vice President for Undergraduate Studies Ronald R. Cavanagh, Wells convened a committee of University administrators in June 2002 to develop a publication and web site on diversity initiatives at SU. The team was led by James K. Duah-Agyeman G’99, director of student support and diversity education/multicultural affairs. Wells says the publication educates students, faculty, and staff of all that SU does to support its core value of diversity. “It also serves as an educational resource to new members of the Syracuse University community to help them learn more about these initiatives,” he says. The first issue was distributed across campus last spring and is available online at diversity.syr.edu. It highlights programs and activities that support racial and ethnic diversity on campus, such as pre-college programs and awards, scholarship support, and campus organizations dedicated to enhancing the experiences of students of color. The second issue, to be published this spring, focuses on internationalization at SU. Future issues will address other relevant areas, including gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, and disability.

Wells says response to the publication has been very positive. “I heard from a number of people who were impressed with the wide array of programs and events and the number of students who are served by the various programs at SU,” he says. The publication was also shared with higher education professionals across the country, in the hope that it might serve as a model. “Our colleagues at other universities and colleges say this is one of the best compilations they’ve seen,” he says.

Wells believes the publication can serve as a benchmark for diversity initiatives at SU. “It’s very hard to figure out what needs to be done next if you don’t know what you’re doing now,” he says. “As we talk about diversity as an institutional priority and think about how to improve the learning climate on campus, it is important to do that from an informed basis. I hope Diversity Digest helps facilitate discourse on this campus when it comes to issues related to diversity.”

—Amy Speach Shires


Visual & Performing Arts

Steve Sartori

This is one of several models created by communications design students to help visualize an exhibition planned for the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse.

Cosmic Design
Even amid the surge of interdisciplinary activity across campus, communications design majors in the School of Art and Design may have earned the right to say, “It just doesn’t get any more interdisciplinary than this.” As evidence, consider that a group of communications design students could be found attending physics lectures during the evening.

The path across the Hill connecting art to science begins in Professor Iris Magidson’s Design Project Management course, a requirement for communications design majors during junior year. “It’s a project-based class,” says Magidson ’64. “Students work in teams on one large, complex design project for the entire semester, with sophomores acting as their assistants. We strive to create a realistic client-designer situation. The content of the project could be anything, just as in the profession.”

In spring 2002, the class worked with the Thornden Park Neighborhood Association to create designs for a nature center proposed for the park’s carriage house. An exhibition of the designs caught the eye of physics professor Carl Rosenzweig, who recruited Magidson and her class to help design Cosmic Connections, an exhibition he proposed to the National Science Foundation (NSF). Magidson created a syllabus based on the design problems posed by the exhibition, including how to make it interesting to junior high students, the primary intended audience. The NSF subsequently funded the project, which will be displayed at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse.

To prepare for the task, the students took a crash course in physics—attending special evening sessions conducted by Rosenzweig and his colleagues, including Mark Trodden, co-director of the NSF project. Allison Dahl ’04, who admits to doing “absolutely terrible” in high school physics, was among the students in Magidson’s class. “I think our relative lack of knowledge about physics made us better designers,” she says. “We could look at problems from the point of view of the audience, while the physics professors were so knowledgeable they sometimes communicated in ways that cannot be grasped by the average person. We took the information they wanted in the exhibition and communicated it in interesting ways.”

Rosenzweig says the benefits of the collaboration were mutual. “The students were enthusiastic, and we were challenged by their different perspectives in designing the exhibition,” he says. Magidson was pleased as well. “We posed real problems, and the students responded with real solutions,” she says. “I hope other faculty members will contact me when they face communications design problems.”

—David Marc

Maxwell

Rethinking Europe
The new Center for European Studies (CES), housed in the Global Affairs Institute at the Maxwell School, will coordinate campus-wide courses and activities relating to an ever-changing Europe. “Our goal is to deepen and broaden the scope of European studies,” says political science professor Mitchell Orenstein, CES director. “We typically think only about Western Europe, but the old Europe doesn’t exist anymore. We want to change the way we talk about Europe.”

The center, funded by a three-year, $1.6 million shared grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to SU and Cornell University, began hosting lectures by ambassadors and visiting professors last fall. The center expects to launch an outreach initiative through local resettlement programs for Central and Eastern European immigrants, and will organize a program to educate teachers in local school districts about European studies.

In addition, the center offered Polish and Turkish language courses last semester through the College of Arts and Sciences. “I would love it if our students were proficient in another language by the time they graduate,” says Krisan Evenson, CES assistant director. “You can’t truly learn European studies to the best of your abilities without knowing a second language.” To encourage intensive study of another language, the CES offers students Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships, administered by the DOE. The fellows design projects that focus on language study and developing regional expertise.

This semester, CES directors began distributing a list of courses with a European component so students can see how expansive the subject is. Plans are also under way to create an undergraduate major in European studies. The CES complements SU’s European Union Center, which is funded by a grant from the European Commission. “Our resources put SU in a unique position,” Orenstein says. “The training and research the CES provides will increase the University’s profile on a national level.”

—Lauren Morth

Education

NYC Connection

One rewarding aspect of being an education professional is the reciprocal relationship that often develops between teacher and student. David Shaw G’03 realized this as a student teacher in a New York City high school last semester. “It was a unique learning experience to have people in my classroom from all over the world,” Shaw says. “During a classroom discussion about culture, some students taught me how to cook polenta and showed me a dance from the Dominican Republic. The diversity is something special, and it was amazing to see it working in a classroom setting.”

Shaw was one of six School of Education students who taught in New York City last fall as part of A Bridge to the City, a new partnership established by Gerald M. Mager, a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence. The program provides SU teacher candidates with a guided student-teaching experience in a challenging urban environment, while connecting New York City schools to the School of Education’s faculty, resources, and graduates. “One of the benefits of educating teachers is seeing the practices we recommend instituted by our graduates in the many different school districts where they take positions,” Mager says. “The ideas central to our work here are shared at many venues throughout the country. One of those venues ought to be New York City.”

The New York City schools have been very welcoming, Mager says. “They value this connection with SU because of our solid reputation in teacher education.” Student response has been equally enthusiastic. “Our students are glowing about what they’ve seen,” says Mager, who has high hopes for the program’s long-term success and continued development.

School of Education Dean Louise Wilkinson believes the program provides excellent opportunities for the students. “They are learning about effective teaching and individualized learning in one of the most dynamic and challenging school systems in the world,” she says. “Through these experiences, guided by our own faculty as well as the staff of the New York City schools, SU students build their knowledge base and develop their own capacities to serve as effective teachers.”

—Amy Speach Shires


Newhouse
Alexander Koromilas

Lee Lyons, left, Sky Printup, and Charlie Huff, all high school students from the Onondaga Nation, shoot a movie as part of the Young Onondaga Filmmakers Project at Newhouse.

Cultivating Native Filmmakers

“Places everyone! And action!” Outside the Newhouse School, a lonely robot staggers in the chilly winds of autumn, stopping to peek through a window. Inside, two slices of bread pop up from a toaster, and the robot waves its arms in joy. This simple, creative story was one of the works of 16 high school students from the Onondaga Nation who participated in the Young Onondaga Filmmakers Project at Newhouse. “We wanted to introduce these high school students to the filmmaking process, from script to screen, and at the same time create opportunities for interaction between the local Onondaga Nation youths and Syracuse faculty and students,” says David Coryell, an adjunct professor who initiated the project. “American film has many voices, and there are lots of cultural groups and groups from geographical regions that make films to talk about their place, their culture, and their people. Yet, there haven’t been many films that depict Native culture or that were written, produced, or directed by Indians.”

Last fall, Newhouse undergraduates and television-radio-film professors Coryell, Peter Moller ’65, Richard Breyer, Larry Elin ’73, and Andrea Asimow taught students how to tell stories, create dramatic tension, translate the stories into screenplays, and finally shoot the films and perform roles. Marcia Lyons, a 10th-grader who directed a film, says the project was as much fun as it was educational. “The filmmaking process interests me,” she says. “I’ve learned a great deal about how to direct and use cameras.”

The project was a rewarding experience for Newhouse faculty and students as well. “The Onondaga students showed incredible imagination and a willingness to learn new skills,” Moller says. “Storytelling is how we transmit and preserve the deepest values of our culture, and the project opened up communication and sharing of cultures between the Onondaga Nation community and Syracuse University.” Newhouse student Carl Finer ’04 says, “It’s easy to get wrapped up in things when I’m in a class myself. It was great just to take a step back and watch how they all worked.”

Coryell says the project received generous institutional and financial support from Pamela Kirwin Heintz ’91, director of the University’s Center for Public and Community Service, and Newhouse Dean David M. Rubin. Having received positive feedback, Coryell feels motivated to organize a more advanced program. “We are treating this first project as a pilot program, and because of its success, we hope to continue working on the films they’ve already shot or get into something slightly more ambitious and more sophisticated,” he says. “Our intention is to give the Onondaga students a sense of their own filmmaking potential.”

—Wanfeng Zhou

Arts & Sciences

Steve Sartori

Tina Soumahoro, a participant in SU’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program, does research on a chemistry-related project.

Research Challenge
Stephen Okaine ’05 had already spent 10 weeks studying proteins and purifying DNA samples before walking into his first biochemistry class last fall. “I had a jump-start on the semester,” says Okaine, a participant in the Syracuse University Research Experience for Undergraduates program (REU). “Learning how to use the lab equipment and conduct a scientific study in the REU program gave me a much deeper understanding of the material.”

Syracuse is one of 60 institutions across the country to offer the 10-week, research-intensive REU program. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation with a three-year grant totaling close to $190,000, as well as an additional $50,000 annual commitment from SU, the program is designed for undergraduates with serious and demonstrated skills in chemistry. “Many students are uncertain about what to do after college,” says chemistry professor Michael Sponsler, program co-director. “The REU program exposes them to career choices and offers a chance to conduct graduate-level research and to help them make that decision.”

Admission is competitive, and participants are accepted based on merit, a personal essay, and recommendations. They receive a $3,200 summer scholarship, travel and conference reimbursement, and University housing. Under the guidance of a faculty advisor and graduate students, the students formulate research projects within such fields as inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, biochemistry, solid state science, and organic chemistry. “It’s very rewarding,” says chemistry professor Karin Ruhlandt-Senge, who wrote the original NSF funding proposals and directed the program for three years before teaming up with Sponsler this year. “These students are committed to challenging themselves through chemistry research.”

The REU program continues to attract scholars from across the nation and the globe. While some participants are SU students, others travel from as far away as Russia and Turkey. “Many come from small colleges where they may not have access to lab facilities like ours or one-on-one training,” Ruhlandt-Senge says. The valuable research experience isn’t the only benefit. “The program fosters an incredible sense of friendship, companionship, and togetherness among these talented students,” she says. “The energy and motivation they bring to the department are amazing. It makes the summers truly exciting.”

—Kate Gaetano

Architecture

No Place Like Home
“Follow the yellow brick road!” is a familiar phrase in the village of Chittenango, New York, which draws thousands of people each June for OzFest, an annual celebration that pays tribute to Chittenango native L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz. But as students in the School of Architecture’s Community Design Center (CDC) class discovered last fall, the town’s “yellow brick road” (a painted brick sidewalk) is only part of Chittenango’s appeal. Throughout the semester, the students designed plans to revitalize the town and enhance its most attractive assets. “The buzz in the community over the project has been unbelievable,” village mayor Bob Freunscht says. “Everyone is thrilled with their work.” As a result of the collaboration, New York State awarded the village a $600,000 grant to enact some of the plans.

After studying Chittenango’s zoning laws, parks, vegetation, and history, students designed ways to unify the town by linking its outlying areas with downtown, using sidewalks, street signs, bike paths, and walking trails. “Chittenango residents want something they can show off that says, ‘We take care of our town and our community,’” says Laura Steele ’06, who plotted the downtown placement of trees, lampposts, and benches.

According to CDC director and architecture professor Liz Kamell, communication was an integral part of the project. “It taught the students about understanding their work in the context of a social and political environment and about building mutual respect,” she says. Throughout the semester, students met with Freunscht, the Chittenango planning board and village departments, community residents, business owners, and representatives of the Erie Canal Museum and the L. Frank Baum-Oz Museum to assess their needs and take suggestions. “Most people are not concerned with the concepts behind a building,” says Adam Sheraden ’06. “They want to know where they can park, how much it will cost, and how easily they can keep the roads clear of snow.”

In December, CDC students concluded the project by attending a public hearing in Chittenango, during which they presented their designs and suggested how to allocate the village’s grant money. Mayor Freunscht hopes to begin putting some of the plans, like the bike and walking trails, into effect during 2004. “I’ve lived in this community my entire life,” he says. “Sometimes something can be right in front of my eyes, and I don’t see it because I’m here so much. The students brought a totally different perspective. They’ve accomplished so much, and they’ve done a phenomenal job.”

—Kate Gaetano

 

 

 

Law

Environmental Economics
Many of our nation’s environmental policies are currently based on the notion that a dollar value can be assigned to human life. “That idea is insane,” says law professor David Driesen, who organized the Economic Dynamics of Environmental Law and Static Efficiency Conference last fall to question current environmental policies. “I wanted to challenge the role of cost-benefit analysis in environmental decisions.” Cost-benefit analysis weighs the costs of a reform against the benefits of that change. “Environmental benefits are not quantifiable, and the costs are unstable,” he says. “Once you write the regulation, the costs drop because there’s a market created and people compete to find the cheapest way of complying.”

Driesen argued his points to other conference participants, including top legal scholars, scientists, engineers, economists, political scientists, students, and some environmental activists from the Syracuse community. “We had some really good discussions because everybody had different perspectives, often reflecting their particular training,” Driesen says. The conference, sponsored by the College of Law and the New York State Center of Excellence in Environmental Systems, provided a forum for interdisciplinary dialogue on issues that are particularly timely and relevant.

The quality and depth of discussions at the conference impressed College of Law student Jeff Philp ’99, G’04. “As a graduate of SU’s undergraduate policy studies program, I really enjoyed how the economic and public policy perspectives complemented the legal analyses of the environmental issues,” he says.

Philp, who entered law school interested in labor law, became involved in environmental issues as Driesen’s research assistant. He helped Driesen draft a Supreme Court brief in support of a California public health law that requires owners of fleets to buy low-emission vehicles. “The research and assistance I have provided for Professor Driesen’s work on the brief has been my most rewarding experience in law school,” Philp says. “The increasing population is taking its toll on available land, the environment, and water rights. Through my work for Professor Driesen, I have found an area I thoroughly enjoy and in which I hope to practice.”

—Margaret Costello

First-Year Experience

Shared Reading
At Syracuse University, the children’s summer rhyme of “No more teachers, no more books” has gone the way of the dinosaur. Last summer, each of the University’s schools and colleges, as well as the Honors Program, began the Shared Reading Program, a series of summer readings that first-year students are required to complete before the fall semester. The program is part of the University’s initiative for first-year students, Syracuse Welcome 2003: A Slice of SU Life, which aims to enhance the freshman experience. “The Shared Reading Program gives students the opportunity to have a common educational experience before they arrive and encourages an immediate exchange of ideas,” says Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund.

Each school assigned a book to its incoming freshmen—from George Orwell’s classic 1984 to Christopher Phillips’s more contemporary Socrates Café—in hopes that the common reading would establish a bond among the students. Sandra N. Hurd G’75, interim dean of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and a College of Law graduate, chose NUTS!, which chronicles the rise of Southwest Airlines, so first-year students with different backgrounds could communicate on a familiar management topic. “It offers the opportunity to keep coming back to a common example that all students know about, and that’s interesting,” Hurd says. Additionally, NUTS! illustrates many concepts and themes covered in the school’s first-year courses.

Judy Hamilton G’00, interim executive director of the Honors Program, assigned Simon Winchester’s Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883, a book about a volcano eruption in Indonesia that devastated the lives of thousands and had a global impact. She chose Krakatoa because she believes students relate to the subject, regardless of their disciplines. She also selected the book because Winchester agreed to lecture on campus. “His visit was an excellent follow-up to the book,” says honors student Caitlin Hart ’07. “It gave us more insight into his work.”

—Linda Ober

 

Public Service

Joe Lawton

Jane Present, chair of the Friends of HSL&PS, visits with a student at the New York City school.

Decade of Success
A decade ago, SU established a unique partnership with a New York City public school to create the High School for Leadership & Public Service (HSL&PS). The University-developed curriculum gives students the opportunity to hone their academic skills through courses on public policy, public affairs, and leadership. “The program is about leveling the playing field for inner-city kids,” says Jane Werner Present ’56, chair of the Friends of HSL&PS, a group that raises funds for the school’s academic programs and extracurricular activities. “When the students graduate, we want to see them go to college.”

Present’s hopes are not unrealistic. Forty HSL&PS graduates are attending or have graduated from SU, and others have gone on to attend such universities as Yale and Duke. With one decade behind them, the Friends of HSL&PS hope the students will achieve their educational goals for years to come. “We want to continue to enrich the school,” Present says, “so that our students have the same benefits and enrichment programs the kids at any other school have.”

—Linda Ober

 

Human Services & Health Professions

Healthy Reading
A new health magazine provides information to help Syracuse University students achieve a balanced lifestyle and promote a healthy campus community. Healthy You @ SU, a student-to-student publication, debuted in spring 2003 and is a collaboration of the College of Human Services and Health Professions and the University’s Division of Student Affairs. “Our goal is to promote health-seeking behavior among college-aged students,” says Luvenia Cowart, the college’s assistant dean of student affairs and special projects, and the publication’s editorial director. “We believe that in a healthy environment, students will be more successful in their academic work and experiences.”

Working with Dessa Bergen-Cico ’86, G’88, G’92, the University’s associate dean of students, Cowart assembled an editorial board of student representatives from across campus. The board manages the magazine’s content, design, and distribution. Kelly Pettingill, administrative assistant for the college’s Office of Student Affairs and Special Projects, functions as the magazine’s production coordinator. Newhouse student Christine Vo ’05 is the chief editor and art director. Vo’s involvement in this project has provided her with an experiential learning opportunity and valuable professional preparation. “Our students come in with an array of knowledge, experience, and interests,” Cowart says. “That variety lends a nice flavor to the magazine’s content and fosters student learning.”

Social work major Sarah Young ’04 says working on the magazine allows her to combine classroom lessons with a personal interest in health issues. For the Spring 2003 issue, she wrote an article about her weight-loss experiences and stressed the importance of balance and nutrition when dieting. “Writing about my personal experiences with dieting was therapeutic for me,” says Young, who collaborated with her mother to write an article about sexuality for the magazine’s most recent issue. “I felt free to take my articles in the direction I wanted them to go.”

The magazine’s articles cover a range of topics that focus on physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. The Fall 2003 issue included stories on sleep deprivation, exercise, relationships, and the effective use of multivitamins. Distributed once a semester, the magazine is available at the Schine Student Center, Health Services, the college’s Office of Student Affairs and Special Projects, and online at hshp.syr.edu/current/student/ healthyyou.asp.

Dean Bruce Lagay considers the magazine a valuable tool for executing the college’s goal of educating students regarding health issues. “It is essential that students understand how critical health promotion and literacy are in achieving positive health-seeking behaviors,” he says. “Healthy You @ SU is a hands-on opportunity for them to do that. The lessons they take away from this experience will serve them well as health and human services professionals.”

—Kristiana Glavin
and Amy Speach Shires

 

Whitman

Middle School Mentors
At 4 p.m. on a Friday, school is the last place most middle-school students want to be—except for a group of seventh- and eighth-graders at the Huntington School in Syracuse. As participants in Balancing the Books, a mentoring program developed by the Martin J. Whitman School of Management (WSM) and the Center for Public and Community Service (CPCS), the students meet with WSM mentors to develop their skills in financial literacy, language, and mathematics. Supported by a grant from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, the program was started in 1999 to encourage at-risk middle-schoolers in the Syracuse City School District to continue their education after high school. Roberta Gillen, CPCS assistant director and Balancing the Books coordinator, says the program is a win-win situation. “The SU students get to see what an inner-city public school is like and, more importantly, touch the lives of the children they work with,” she says. “The mentees at Huntington receive the one-on-one attention students that age crave. It’s a chance for them to learn from role models who prove getting to college isn’t impossible.”

The management students are required to spend 35 hours per year on community service, but between activity planning and visits to the Huntington School every other Friday, Balancing the Books mentors far exceed that requirement. For mentor Julie Abrams ’04, the program is well worth the time commitment. “Working with the same student for a full year allows you to really develop a relationship and see progress,” says Abrams, who has volunteered for the past three years. As this year’s JP Morgan Chase leadership intern, Abrams took on the additional responsibility of recruiting mentors, coordinating school visits, and leading mentor meetings. During these meetings, mentors plan lessons that cover everything from budgeting and learning about the stock market to filling out job applications. At the end of the school year, Huntington students spend a day at SU, where they have lunch with mentors in the dining hall, tour the campus, visit the Carrier Dome, and meet Whitman School faculty and staff.

Huntington guidance counselor Mary Anne Minsterman says the most important benefit of Balancing the Books is the motivation the students develop when they know they matter. “Our kids aspire to be like their mentors,” says Minsterman. “The fact that SU students really want to be there to spend time with them is something they pick up on. It’s wonderful to hear them say, ‘I want to make my mentor proud.’”

—Kate Gaetano

 

Engineering & Computer Science

Steve Sartori

SU and Tohoku University representatives dedicate a liaison office in Link Hall. Seated: Professor Ed Bogucz, former ECS dean, left, and Professor Toshiaki Ikohagi, director of the Institute of Fluid Science. Standing (left to right): professors Shigenao Maruyama, Hiroshi Higuchi, Toshiyuki Hayase, Alan Levy, and Fumio Saito.


Link to Japan

Three years ago the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) and Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, established an academic exchange to bring together students and scholars to collaborate on research. Last semester this venture in international collaboration was reinforced when administrators from Tohoku University’s renowned Institute of Fluid Science and its International Center of Excellence of Flow Dynamics visited Syracuse to dedicate a liaison office in Link Hall. The office will provide a home base for Tohoku students and faculty who come to SU to study, teach, and perform research. “The office enables the seamless exchange of scholars and students between SU and Tohoku and serves as a reminder of the important linkage between our two schools,” says ECS Dean Eric Spina, who will dedicate a liaison office this spring in Japan.

ECS professor Hiroshi Higuchi served on the faculty at the Institute of Fluid Science from 1999-2001 and was instrumental in establishing the collaboration. “With the liaison office, ECS is poised to help cultivate and train leaders in future international flow dynamics research projects,” Higuchi says. The institute conducts both academic and applied research on thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics. Some current institute projects seek to control substances causing global warming, and advance supersonic flight and space propulsion technology. The institute has established similar liaison offices with universities in Australia, France, Korea, Russia, and England.

Higuchi and ECS professor Mark Glauser traveled to Japan last semester to explore opportunities between the two universities. “We were impressed by Tohoku’s unique facility and research capabilities,” Higuchi says. “We look forward to working on projects with them.” Takumi Iwata, the first graduate student sponsored by Tohoku, arrived at SU in December to work on the concept of a reusable rocket-powered launch vehicle.

During its visit, the Tohoku delegation also attended the Third Annual Symposium on Advanced Fluid Information, co-chaired by Higuchi and Tohoku professor Toshiyuki Hayase, at Lubin House in New York City. “The strong relationship we are building is extremely beneficial for both of us,” Spina says. “International collaboration, especially with universities with strong technical programs, is important as we seek to resolve highly complex research problems and expose our students to other cultures and technical approaches.” —Kelly Homan Rodoski

—Kelly Homan Rodoski

 

University College

Workforce Outreach

The Syracuse University Continuing Education Leadership Institute was founded in 2001 to create world-class educational solutions for the workforce by providing University outreach to academic, business, and nonprofit organizations. Three years later, the institute is gaining recognition for its programs, including a 2003 Award for Excellence from the Mid-Atlantic Region of the University Continuing Education Association. “The Leadership Institute develops web-based programs, corporate training systems, and related services to assist human resource departments in gaining return on their investments,” says Dana Brooks Hart G’73, G’81, the institute’s director. “Our goal is workforce development, and our commitment is to serving our partners, their clients, and the community with dedication and friendship.”

The institute partners with community colleges and organizations to create learning communities and manages more than $400,000 in workforce development projects. It has taken the lead locally in obtaining more than $500,000 in partnership grants. Services range from design and implementation of customized training programs to establishing corporate “universities” within companies. The institute’s current focus is in New York State, but programs will eventually be extended to global partners.

“Our claim to fame right now is the Leadership Excellence program,” Hart says. The award-winning initiative is based on research conducted by the institute to determine effective leadership practices. It blends online and classroom components to teach 12 key leadership competencies, including assessment, strategic planning, and project management.

The Lifetime Healthcare Companies of Syracuse chose the institute to create a leadership program for its 300 managers and to provide 2,500 e-learning courses for its 7,000 employees. “The institute understands our needs and provides the platform for success,” says Donna McManmon, corporate vice president of education, training, and development.

“We want to continue developing a strong learning community in Central New York and beyond,” Hart says. “Powerful synergies are created when we provide business solutions that are supported by the University’s knowledge and resources.”

—Amy Speach Shires

 
Information Studies

Modern Literacy
Literacy today involves much more than the ability to read and write, but few people can tell you exactly what “much more” is. The Center for Digital Literacy (CDL) is dedicated to answering that question and offering new opportunities to enhance education through the mastery of information technology. “Digital literacy really incorporates four types of abilities,” says Ruth V. Small ’64, G’77, G’85, professor of information studies and CDL’s founding director. “First—and still foremost—is ‘basic literacy,’ which includes reading, writing, and speaking. ‘Technical literacy’ is the ability to use computers to find the information you need; ‘information literacy’ is the ability to manage and make use of what you find; and ‘media literacy’ is the ability to interpret the symbols and texts in public media, which includes everything from TV and radio to billboards and T-shirts.”

Founded in 2003, CDL is a collaborative project of the School of Information Studies, the Newhouse School, and the School of Education. The center engages in research and development projects designed to define and promote digital literacy among SU students as well as the public, and to develop techniques for its inclusion in primary and secondary school curricula, as well as adult education and training.

The center has already embarked on several projects. The Central New York Community Foundation awarded funding to CDL’s Enhancing Literacy through Information Technology (E*LIT) project, in which graduate students from all three participating SU colleges work with local schools. E*LIT includes a contest for elementary and middle-school classes, which submit digital projects, such as videos or PowerPoint presentations, concerning an assigned author. Classes that produce winning projects are brought to campus to attend a reading by the author, which will be webcast to all participants.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services provided funds to expand CDL’s Preparing Librarians for Urban Schools (PLUS) program to Syracuse, Binghamton, and Rochester schools via a distance-learning program offered by the School of Information Studies. The PLUS grant will fund 22 graduate students in library and information science and six certificate candidates in their completion of New York State requirements to become school library media specialists.

Because research skills are basic to all disciplines, Small would like faculty from across campus to participate in CDL projects. “We want to have experts from every field helping to define quality materials so that access to information becomes an asset to everyone,” she says.

—David Marc

 

Graduate School

Steve Sartori

Admissions coordinator Colleen Fitzgerald talks with Rinken Patel, a graduate student worker, in the Graduate Enrollment Management Center.

Smooth Admissions Process
The Graduate Enrollment Management Center (GEMC) may only be a couple of years old, but it is already making a difference in enhancing graduate education at Syracuse. The center has revamped the application system for Graduate School candidates, opening up new lines of communication and making the process more responsive. Turnaround times on several key actions have been vastly improved. For example, in 2001-02, it took the University an average of six weeks to process an application and send it to the appropriate academic unit for professional evaluation. In 2002-03, that period dropped to an average of less than five days, even though the number of completed graduate applications to SU almost doubled. “There was a need to change the system and make it much better,” says Donald Saleh, associate vice president for enrollment and dean of graduate enrollment.

Saleh arrived on campus in 2001 and went right to work, tapping the expertise of the Enterprise Process Support group, SU’s team of internal consultants that streamlines the business and functional processes of University offices. Consultations were held with graduate admissions staff members to review admissions procedures and pinpoint particular problems. “A lot of things weren’t working,” says Kathleen Kelly, manager of graduate admissions customer service and data quality. “For instance, our software was not being used to its full potential.”

After process maps were created to implement improvements, Saleh and David Smith ’66, vice president for enrollment management, designed the GEMC to perform a variety of administrative functions formerly handled by the Graduate School, including recruitment initiatives and direct communication with applicants. Saleh then established the Graduate Council to guide the GEMC in these matters. The council consists of faculty or administrative representatives from each of SU’s schools and colleges and meets throughout the academic year.

The GEMC is giving SU the recruitment, marketing, and admissions tools it needs to create a growing pool of top-caliber graduate students. This, in turn, is helping to further elevate the University’s position as a research institution, a priority of the Academic Plan. “We have an organization and a process that works and, as in any good operation, we will continue to make it better,” Saleh says.

—Edward Byrnes and David Marc

 

 

 

 

 

 

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