Dave Revette Photography
children's chorus
The Syracuse Children’s Chorus celebrates its 25th anniversary
this season.

Syracuse Children’s Chorus
Harmonizes with Heart

They look and sound like ordinarykids as they stream into Crouse College for a Monday evening rehearsal—chatting and giggling, teasing and fidgeting—permeating Setnor Auditorium with their spirited energy. But when director Barbara Marble Tagg ’69, G’70, G’97 takes the stage, the members of the Syracuse Children’s Chorus turn immediately toward her as if transfixed, sitting tall and poised in their seats, and begin to fill the room with extraordinary music. This magical transformation has been taking place at SU since 1981, when Tagg founded the organization that is now internationally recognized as a model for American children’s choirs. The chorus is celebrating its 25th anniversary season in 2005-06 with four performances, concluding with a Hendricks Chapel concert on May 20 ( “Giving children a vision of beauty through singing is at the heart of the Syracuse Children’s Chorus,” says Tagg, a music education faculty member in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and conductor of the Syracuse University Women’s Choir. “It is all about the children’s joyful singing, and the things children are capable of when they are given opportunities to grow, learn, and be challenged.”

Approximately 200 singers, ages 8 to 17, from across Central New York are members of the organization’s five choirs, which rehearse throughout the school year. Recommended to audition by their school music teachers, choristers are admitted based on their musical ability, enthusiasm, and commitment. “The skills and attitudes fostered in every rehearsal—such as responsibility, dedication, teamwork, and an appreciation of diversity—are attributes that serve not only the individual children, but also society as a whole,” Tagg says. She notes that the University’s music education students have access to the choir as conducting interns, choral arrangers, and observers for rehearsal strategies.

Throughout its history, the chorus has collaborated with musicians of international stature, including composer Libby Larsen, soprano Helen Boatwright, and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. The group has commissioned and premiered more than 70 works by composers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and China, and received the 2002 Chorus America award for adventurous programming. In addition, the chorus has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Aaron Copland Fund, and has been heard on National Public Radio, and on international broadcasts. Choristers have sung in 19 languages and performed in such locations as Holland, Canada, China, and Wales, as well as throughout the United States. “This has been a fun and extraordinary journey that led us all around the world and included students, teachers, parents, audiences, staff, board members, donors, musicians, composers, and friends,” Tagg says. “It takes a whole community to support a children’s choir—a community of dedicated and hardworking supporters of children, music education, and choral excellence.” 

—Amy Shires

Conference Views History as Memory

In a society where information about the past comes more often from popular movies and random web sites than from teachers or textbooks, history—or public memory—is a commodity “up for grabs” in the marketplace of ideas. Last fall, more than 130 scholars from five countries gathered in Syracuse for “Contesting Public Memories,” a conference confronting the increasingly difficult task of understanding how we come to believe events occurred. “When information is presented to us as ‘history,’ we think we’re learning what really happened,” says Professor Kendall R. Phillips of the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies (CRS) in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). “But most events are full of ambiguities, which is why I prefer the term ‘memory.’ Whether we’re naming a stadium or planting an historical marker, the past is always remembered toward some purpose of the present.”

The two-day conference, sponsored by CRS and VPA, with support from 10 additional academic departments and programs on campus, included 25 panel sessions dedicated to such topics as memories and shame, effects of the Internet on memory, and remembering the Soviet era in Eastern Europe. James Loewen, known for his 1996 book Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong, gave the keynote address, focusing on the subject of his latest book, Sundown Towns, a Hidden Dimension of Segregation in America. “Sundown towns” were American cities (outside the South) that enforced segregation by not permitting African Americans in their limits after dark. Loewen demonstrated how evidence of the once widespread practice has been almost completely erased from public memory. Other speakers included Urvashi Butalia, a founder of Kali for Women, India’s first women’s publishing house; and SU visiting artist Carrie Mae Weems, who also mounted an exhibition, Forms of Memory, at Lowe Art Gallery.

The conference concluded with a Saturday night multimedia presentation of short films by Bill Morrison, accompanied by live music from composer Michael Gordon and his band. Morrison, who captured international cinema attention with his 2002 feature, Decasia: States of Decay, makes use of pre-existing footage and decaying film stock in his work, creating screen images with memory-like qualities. “It was a wonderful experience,” CRS graduate student Jill Nevling says. “I found the interaction of art and theory enriching. Works of art can represent what memory is, and what it does, in ways theory can’t.”

The fall get-together marked the second public memory conference hosted at SU, and Phillips hopes to continue exploring the subject, citing its relevance to a wide variety of contemporary issues. “It’s at the heart of issues ranging from Kurdish nationalism in Iraq to how New Orleans will be rebuilt,” he says.  

Evaluating Health Care
Costs for Local Municipalities

When Onondaga County Association of Towns asked the Community Benchmarks Program at the Maxwell School to study the costs of employee benefits, Carol Dwyer, the program’s director, and her students accepted the challenge and computed some startling statistics. Health care expenditures increased on average 78 percent for the participating towns between 1999 and 2005. For participating villages, the average increase was 87 percent between 1999 and 2004. “The changing health care system is a serious issue facing all generations,” says Patty Canale ’07, who led the class team that interpreted the village data. “Within the last five years, health care costs paid by employees have increased five times the rate that salaries have increased. That’s frightening.”

Sixteen of the 19 towns and eight of the 15 villages in the county provided data on health care and workers’ compensation costs after Dwyer sent out a letter last May requesting the information. “When we looked at the information, we learned it was not all comparable,” Dwyer says. The municipalities have different health care companies, pay varying percentages of deductibles, and have different numbers of employees, among other factors. “This project gave me insight into the difficult policymaking process at the local level,” says Erin Drankoski ’06, team leader for the town data analysis. “Each town has to reassess what it’s doing every year, while keeping in mind that it needs to save money, even though health care costs are rising.”

While crunching the numbers, students often followed up with the municipalities for additional information and also delved into possible solutions to stem rising costs. In its executive summary, the class recommended officials form a cooperative like the Onondaga-Madison BOCES to bid out health care insurance. “BOCES has saved substantial amounts of money over the years for school districts,” Dwyer says. “Even if the towns and villages don’t have the same number of employees as the school districts within BOCES, they should still recognize a savings collectively that would be worth it.” Students met with several town and village officials in December to highlight the study’s results. “It’s much more significant to present your findings and methods of research than merely hand in the report,” Canale says. “It’s nice to see who will be benefiting from the report.”




Students Produce CNY News Show

Connect, a student-produced TV news and public affairs magazine, iswell into its first season on the Orange Television Network (OTN) and WSPX-TV, Pax Television in Syracuse. The program debuted in September with a look at Syracuse city schools. Other editions covered the Syracuse mayoral election; examined such issues as poverty and homelessness, economy and growth, and public transportation; and explored emergency preparedness in Central New York. “The show connects students who are burgeoning reporters to issues that matter in the city and surrounding area—a community they are part of while they are at SU,” says John Nicholson ’68, Professor of Practice in Broadcast Journalism, who supervises the one-credit class with Karin Franklin, a well-known Central New York television host.

Students research, report, videotape, edit, and host each episode of the program, which is produced live to tape each Friday afternoon in Studio A at the Newhouse School. Each half-hour program includes in-depth television reporting, in-studio guests, and student commentary. “Working for Connect has been an amazing experience,” says Kelli Watson ’06, a reporter for the program. “It provided real-world experience with the pressures of a professional news program and taught me the importance of working with a team. The workload was intense, but I loved it!”

Connect airs on OTN on Fridays at 11 p.m., with repeats on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. It also airs on WSPX-TV on Saturdays at 6:30 a.m., and is streamed online at “We think we are doing what is currently the best public affairs show in Central New York,” Nicholson says. “This kind of in-depth reporting is not usually available on public TV.”



Design Students Look to Revitalize Historic Danforth Neighborhood

When Syracuse Councilor-at-Large VanRobinson thinks about the future of the city’s first suburb—the Danforth section of Syracuse’s South Side—he envisions a close-knit neighborhood with urban villas and detached homes close to a bustling thoroughfare marked by many storefronts. This vision provides a sharp contrast to today’s Danforth neighborhood, which is bordered by South Salina Street on the west and Route 81 on the east. Over the past several decades, it has lost population and is now dotted with empty lots and vacant homes. “I would like to see a renaissance of the area with a variety of housing types that will attract a diverse group of people—young professionals, empty nesters, and senior citizens,” he says.

Architecture professor Elizabeth Kamell and students in the Community Design Center (CDC), an interdisciplinary design and research studio that Kamell directs, hope their research into housing density and use—the relationship of building to open space and residential to commercial uses—will aid in fostering Robinson’s vision. “The culture and history of the neighborhood are rich, and the structure of its institutions provides the backbone for community strength,” Kamell says. “The city is interested in the neighborhood’s development because its infrastructure could support more people and additional businesses.”

To learn about the area, students conducted archival research and reviewed census data, explored the neighborhood, and spoke with representatives from the Dunbar Center, the South Side Homeowners Association, Home Headquarters, the city’s community development office, and representatives from the Chancellor’s South Side Initiatives. “After the 1960s and the establishment of Route 81, many of the neighborhood’s houses were displaced and it became almost an isolated community,” Robinson explains. Increasingly, family-owned homes became poorly maintained rental units, many of which were torn down by the city. “With the abundance of empty lots, developers could rebuild the whole neighborhood in clusters rather than on a lot-by-lot basis,” Robinson says. Students also held several community meetings. “We listened to the community and applied our skills to provide housing options based on their input,” says James Rudolph ’06, an industrial and interaction design major. For Rudolph, the project also demonstrated how design can impact many people. “Studying housing, and architecture in general, forces you to look at design from a wider perspective,” he says.

At the end of the semester, students presented their ideas to the community. “I hope the research will be a catalyst for discussion and generate different ways to think about the future of the neighborhood,” Kamell says. Robinson is excited about the ideas that were generated along with city initiatives to attract large-scale, private home development and a movement to revitalize the South Salina Street business corridor. “If it’s done concurrently, a vibrant community could emerge,” Robinson says.            


Information Sharing Project Aids Police Work

A diverse team of SU faculty and staff members has developed a new system that allows sexual assault victims to report descriptive information about perpetrators to campus public safety officers and Syracuse city police without sacrificing their anonymity. The Trusted Information Sharing Project (TISP) pulls together information security scholars from the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, policy experts from the Maxwell School, officials from the Department of Public Safety, and administrators from SU’s R.A.P.E. Center to develop a system for sharing sensitive, crime-related information between offices and agencies. “If information can be securely shared across jurisdictions, then patterns of criminal behavior can be ascertained, and this can assist in investigations,” says Maxwell professor Terrell A. Northrup, who, along with Professor Stuart Thorson, provided guidance on policy issues. “The sharing of information adds to law enforcement’s understanding of particular crimes, which enhances its ability to educate the public and prevent the crimes.”

On the technical side, computer engineering professors Shiu-Kai Chin ’75, G’78, G’86 and Susan Older, and research associate Polar Humenn ’80, G’84 developed a system that allows information to be pulled from a database and transferred securely to another server. “In some ways, the technology has been the easiest part of the project so far,” Chin says. “The more time-consuming part has been the construction of a memorandum of understanding among the participants that succinctly and accurately details the objectives, policies, and procedures of TISP.”

For example, the R.A.P.E. Center staff decided not to have victims file their anonymous reports electronically to alleviate concerns that they could be traced through the electronic trail. Instead, the center created a paper form that allows victims the choice of sharing details of the crime or a description of the perpetrator with law enforcement. “This project provides a new option for survivors of sexual assault who do not wish to seek criminal prosecution, but want law enforcement to be made aware of the actions of specific perpetrators,” says Janet Epstein, associate director of the R.A.P.E. Center. “We worked with law enforcement representatives on the project to develop a protocol that gives the survivor complete control over what specific information is shared while maintaining anonymity.”

Establishing a protocol for sharing information between SU’s public safety office and Syracuse police led to a $400,000 grant from the federal COPS MORE program. The grant will allow the law enforcement agencies to purchase a device that officers can use to file reports directly into a city police database from remote locations via laptop computers, speeding up information sharing and enhancing search and analysis capabilities. “Because of TISP, the network of contacts was in place to secure the COPS MORE grant, which allows us to take the information sharing project to the next level,” says Donna Adams, assistant director of public safety for administration and technology.         



Showcasing Student Talent

More than 3,000 people are expected to attend the second annual MayFest, a campus-wide celebration of student creativity and discovery on April 25.  MayFest, organized by the Soling Program and presented in partnership with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, features concerts, performances, and exhibitions; interdisciplinary discussions and presentations; and such special events as fashion shows and robotics demonstrations. “MayFest embodies the vision of the Soling Program, which stresses experiential learning in an interactive and collaborative environment,” says Professor James T. Spencer, the program’s director.

New this year is MayFest After Dark, which includes dinner on the Quad and family entertainment and activities. Tickets for dinner and the evening science “magic” shows can be purchased through the Schine Box Office. For more information on this year’s activities, visit

—Rob Enslin


Doctors, Lawyers, and Students Team Up to Improve Children’s Health

While treating a child with severe asthma, a pediatrician learns that leaky plumbing has caused a mold and mildew problem in the child’s home that the landlord won’t fix. The doctor believes the mold triggers the patient’s asthma, but what can a physician do to help resolve the landlord/tenant dispute?

A new partnership between University Hospital’s Upstate Pediatric and Adolescent Center (UPAC), an ambulatory care facility for inner-city children, and the College of Law will connect physicians and their patients with the legal resources and representation they need to improve children’s health and well-being. “The Family Advocacy Program [FAP] is a wonderful way to do interdisciplinary work and consolidate the benefits of the medical and legal professions to serve the same clientele,” says Professor Suzette Meléndez, who directs the Children’s Rights and Family Law Clinic at the College of Law. “The program enables us to better serve families who are marginalized and poor.”

Started with the help of UPAC pediatrician Dr. Steven Blatt, FAP provides physicians a place to turn when a patient’s health is jeopardized by a problem requiring legal action. Law students conduct training sessions for doctors and other health care workers about identifying such legal concerns as domestic abuse, eligibility for government aid programs, child support and custody, and landlord/tenant problems. At the request of medical staff, students in the College of Law’s Family Law and Social Policy Center research such legal questions as what steps grandparents need to take when seeking legal custody of a grandchild for whom they have been caring, or at what temperature a landlord should keep the hot water. “We answer the physicians’ questions and keep a research bank of questions and answers for future reference,” says Professor Sarah Ramsey, director of the Family Law and Social Policy Center. “The program teaches that full medical care includes access to legal services.”

FAP also links patients and their families with student attorneys from the family law clinic or with local attorneys recruited by Heidi White, executive director of the family law center, to serve pro bono. Michael D. Raisman G’06, a family law clinic student attorney, is working on a case to help secure Social Security benefits for a child who has serious health issues. The law clinic is also trying to secure more visitation rights for the child’s mother, who expressed concerns over custody arrangements during her child’s doctor’s appointment. “It is interesting to apply what we’ve learned in our classes to assist clients and provide the help they need,” Raisman says. “It’s been a great learning experience.”


SU Establishes Partnership with Schomburg Center

Eric Weiss
Linda Littlejohn ’80, G’82, left, associate vice president of engagement initiatives at SU, Jason Mills ’96, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of the nonprofit organization Black and Latino Information Science and Technology Support Inc., Schomburg Center CEO Howard Dodson, Chancellor Nancy Cantor, and Junior Scholars Program director Carlyle Leach gather at Schomburg Center headquarters in Harlem to announce the collaboration between SU and the center.

Syracuse University and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City are collaborating to offer tuition scholarships to admissible members of the center’s Junior Scholars Program. This is the center’s first partnership that focuses on recruiting and providing scholarships to young men and women, most of whom are from the Harlem community. “This collaboration between Syracuse University and the New York Life/Schomburg Center Junior Scholars Program provides a unique opportunity for our junior scholars to continue their education,” Schomburg Center CEO Howard Dodson says.

The collaboration will serve as a feeder program to help recruit promising students for admission to SU from the Junior Scholars Program, a Saturday school for students of African American and Latino descent from the New York metropolitan area. Students ages 11 to 17 attend a 26-week series of sessions designed to prepare them for intellectual and entrepreneurial careers. “The Schomburg Center and Syracuse University have numerous synergies and shared priorities,” Chancellor Nancy Cantor says. “Our philosophies work in tandem on many levels, and I look forward to future collaboration as we continue to educate those who put their scholarship in action for our entire society.”

The partnership, which includes SU’s Office of Enrollment Management and the Chancellor’s South Side Initiatives program, will enhance outreach to prospective African American and Latino applicants to the University and demonstrate SU’s commitment to increasing the numbers of African American and Latino students. It will also provide an opportunity to potentially establish a similar program at the Dunbar Center on the South Side of Syracuse, as part of the Chancellor’s South Side Initiatives. A doctoral student is currently working with community members on a comparable weekend academy at SU. “We’re hoping we can get technical assistance from the Schomburg Center to further develop our own Saturday program and open up the same kinds of opportunities for the young people at the Dunbar Center,” says Linda Littlejohn ’80, G’82, associate vice president of engagement initiatives. “The Schomburg Center is a beacon in the New York City area, and we’re hoping the Dunbar Center will once again become a beacon on the South Side.”


Courtesy of Syracuse Center of Excellence

Center of Excellence

The design of the headquarters building for the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (CoE) was unveiled recently by New York State Governor George E. Pataki, SU officials, and corporate partners. The building will be constructed on a three-acre campus at the corner of East Washington and Almond streets in downtown Syracuse. Syracuse-based Ashley McGraw Architects is leading a team, including design architect Toshiko Mori and more than a dozen other firms, in creating the campus. As home to the Syracuse CoE, the “green building” will feature offices, laboratories, and public spaces for the federation of more than 70 businesses, organizations, and academic and research institutions devoted to improving human health and productivity by developing innovations in such areas as air quality, thermal comfort, lighting, sound, water quality, and renewable and clean energy. The campus is scheduled to be completed in 2007.



Sponsored Program Improvements Enhance Collaborative Efforts

During the past five years, sponsoredresearch at the University has grown 43 percent, from $40.3 million in 2001 to $57.7 million in 2005. That’s a significant increase, considering that federal funding, which represents nearly 80 percent of SU’s total sponsored program support, grew very little during the same period.

The University’s ability to attract more research dollars reflects its success in creating interdisciplinary research teams to investigate such major social concerns as biocomplexity and the environment, disability studies, information assurance, and religious pluralism. To build on this success, Chancellor Nancy Cantor unveiled a plan to streamline University processes, reducing the burden on faculty members and opening more opportunities for creative exchanges with Central New York companies and institutions. “Chancellor Cantor is making changes to create an environment maximally supportive of faculty members engaged in sponsored research,” says Ben Ware, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School. “We are trying to take an approach that is inclusive of all disciplines and possible sources of funding.”

The Chancellor’s plan identifies four major initiatives for change. The first integrates the fund-raising efforts of the Office of Research, Corporate and Foundation Relations, and the Office of Government and Community Relations to share information and resources, creating a coordinated effort in securing research and teaching grants. The second expands financial and accounting services available to faculty members by improving coordination between the Office of Sponsored Programs and Contract Accounting. The third brings together the Office of Research with the Graduate School to help graduate students secure fellowships and support for their dissertation research. Integration of these units will provide opportunities for graduate students to express their creativity as well as to foster their research and scholarly efforts. Student success also catalyzes an upward spiral of increased sponsored research, further enhancing the quality of the University’s programs.

The final initiative is perhaps the most significant for the University and Central New York. SU is exploring ways to be more flexible in its intellectual property, licensing, and sponsored research agreements with local companies to increase the accessibility of faculty and student talent, as well as to the University’s high-tech equipment and facilities. To facilitate this goal, SU is establishing multiyear master agreements with businesses to streamline the contract negotiation process. “In addition to strengthening the University’s research profile, we’re helping the region and the nation remain globally competitive by bringing new technologies to market and policies to society,” says Gina Lee-Glauser, associate vice president for research.


Music Teachers Tune into Belfer Treasures

Courtesy of SU Special Collections


The Belfer Audio Laboratory andArchive, which contains some 340,000 sound recordings produced in a variety of media dating back to the 19th century, is among Syracuse University Library’s most extraordinary special collections and widely recognized as an asset to musicologists and historians around the world. While appreciative of Belfer’s role in international scholarship, music education professor John Coggiola is working to ensure that Central New York communities can access the archives as well. “Music teachers often use recordings in their classrooms that come prepackaged,” says Coggiola, chair of the music education program. “Although students may be listening to a great piece of music, they may not necessarily be hearing a great performance of it.”

To help remedy that situation, Cog-giola created Historical Recordings in Authentic Curriculum Design, a graduate-level course designed to teach high school and middle school teachers to navigate Belfer to find recordings that give their students optimal musical experiences. Throughout the summer session class, Coggiola works with each class member to develop a project in an area of interest. The project is completed as a web-based instructional package that the teachers take back to their schools to present to students.

Class meetings alternate between the School of Education and the Belfer archive, where curator Susan Stinson offers lectures on conducting archival research and chief engineer Robert Hodge addresses the technical side of presenting music recorded on wax cylinders or 78 rpm records in digital formats. Stinson is pleased to see the archive getting this kind of use by a new constituency. “A music teacher can buy a ‘best of jazz’ album, but that represents just one person’s opinion or perhaps nothing more than the copyrights held by a recording company,” she says. “Our collection offers a wider perspective.”

Stinson points out that Belfer’s holdings include more than music, and she believes Coggiola’s work can serve as a model for courses in a variety of disciplines. Hodge agrees. “Audio adds a dimension integral to a fuller understanding of time, place, and culture,” he says.

Coggiola is convinced that exposure to Belfer’s treasures stimulates teachers to new levels of creativity in the classroom. “There is so much rich material to relish,” he says. “One of the master’s students, Joshua Smith [’02], did a project on The Ziegfeld Follies. He got various recordings of performers from the period and developed a great package of instructional text. He put it all together as a web-based lesson. It was spectacular.”

Michael Humphrey, director of bands at Waterloo High School, is glad he took the course. “The Belfer collections present endless possibilities,” says Humphrey, who is unabashed in recommending the course to colleagues. “After having this opportunity, I feel that any music student in reach of Belfer who doesn’t devote at least some academic time to it is losing an important asset.” 

Rey-Mel Cornelius

Exploring the Origins of the Universe

A group of particle physicists from SU is collaborating withapproximately 600 scientists from 14 countries to uncover more clues about how the universe formed and develop new scientific theories about its evolution. The work looks at what happened after the “Big Bang” to alter the equilibrium between matter and antimatter. “The matter we see around us today is the result of an imbalance between matter and antimatter that occurred in the early stages of the history of our universe,” says physics professor Marina Artuso, who is part of the backbone of the SU contingent, along with physics professors Sheldon Stone, Tomasz Skwarnicki, and Steven Blusk. “At this point, there are a lot of competing theories trying to understand the world better. We’re hoping the experiments we’re doing will help discriminate different hypotheses. It’s like being a detective, piecing together bits of information to create a clearer picture of what happened.”

Using the highest energy particle accelerator in the world—the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN laboratories in Geneva, Switzerland—the scientists send two beams of protons in opposing directions through the nearly 17-mile circular accelerator. When the beams collide, they have enough energy to create new massive particles that haven’t been seen before and particles that contain bottom quarks or b quarks. These particles don’t exist commonly in nature. For the experiment, called LHCb, the SU team, which is the only American university involved in the international project, has helped implement instrumentation: a vertex locator silicon detector, which tracks the distance a particle containing a b quark travels before it decays; and the Ring-Imaging Cherenkov, which helps identify the specific particles given off during the decay. “The ultimate goal is to learn about the new particles that will be found using this machine,” Stone says. “Then, by measuring the properties of decay of particles containing b quarks, you can figure out what kind of interactions the new particles have.”

These new properties could help explain the origins of the universe or confirm the existence of other dimensions of space and time. “This is a subject of science fiction, but we’re producing it in particle accelerators around the world every day,” says Nabil Menaa G’06, a doctoral student who came to SU from Algeria to work in this area. “The experimental high-energy physics group at SU is very strong and is involved in both detector design and construction as well as data analysis.”


Wright School Embraces South American Sister School

The Martin J. Whitman School of Management’sSupply Chain Management Program has joined with the Syracuse Housing Authority (SHA) to assist in developing a new warehouse for the agency’s equipment and supplies. The resources are essential to SHA’s ability to maintain its 2,500 apartments. As project consultants, Whitman professors Patrick Penfield, director of supply chain executive management programs, and Gary LaPoint are working with architects to figure out the best way to store and access supplies ranging from kitchen faucets to smoke detectors. “We want the new warehouse layout to be the optimum fit,” Penfield says.

SHA management analyst Norma Shannon equates the warehouse to a “mini Home Depot” that contains supplies for plumbing, heating, electricity, and window repair. “Our warehouse is basically for anything and everything needed to prepare and maintain our apartments,” says Whitney Crossman, SHA administrative analyst. SHA has outgrown its current warehouse, which was built in 1938 and is located behind its downtown office.

After SHA officials Crossman, Shannon, and David Fickenscher met with architect James Oliver of RSA Architects, they contacted the supply chain department, which provides training or consulting to companies in such areas as purchasing, production, and warehousing and was recently ranked 10th among the best programs in the nation by Supply Chain Management Review. “We knew the experience they had was the piece we didn’t have,” Crossman says. Penfield and LaPoint studied the authority’s organization and methods to create the most effective organization for the warehouse. “We were very excited to be asked to help out,” Penfield says. “We enjoy using our knowledge to help the community.”

An empty lot downtown, purchased by SHA in 2001, is awaiting a finalized design and funding before construction can begin. “The hope is that our layout design will make the housing authority more efficient and help SHA officials organize what they have and save money,” Penfield says.

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