H. Smith, left, Anne L. Shelly, Barbara A. Yonai, and Barry
L. Wells are among the staff and administrators who have
helped guide SUs efforts to improve student retention.
the Syracuse University Retention and Attrition Committee released
its December 1987 report on graduation rates, the news was grim:
Only 40 percent of African American students who enrolled from 1980
to 1982 had persisted to graduation within 6 years, and African
American students graduated at a 6-year rate 23 percentage points
lower than their Caucasian counterparts.
forward to today and the picture brightens considerably. We
have work left to do, but weve made tremendous improvement,
says Barry L. Wells, senior vice president and dean of student affairs.
Weve shrunk the gap between African American and Caucasian
6-year graduation rates to just 6 percentage points, while improving
the Universitys overall rate to better than 75 percentthe
highest SU has ever recorded.
overall improvement has been assisted considerably by better graduation
rates among students of color. The impact has not gone unnoticed.
In a spring address to the University community, Vice Chancellor
and Provost Deborah A. Freund moved up the time frame for meeting
her retention goals for the general student population, calling
for an overall graduation rate of 80 percent by next year and 85
percent by 2009.
to the Center for Support of Teaching and Learning (CSTL), which
has monitored the Universitys retention rates since 1989,
there are other signs of improving African American retention rates
on campus as well. In 2000, for example, only about 4 percent of
SUs African American freshmen dropped out after their first
year. Its a lower percentage than any other ethnic group
and the lowest rate on record for this key indicator of future retention,
says Barbara A. Yonai, associate director of CSTL.
vast improvement, however, faces one remaining obstacle: perception.
Unfortunately, numbers of peopleparents, students, faculty,
and staffstill think about SU in terms of 20 years ago,
Wells says. This snapshot shows that were no longer
a laggard in retaining African American students; were rapidly
becoming a leader.
has established a peer group of 12 universities against which SU
measures its performance in several areas. Since 1989, none of those
peer institutions has improved its graduation rate gap as much as
SU has. Not only that, but according to an NCAA survey of Division
I private institutions, SUs current gap of 6 percentage points
clearly outshines the national average gap of 23 percent.
must abandon dated perceptions, says Horace H. Smith, associate
vice president of undergraduate studies in the Division of Student
Support and Retention. We were once average, but now were
exceptional. For African American students at SU, the Universitys
core value of diversity doesnt just mean retention for retentions
sake. It means facilitating their successful participation in the
L. Shelly, director of the Center for Retention Studies, concurs.
The students really tell the stories behind these great numbers,
Shelly says. We have talked with students who have left and
those who are still pursuing degrees. In both cases, we have learned
a lot about what the institution is doing or not doing that influences
decisions to stay or to leave.
credits several programs for their influential role in improving
retention. For example, the Student Success Initiative is aimed
toward assisting at-risk students, whether they are having academic
problems or considering leaving SU for other reasons. Other initiatives
include the creation of learning communities, which help students
forge stronger connections with other students who share the same
interests and goals, as well as with key faculty and staff members.
Staff are building strong relationships with students to understand
whats getting in the way of success and to help open up new
resources, Shelly says.
entrepreneurs Steven Darling 03, left, and
Brian Bushell 03 display contour and TV/reading
pillows that they sell through the Memory Foam Factory,
a business they created.
marketing and finance major Brian Bushell 03, the
road to running a successful business was paved with a sore
back, a stiff neck, and years of tossing and turning on
an uncomfortable mattress. While searching for a way to
improve his sleep, he discovered memory foama dense,
temperature-sensitive material that conforms to the body.
Bushells research revealed that most foam mattress
toppers sell for upwards of $300. So in July 2002, he and
roommate Steven Darling 03, a sociology major, took
matters into their own hands. With assistance from a manufacturer
in New Jersey, they created the Memory Foam Factory in hopes
of appealing to students and their tight budgets. We
knew many students who, like us, wanted comfortable beds,
but couldnt afford them, Darling says. We
never expected the business to get this far.
out of their bedrooms, they began offering memory foam mattress
toppers starting at $79.95a feat they accomplished
by shipping products straight from the factoryand
later added an entire line of contour pillows and TV/reading
pillows. Today, marketing efforts on Google and their web
account for the companys customer base, which is 60
percent students and growing at a monthly rate of 150 percent.
We have a unique connection to our market, Darling
says. As students, we understand our customers
needs very well because we live among them.
spring, Bushell and Darling won the East Coast Collegiate
Entrepreneur Competition. Bushell credits the guidance of
professors for helping get the company off the ground. In
my entrepreneurship class, we practiced marketing to students
and writing formal business plans, says Bushell, who
received the Syracuse Student Entrepreneur of the Year award
from the School of Management. That gave me the experience
I needed to manage a company.
Michael Morris, Witting Chair in Entrepreneurship, assisted
the pair during their start-up process. These students
demonstrate that anything is possible, Morris says.
In the entrepreneurship program, we believe every
student is an entrepreneur waiting to happen.
In 1998, Connie Caldwell, director of career services in the
School of Architecture, e-mailed a salary survey to the schools
alumni, hoping to learn more about the profession and better
serve students in their job searches. After receiving a modest
52 responses, she set out to improve the system of connecting
with alumni and gathering information from them. With the
help of the SU Center for Support of Teaching and Learning,
Caldwell established an electronic Alumni Career Network and
began conducting a more comprehensive annual alumni survey
online. Today, more than 500 people participate in the survey
results.asp) and about 900 alumni are registered with
the network. I ask alumni questions about salaries,
benefits, vacation time, whether theyre licensed architects,
and the culture of their firms, Caldwell says. I
want to have that information to pass on to students for career
planning and also to share with alumni in the network.
her senior year, architecture student Kristin Shumaker 02
clicked through the results of the online alumni survey, checking
out the starting salaries of architects in cities where she
was interested in finding a job. The survey is full
of practical information, she says. After reviewing
the survey results, Shumaker tapped into the Alumni Career
Network to learn more about the firms where alumni work. That
proved very useful for me, as I am now working closely with
an alum I had contacted while at Syracuse, says Shumaker,
an intern architect at Clark Patterson Associates in Rochester,
uses the career network to post notices on job openings and
questions from students or alumni seeking advice on a range
of career-related topics. Each question elicits as many as
50 responses from alumni, like Shumaker, who offer tips. The
system has helped me so I want to make sure its useful
to others, Shumaker says.
r t s &
S c i e n c e s
New Home for CSD
better meet the educational demands of the field, the Communication
Sciences and Disorders (CSD) program moved from the School of Education
to the College of Arts and Sciences this academic year. The field
of communication sciences and disorders draws upon principles from
biology, physics, linguistics, and psychology to investigate and
improve peoples speech, hearing, and language abilities. All
four of those subjects are in the College of Arts and Sciences,
says CSD professor Linda Milosky, who helped organize the programs
transition. The primary reason for the move was to strengthen
the ties to the disciplines on which the field is based.
chair Ray Colton says that, nationally, the field has shifted to
emphasize a liberal arts education that better prepares students
for a wider array of employment opportunities than previously existed.
Unlike 30 years ago, when most CSD graduates found jobs providing
speech-language therapy in schools, todays graduates often
work outside of academia, due to the introduction of such medical
advances as cochlear implants, hearing aides, genetic testing, and
functional MRIs. Now a large percentage of our graduates go
into hospitals and private practice, and theres a lot more
medical emphasis, Colton says.
departments move into the college creates more academic and
social opportunities for students. They are now able to take
courses from other departments that build a solid foundation in
physics and mathematics and are more directly related to CSD, such
as linguistics, psychology, and statistics, says Lufeng Shi,
a Ph.D. student in audiology who earned a masters degree at
SU in 2001. Also, many undergraduates in the college will
be introduced to the profession and may decide to major in CSD.
To meet their natural science requirements, undergraduates can now
choose from a wider range of non-lab science courses offered by
CSD that address the connection between basic research and its practical
applications. For CSD students, the change encourages them to interact
with students from other disciplines and learn from a variety of
perspectives. Theyre getting exposed to more of the
University, and thats a positive, Milosky says.
part of the College of Arts and Sciences, CSD faculty can collaborate
more easily with faculty members from other natural science departments.
From the faculty perspective, Milosky says, the
move reduces administrative responsibilities and allows faculty
to focus more on their research.
the department maintains close ties with the School of Education.
CSD faculty still teach required courses for inclusive education
majors, and CSD students continue to take courses through the school
to earn New York State teaching certification. We have good
colleagues in the School of Education, and we look forward to continuing
those relationships and developing new ones with faculty in the
College of Arts and Sciences, Milosky says.
the beginning of each year, the Hong Kong Cultural Organization
(HKCO) celebrates the arrival of the Lunar New Year with an elaborate
dragon dance performance. This year, the HKCO Lunar New Year celebration
included some new additions, thanks to a $5,500 grant from the University
Encounter (U Encounter) program. The extra money enabled the student
group to hire professional Kung Fu fighters from New York City and
pay for additional decorations, says Stevenson Lau 03, HKCO
president. Without U Encounter, we couldnt have done
a show like that, Lau says. The show definitely brought
our culture to the University and showed how important this holiday
Encounter was established in 2002 by the Division of Student Affairs
to award grants to student groups to help support events that demonstrate
a theme of cultural or social significance. The theme will change
each semester to allow different groups to become involved in the
program and host events. Those events include lectures, workshops,
performances, and international holiday celebrations. This years
chosen theme is Celebrating International Arts and Culture.
We wanted to establish a theme that was broad enough so that
numerous groups could apply, says Ellen King, director of
student events. Now, we are getting a wide variety of programs.
December, 14 groups applied to the program for funding and received
a portion of the $80,000 in available grant money. The amount allotted
to each group varied according to the scope of the proposal and
the groups need for funding, King says. Among the U Encounter-funded
events last semester were the Black Artist Leagues Dance
Explosion and the Office of Multicultural Affairs hosting
a performance by Jabali Afrika, a band from Kenya.
promoting cultural activities for students, another of the programs
goals is to encourage collaboration among departments, divisions,
and organizations, King says. If two groups share a program,
we would love to help support it. More importantly, student
groups that lack the necessary funding to share their culture with
the campus community will now have the opportunity to do so. U
Encounter opens up a lot of opportunities for students and for members
of the campus community to experience something theyd typically
never be exposed to, King says.
of SUs College Crime Watch (CCW) created pamphlets, designed
a web site, wrote press releases, rallied students, and attended
a national conferenceand theyre just getting started.
An outgrowth of Youth Crime Watch of Americaa national organization
that enlists students in crime reduction efforts within their schools
and communitiesCCW was piloted in approximately 10 colleges
and universities across the country this academic year. SU Director
of Public Safety Marlene Hall discovered the program online and
enlisted the help of Jill Lentz, operations manager for residential
security, and Grant Williams, senior lieutenant for crime prevention,
to start the initiative and serve as co-advisors to the student-led
group. One of the benefits of CCW is that each institution
can customize its own plan, Lentz says. SUs plan focuses
on a campus watch, hate crime prevention, and off-campus student
Bell 03 joined CCW last fall because of safety issues she
encountered as a resident advisor. Our members include a variety
of students who are involved in different campus activities, from
residential security aides to graduate students, she says.
Having such widespread membership helps get the word out to
more people. Spreading the word was the goal at the 2003 International
Youth Leaders Crime Prevention Conference in Miami this spring.
Throughout the groups trip, which was sponsored by Anastasia
Urtz, dean of students in the Division of Student Affairs, Bell
and several other members introduced SUs CCW program and encouraged
high school seniors to initiate campus watch programs once they
Noel 04, who helped CCW become a registered student organization
this year, believes everyone should be active in promoting campus
safety. People care, but they need to be willing to do something
about it, Noel says. To encourage student involvement, CCW
members also collaborated with the R.A.P.E. Center to place hundreds
of stickers bearing safety tips and the CCW phone number in academic
buildings and residence halls. In the fall, the CCW team plans to
partner with the Division of Student Affairs and other departments
to present orientations to incoming students. Weve been
fortunate to have so many student leaders in the SU community who
want to see College Crime Watch succeed, Lentz says. Our
goal is to get the entire campus involved.
man in Mexico, fearing persecution because of his mental illness,
fled to the United States to seek asylum. His lawyer in California
contacted law professor Arlene Kanter, a disability rights expert.
Kanter worked on a legal brief for the man, writing that people
with disabilities in Mexico are institutionalized and treated so
poorly that the man would likely die if he were returned home. She
argued the United States should grant asylum to this man and others
with mental or physical disabilities, just as it does for individuals
who face persecution based on their religious beliefs, political
views, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Although the Board
of Immigration Appeals ruled against granting asylum to this particular
man because of improving conditions in Mexicos mental health
institutions, the boards decision established the right of
people with disabilities to seek asylum in the United States. This
was the first such case, says Kanter, director of the Office
of Clinical Legal Education. Since the case was decided two
years ago, at least a dozen other cases have been filed throughout
the United States.
strengthen research and knowledge in the disability area, the College
of Law and the School of Education created a joint degree program
this spring that gives students with an interest in law and educationespecially
disability studiesthe opportunity to receive a law degree
and a masters degree in education in three years. This
unique program will build upon the well-established and internationally
renowned strengths of SU in the disability field, says Kanter,
who was instrumental in developing the program with School of Education
professor Steve Taylor G77. Few universities have such
a long and successful track record in disability research, academic
programming, advocacy, and faculty productivity.
a group, people with disabilities have been deprived of fundamental
rights, including liberty, education, privacy, family, and employment,
Kanter says. More than 600 million people worldwide have some kind
of disability; two-thirds of these individuals live in developing
countries where they may suffer from abuse, segregation, and discrimination.
Kanter, who has worked in the disability rights field for 20 years,
became interested in asylum for people with disabilities several
years ago when she began working with Mental Disability Rights International,
a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., that advocates ending
abuse of people with disabilities. She was recently appointed to
the United Nations International Watch Committee to work on
a proposed UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities,
and she was hired by the National Council on Disability, a federal
executive agency, to draft a paper on disability and foreign assistance.
invites students in her Disability Law class to work on independent
projects as part of the course, and many of them conduct research
comparing disability laws in various countries. There are
many reasons to do this kind of work, she says. Legal
advocacy and scholarship with and for people with disabilities can
actually save lives, while bringing attention to the abuse and discriminatory
treatment of people with disabilities that continue to exist in
Conflict Management Center (CMC) coordinator Lina Svedin,
standing, leads a monthly lunch discussion with CMC associates.
At this meeting, Svedin is focusing on conflict management
designed specifically for non-governmental organizations.
Conflict into Opportunity
Chinese word for crisis consists of two charactersone representing
threat and the other opportunity. That understanding
of crisis as opportunity serves as the foundation for the Conflict
Management Center (CMC) at the Maxwell School. Conflict can
be threatening because it is potentially hostile, says Lina
Svedin, the centers coordinator and a political science doctoral
student. Thats why people run away from conflict.
However, through such conflict management techniques as those practiced
at the CMC, difficult situations can be resolved through mutual
agreement. We view conflict as a situation that provides possibilities
for finding an equitable solution for meeting the needs of opposing
groups, Svedin says.
educational project of the Program on the Analysis and Resolution
of Conflicts (PARC), the CMC offers training programs in interpersonal
conflict resolution, negotiation, meeting facilitation, and supervisory
mediation to the University community and beyond. Weve
had unprecedented opportunities this year to offer training and
help resolve conflicts, Svedin says.
centers recent activities included mediating conflicts between
individuals, working with the Eastside Neighbors in Partnership
to teach conflict resolution skills to at-risk youth, and training
members of two fraternities that were suspended for fighting. In
working with the fraternities, we focused on the leadership of the
houses, discussing with them the issues underlying the dynamics
of conflict, Svedin says. The fraternity leaders worked with
the center to develop a joint plan for training other house members,
and executed that training themselves with guidance from center
staff. As former president of one of the fraternities involved,
Marc Klein 03 found the experience valuable. The members
came away with a much stronger understanding of the severity of
the events that transpired and how they could be avoided in the
future, he says.
center also trained mediators for the Office of Human Resources
new staff complaint process, offering custom-designed sessions that
covered the basics of mediation and featured skills demonstrations
and role playing. It went very well, and the centers
staff members were very accommodating, says Curlene Autrey,
director of resolutions processes. Mediation is so important
to this process, because we hope most staff complaints will be remedied
at that level.
in the late 1980s, the centerwhich is staffed primarily by
volunteers from across the Universityconducts Train
the Trainer sessions each fall and spring. A 25-hour mediation
training is offered during the spring semester for individuals interested
in serving as volunteer mediators with the CMC or qualifying to
mediate in the New York State court system. This year theres
been more interest in volunteering than ever before, Svedin
says. Its a positive experience that provides good,
basic, applicable skills, whether or not you want to pursue this
as a profession.
Linda Shires has taught English at SU since 1981, but this term
she tried something completely new: teaching an online course.
She found it quite different from her classroom experiences. Because
the teacher and student never see each other, they connect through
their words, which must be chosen carefully and shared consistently.
Regular posting isnt an option, its a requirement,
Shires says. There is no sitting back among class members.
They have to remain in conversation with each other and with me
for the course to work.
benefit of online education, Shires believes, is that shy students
or reserved teachers have more opportunities to be expressive.
As a teacher, Im more open online, somewhat more talkative,
and just as passionate about what I teach, she says. In
her Remembering the Holocaust class, Shires finds students dare
more in the online version. I teach about historical
trauma and various representations of it, says Shires, who
first taught the class on campus during the fall 2001 semester
when the September 11 terrorist attacks occurred. Yet that
event came into our classroom discussions comparatively little.
In contrast, the online classbeing a mixed-age groupbrought
to its discussions a more wide-ranging frame of reference, a broader
knowledge base, and a greater willingness to explore other historical
traumas. They did not hold back from sharing films or books
theyve seen or information theyve discovered or their
reactions to 9/11, the Challenger tragedy, terrorism, or
Iraq, she says.
an element of openness is essential for a student to learn and
grow as a person. She values her online students frankness,
which extends beyond discussing intellectual issues to sharing
emotions and personal stories, as well as disagreements of interpretation.
I like this, she says. As a teacher, it requires
me to flex all my muscles and have a sense of never knowing what
I will find or need to draw upon in myself when I put my cursor
over Discussion Board.
course is one of several online offerings made available by various
SU academic departments through University College each semester
and during the summer months. Selected credit courses can be completed
entirely over the Internetallowing for geographic and scheduling
flexibilityand used toward the fulfillment of requirements
for degree programs at SU or other schools. Central to UCs
mission is an effort to serve the needs of the nontraditional
student, says Robert Colley, associate dean of marketing
and distance education at UC. Online education enables us
to extend our reach. It is an important element in our mix of
flexible formats that appeal to a diverse student population.
Syracuse University last September, six officials from the Indonesian
National Center for Family Planning (BKKBN) took an unscheduledbut
inspiringtrip to the National Womens Hall of Fame in
Seneca Falls, New York. The officials were here to receive assistance
from the School of Educations Training Systems Institute (TSI)
to enhance the quality of their organizations human resources.
Professor Philip Doughty encouraged them to tour the landmark during
their stay. You couldnt get them out of there,
recalls Doughty, executive director of TSI, which provides educational
training to local, state, national, and international communities.
Here were these Indonesian women learning about American women
who improved the lives of other womenjust as theyre
doing in their country. It was a powerful experience.
underscored the mission of BKKBN, a government agency that employs
50,000 people to provide quality reproductive health services in
Indonesia. It also dovetailed with the purpose of their visitto
develop a proposal to partner with TSI in creating an international
training center for BKKBNs staff and other family planning
workers from around the world. The center would be modeled after
whats known in the United States as a corporate universitya
facility that provides training and staff development to increase
productivity, motivation, and professionalism in the workplace.
Drawing on University
and community resources, Doughty and his team of students, faculty,
and administrators arranged for the Indonesians to visit the BlueCross
BlueShield corporate university in Seneca Falls. The group of Indonesian
officials, which included two SU graduates, also met with the Universitys
human resources office, a local family planning agency, and a mental
health center in Utica to observe the inner workings of these related
organizations. They participated in numerous workshops, seminars,
and discussions that culminated in a final proposal to be submitted
to the Indonesian government. If the proposal is accepted, TSI will
consult on the project and help BKKBN develop its corporate university.
the project exemplifies SUs push for multidisciplinary initiativesa
component of the Academic Plan. This project is a community
venture, he says. One department doesnt own all
the knowledge, which makes the larger University a critical factor
in terms of helping BKKBN. We built upon expertise from other departments
and good relationships with outside organizations, which is what
a university should be about.
Services & Health Professions
Medicine and Therapy
patient who suffers from chronic headaches visits a doctor.
When the patient claims to experience every possible side
effect from the prescribed medication and fears the onset
of a brain tumor, the physician refers the patient to a
family therapist for treatment of an anxiety-related illness.
This is just one example of the cases that Department of
Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) professor Suzanne Haas-Cunningham
manages in her role as clinical director of the Family Medicine/Family
Therapy Program at SUNY Upstate Medical University. The
collaborative training program brings together four MFT
graduate students with residents from St. Josephs
Hospital family practice residency program in Syracuse.
The group meets weekly in joint therapy sessions with clients
who have been referred by physicians from a family practice
associated with SUNY Upstate. As family therapists,
we try to get relationship-oriented cases, Haas-Cunningham
says. We believe health and stress are related to
the family relationships you maintain.
purpose of this collaboration is to link the two professions
by integrating medicine and therapy. When youre
trained in family therapy, you tend to look at relationships
as primary; but when youre trained in the medical
field, you see the physical body as primary, she says.
We need to consider all aspects of a persons
healthnot just the isolated parts.
a doctor makes a referral, Haas-Cunningham invites the client
to participate and assigns an MFT student to conduct the
therapy session. Haas-Cunningham, the other MFT students,
and the medical residents then observe the session from
behind a one-way mirror. Following the session, the client
and therapist receive feedback from the students and residents.
residents aid clients in a variety of ways, including offering
informed suggestions from a medical perspective. Their
input is especially helpful when a patient expresses dissatisfaction
with the relationship with his doctor, or is confused about
medication, Haas-Cunningham says. But most importantly,
the residents encourage patients to go back and talk with
Rosenberg, an MFT doctoral candidate and student therapist,
says this collaborative approach between doctors and therapists
was one reason she was drawn to the program. Ive
always believed in the value of that connection, she
says. Haas-Cunningham, who has run the program since 1990,
agrees the connection is important. The students learn
about observation, therapy, and being part of a team that
includes a medical person, she says. The program
provides a service to the clients and trains professionals
to learn from and connect with each other.
& Computer Science
U.S. soldiers arriving on foreign lands often navigate unfamiliar
terrain to complete their missions. SU engineering researchers
are among a team of scholars helping these soldiers better
envision their environment. With funding from the U.S. Department
of Defenses Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative,
the team is working on the Mobile Augmented Battlespace Visualization
project to provide military units with accurate, coherent,
three-dimensional renderings of landscapes, including details
of building facades, over a short time period. Were
trying to combine information from a variety of sourcesradar,
sonar, intelligence reports, maps, observations from the airto
create a consistent and accurate picture for the ground soldier
who may only have a laptop, says electrical engineering
and computer science professor Pramod Varshney, who heads
SUs research team.
Professor Pramod Varshney points to pictures of the
SU campus and the Carrier Dome that demonstrate how
the visualization research project he is involved with
professors Kishan Mehrotra and Chilukuri Mohan, and several
electrical engineering and computer science graduate students
make up SUs division of the multiuniversity team. Other
team members include researchers from the University of Californias
Berkeley and Santa Cruz campuses, Georgia Tech, and the University
of Southern California. The team hopes to complete a prototype
within the next two years, Varshney says.
group is responsible for information fusion (integrating the
various information sources into one) and representing, calculating,
and conveying the uncertainty of the information. For example,
a soldier may report seeing tanks moving westward from a camp
at 6 p.m. He then may have to estimate the tanks speed,
direction, or numbers. No matter what information we
have, there will be some uncertainty associated with it, and
we need to be able to calculate how reliable the information
is and visually convey that to the decision-maker, Varshney
says. One way the SU researchers have tried to depict this
uncertainty on a computer screen is by displaying a sharp
dot with a fuzzy ring around it. The dots movement (representing
the tanks in the example) could be predicted based on information
gathered from a variety of sources that have been coalesced
using complex equations and statistics.
and graduate student Qi Cheng says she is grateful for the
opportunity to apply her knowledge of algorithms and statistics
toward the development of a marketable product. This
project has given me the opportunity to do research and see
how it is used to solve a specific problem, she says.
Although the researchers are currently focused on military
applications, the knowledge and processes developed in the
project can be transferred to fuse information and calculate
uncertainty in such areas as economics, medicine, and the
environment. The research could have countless applications,
Longstaff looks to a pack of wolves to help understand why the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) Telecommunications Act of 1996legislation
that was created to encourage competitionactually led to more
cooperation among cable, telephone, and other communications companies.
In her book The Communications Toolkit: How to Build and
Regulate Any Communications Business (MIT Press, 2002), Longstaff
explains how wolves banding together to protect themselves from
danger correlates to media companies like Time Warner and AOL merging
to pool their resources and remain competitive in a technologically
advancing global market. If you look at ecological systems,
you could have actually predicted those corporate mergers and partnerships,
says Longstaff, professor of television-radio-film and communications.
Introducing new competition into a system encourages cooperation.
on examples from such disciplines as ecology, economics, theology,
and world history, Longstaffs book introduces revolutionary
theories to help businesspeople and policy makers around the world
keep up with the constantly changing communications industry. She
creates a new framework for communications businesses and explains
how all media are constructed from the same building blocks and
follow a similar set of rules. Instead of regulating newspapers,
radio stations, or cable companies, we should regulate senders,
channels, coding and decoding, and receiving devices, says
the former communications and corporate lawyer. Then wed
apply the same regulations to everyone regardless of the medium
or the technology used.
book is already being used in classrooms at Harvard University,
where she is a research associate at the Center for Policy Research.
A supporter of the Academic Plans commitment to interdisciplinary
studies, Longstaff is working with SU statistics faculty on a study
to help predict the characteristics that make for a top grossing
Hollywood movie. She also hopes to participate in a project with
SUs Systems Assurance Institute to examine how such complex
communications systems as telephone and Internet connections can
be safeguarded against terrorists. Longstaff shares her expertise
on communications issues as a member of the U.S. State Departments
Committee on International Communication and Information Policy.
I like to think of myself as a pivot point between disciplines,
she says. I look at a lot of disparate information and see
what it all has in common to understand the bigger picture.
of the 31 New York City elementary school teachers sitting
around kid-sized tables in the Seymour Magnet School library
in Syracuse last summer had not been on the student
side of the classroom for many years. The teachers, enrolled
in the School of Information Studies Preparing Librarians
for Urban Schools (PLUS) program, were listening to a lecture
on how to teach information literacy skills to children.
After spending 10 days on campus for orientation and initial
courses, the teachers have continued their studies from
home, communicating with faculty via the Internet. I
already loved what I was doing, says Gayle Richardson,
a Brooklyn elementary school librarian. It can only
was among the first group of teachers to participate in
PLUS, a distance learning program that enables them to earn
masters degrees in library science. Under the direction
of Professor Ruth Small, School of Information Studies faculty
members restructured the library science curriculum for
the PLUS program to reflect the specific needs of library
media specialists working in inner-city elementary schools.
The PLUS program is part of the 21st Century School Librarianship:
Reinventing Urban School Libraries initiative, designed
to radically change New York City elementary school libraries
during the next five years.
initiative is the result of an unprecedented public-private
partnership among SU, the New York City Department of Education,
a variety of corporations and architectural firms, and the
Robin Hood Foundation, which supports anti-poverty initiatives
in New York City. The Robin Hood-led project includes renovating
most of New York Citys elementary school libraries;
equipping the libraries with the latest technology; stocking
the libraries with a core collection of books and software;
and providing opportunities for teachers to be trained and
certified as librarians. These libraries are important
educational tools for our communities, says David
Saltzman, executive director of the Robin Hood Foundation.
initiatives first phase included opening 10 pilot
libraries. Twenty-one more libraries are scheduled for completion
by the end of 2003. The teachers apply what they learn
from us to their work with children in these beautiful new
school libraries, Small says. This initiative
is a wonderful opportunity for us to be part of a program
that helps disadvantaged kids reach their full potential.
Holmes and Christine Yackel
This poster was created by Michelle Dickens 03
based on a haiku written by local poet Ellen M. Agnew.
Art Celebrates the City
It didnt take long for illustration major Michelle Dickens
03 to decide which haiku she wanted to illustrate for
a class assignment. Drawn to the graceful message
of a poem about Thornden Park roses, she worked in watercolors,
finding their transparent look and soft feel appropriate
to the poems tone and message. The haiku I chose
had a beautiful flowing quality, she says. I try
to retain a sense of beauty in everything I paint.
was one of the 27 students in Department of Visual Communication
professor Roger DeMuths advanced illustration class
to receive an unusual fall assignment: selecting and illustrating
a haiku about an aspect of Central New York life for submission
to the Syracuse Poster Project, a collaborative initiative
involving students, local poets, and the business community.
This yearthe projects second16 student creations
were selected for reproduction as posters to be exhibited
by the Downtown Committee of Syracuse in kiosks located in
the citys center. The project brings together
local poets and Syracuse University art students to create
city-based poetry posters, says Jim Emmons, who originated
and coordinates the project, which this year was supported
by a grant from the Central New York Community Foundation
and sponsored by HSBC Bank. The idea is to make the
downtown area more vibrant and to celebrate the city.
In addition to displaying the posters on the downtown kiosks,
the project frames a set of small prints for rotating, month-long
loans to downtown exhibition spaces. Prints of the posters
are also available for sale, in the hopes that the project
can eventually become self-sustaining.
says participation in the project provides numerous benefits
for students, including the experience of taking their artwork
from its raw stage through such processes as scanning,
digitizing, selecting type, outputting, and making color corrections.
The students learn a lot and enjoy it, DeMuth
says. And the project gives them some great exposure.
means a lot to young artists like Dickens, who hopes to work
in the animation industry and plans to attend graduate school.
This project was exciting because it was closely related
to the assignments I expect to get as a professional,
she says. The exposure in town is a wonderful kickoff
to the work world.
When the Reverend
Kate Bell arrived at Hendricks Chapel last fall, the new chaplain
of the Interdenominational Protestant Campus Ministry (IPCM) embraced
the challenges of serving a campus of diverse students with unique
religious and spiritual needs. It didnt take Bell long to
realize that not only did she need to guide the spiritual paths
of campus members, but she must also ensure the ministrys
financial future. Were utterly dependent on donations,
Bell says. Were running on a deficit budget, so I spend
much of my time fund raising and promoting our work to our sponsors
instead of building spiritual relationships with them.
To help ease
the burden of fiscal concerns and refocus on ministry work, IPCM
has launched a $1.5 million campaign to endow the chaplains
chair through the sale of limited edition prints of Syracuse University
landmarks. The prints, created by local artist and retired Syracuse
adjunct art professor Francis Sweeney, feature black-and-white images
of the Saltine Warrior sculpture located in front of Shaffer Art
Building, Hendricks Chapel, Crouse College, and the old University
commercial area. The 8-by-11-inch matted prints are being sold in
sets of four for $175 and can be viewed online at hendricks.syr.edu/
ipcm.html. (Orders can be made online or by calling 315-443-5040.)
Only 100 sets will be produced, and each will be numbered and signed
by the artist. The owners names will be recorded in a permanent
registry maintained by Friends of the Arts, a local business.
also intends to commission a set of limited edition color prints
by Sweeney that will depict a variety of activities within and around
Hendricks Chapel. People have so many memories associated
with Hendricks Chapel, Bell says. We want to capture
those special memories of the chapel in their seasonal settings.
The IPCM represents
the interests of four Protestant denominations: the Presbyterian
Church, the United Church of Christ, the American Baptist Churches,
and the United Methodist Church. Bell leads the 11 a.m. Sunday service
in Hendricks Chapel, which often attracts non-Christians and Christians
from other denominations. My first priority is to be loving
and welcoming to everyone on campus, Bell says. I would
like to be able to devote more time to that goal. Having an endowed
chair will enable me to do so.