A vision for the future-whether lofty or practical-becomes real by inches. Thus when the SU community and I came together seven years ago to shape our desire to become the nation's leading student-centered research university, we all knew this wouldn't be a quick-fix project. Yet we also knew that certain immediate steps, which are described in the article on our vision in this issue were likely to yield good results fairly quickly. |
Accordingly, we instituted such measures as smaller classes for all our first-year students, a more responsive advising system, a more comprehensive method of assessing the relative values of teaching and research activities among our faculty, and a campus-wide quality improvement effort we call SUIQ (Syracuse University Improving Quality), among others.
Some projects are ongoing-such as creating more opportunities to engage students and faculty in collaboration on research or service activities. Others are just taking off-such as our new computer-based course registration system that will virtually eliminate the waiting and frustration sometimes associated with selecting, adding, and dropping courses. Still others are in discussion-such as curricular changes that will enable all Syracuse University students to learn more about the diversity that awaits them in their careers and professions.
Throughout this process of incremental change, there will be steady progress toward the goal. Not all our efforts will succeed. Some will lead us in unexpected directions. Some will be unmitigated triumphs. At the same time, however, we know we will never really get "there." A student-centered research university, like all noble ideals, will always be a work in progress. But it will be a work in progress that yields some of the best, most creative, and most service-minded university graduates the nation could ever hope to have.
Kenneth A. Shaw
Chancellor and President