Syracuse University

Chancellor Cantor's White Paper on Scholarship in Action
Below is Chancellor Cantor's white paper articulating the Scholarship in Action vision, which was issued in April 2005.

Scholarship in Action: Investing in the Creative Campus


As we think about where we want Syracuse University to be five to 10 years from now, we should continue to focus-and extend upon-our many strengths, such as Maxwell and Newhouse. We will promote our reputation-nationally and internationally-as a university where excellence is connected to ideas, problems, and professions in the world-a place where excellence is tested in the marketplace.

Our great strength as a University is based on the interactive and collaborative nature of many of our programs, where faculty and students learn, discover, and create through deep engagement and exchanges with practitioners and communities throughout the world. We see this clearly in the work of our journalists, artists and architects, experts on government and public affairs, or technology and information studies. So, as we build selectively on traditions of excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences, the focus should be on scholarly areas in the humanities and sciences that also connect to the world, such as Religion and Society, or Environmental Systems. When we build excellence in our professional schools it should be done in a disciplined and focused way, connecting our emerging strengths in areas such as business, law, and engineering, to our highly visible strengths such as communications and public affairs. These truly interdisciplinary areas will resonate with real societal needs providing rich opportunities for new approaches and ideas-creating contexts that act as catalysts for transformational discovery.

Syracuse University is a place where creative exchanges occur easily across disciplines and colleges. We want our students to feel they have been given real, entrepreneurial opportunities in settings where students with diverse interests from diverse backgrounds can "mix it up." Our newest interdisciplinary programs, such as the Bandier Entertainment Industries Program or Goldring Arts Journalism Program, and our cross-campus Renée Crown Honors Program and Soling Program, have this profile of breaking new ground, as professors, students, and practitioners intersect on and off campus.

Discovery and learning at Syracuse must have no physical boundaries as we test ideas in the marketplace, be it through community geography or social entrepreneurship, technology commercialization and school reform, or immersions on Theatre Row or Wall Street, and partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) abroad or the Indigenous nations at home in Central New York. We have significant precedents for scholarship-in-action in all of our professional schools and in University-wide internship programs. We will now take our traditions even further, aggressively connecting to the world through active engagement with community, industry, practitioners, governments, and the professions, at home and abroad.

To reach our goals, we will make transformational investments in three areas:

  • Faculty excellence and scholarly distinction. The academic reputation of the University and the quality of the education we can offer is defined by the quality of our faculty. We recommend setting up eight to 10 thematic clusters within and across colleges to play on faculty strengths. This would involve identifying or hiring star or rising-star faculty members and colleagues who can collaborate in work of intellectual richness and potential for future impact. This work should offer possibilities for synergy both within the University and outside in partnership with others, and should have promise for substantial, long-term external funding. This effort will require superb doctoral/professional students, able to excel at the interfaces of the disciplines.
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  • Access initiatives for enterprising students. We want to attract excellent students with bold and diverse interests who will seize and build upon SU's interdisciplinary and engagement opportunities to "color outside the lines." To do this, we will offer access initiatives and a range of strategically developed recruitment tools. We want to enhance our ability to attract and enable students from all socio-economic and cultural spheres to come to Syracuse and experience the creative campus on and off the "Hill." By doing so, we aim to expand and further institutionalize the inclusive policy interwoven throughout SU's history.
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  • Engagement with the world-downtown, nationally, and globally. We need to be engaged with the world and the pressing concerns of the day, including the different voices pushing to be heard and the different practitioners in the fields and industries in which our faculty have roots, our students have ambitions, and our friends and alumni have connections. To do this we are reaching out-in a disciplined and programmatic manner-beyond our "Hill," renovating and leasing spaces, establishing programs and sustained presences in downtown Syracuse, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. We are raising our profile in the great cities of the world, from London to Beijing. From these centers of activity we will strategically connect to other locations around the world-underlining the global nature of "local" issues and industries, and the emerging opportunities for collaboration in areas of mutual strength and potential. These physical and programmatic presences will demonstrate Syracuse University's commitment to scholarship-in-action, integrating discovery, learning, and public engagement.
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