Syracuse University

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SU promotes Learning Communities co-founder as director of residence life

January 15, 2009

Matthew R. Snyder
(315) 443-7082

Matthew R. Snyder

As Syracuse University welcomed students back to campus for the Spring 2009 semester, the Division of Student Affairs appointed veteran residence life leader Terra L. Peckskamp as director of residence life.

In this role, Peckskamp will lead the Office of Residence Life (ORL), which provides staff and educational programming for SU's residential community of more than 7,000 students. Every year, ORL staff conduct more than 1,200 programs for students, helping contribute to an educationally stimulating living and learning environment on the SU campus.

"Terra's educational background, proven leadership skills, rich residence life experience, innovative programming abilities and outstanding capacity to collaborate with staff, faculty and students across the University make her an excellent choice for this position," says Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz, associate vice president-inclusion, community, and citizenship. "The Division of Student Affairs and Syracuse University are fortunate to have Terra as an exceptional member of our team."

Peckskamp's appointment is effective immediately. She was previously interim director of residence life, a position she assumed in September 2008 as part of the Division of Student Affairs' reorganization. She fills the position formerly held by Kantrowitz.

"I am thrilled to serve as director of the Office of Residence Life at Syracuse University," says Peckskamp. "The students and staff who work with ORL are incredibly talented, and I am excited by the possibilities that the future holds."

Peckskamp joined SU in 1999 as coordinator for academic initiatives in ORL. In this role and later as director of learning communities for student affairs, she was instrumental in the University-wide collaboration that launched SU's Learning Communities program. Under Peckskamp's guidance, the program has grown from just two communities into a thriving, nationally recognized model with more than 30 learning community options and thousands of students participating each year. Peckskamp has also been engaged in ORL's assessment projects, grant writing, faculty and staff development opportunities, and strategic planning initiatives.

For her efforts, the Division of Student Affairs and the University have recognized her numerous times, including with the 2002 Exemplary Achievement Award and several Senior Vice President's Awards for Excellence, Students First, Assessment and Quality. She is also the recipient of the 2002 Outstanding Research Award from the American College Personnel Association-College Student Educators International, a leading professional organization for student affairs.

Prior to joining SU, Peckskamp spent three years as the coordinator of student development for the Office of Residence Life at California State Polytechnic University, where she directed a residence hall of 600 first-year students, oversaw resident advisor selection, operated the Peer Judicial Review Board, and provided on-call crisis management.

Before that, Peckskamp's experience with student affairs administration stretches back to her undergraduate experience at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she served as a resident advisor and student hall director while completing a bachelor's degree in management. While attaining a master's degree in student affairs administration from Michigan State University, Peckskamp was a graduate assistant in that university's Office of Residence Life. At present, she is in the process of completing a Ph.D. in higher education administration at SU.

For more information on ORL, visit

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