Michele Wheatly addresses Student Association, brings forward administration’s plans
Ally Moreo | Asst. Photo Editor
Syracuse University’s Student Association welcomed new Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly to address the voting members and student body on Monday.
Monday was Wheatly’s first time in front of SA, having been appointed by the university in May 2016.
The original plan was for Chancellor Kent Syverud to address SA, but he could not attend due to illness. Instead, Wheatly addressed assembly members on behalf of Syverud, reading from a script prepared for Syverud.
Wheatly began by thanking the students involved in SA, as she said their work is very influential to the overall structure of the university.
“The students of this university are both our greatest responsibility and our greatest resource,” Wheatly said.
Wheatly, through Syverud’s words, highlighted the progress of major initiatives the administration has spent a lot of time working on: the Academic Strategic Plan and the Campus Framework. Wheatly said she felt communication between faculty, staff and students is extremely necessary to help move the university forward.
“Shortly after the Chancellor’s arrival here nearly three years ago, he identified four pillars that are crucial to Syracuse University’s future: providing an outstanding undergraduate experience, empowering research excellence, fostering and supporting change and innovation and positioning Syracuse as the best university in the world for veterans,” Wheatly said.
Within the Academic Strategic Plan, there have been more than 130 people from all aspects of the university that have prioritized the goals from an academic standpoint. As vice chancellor and provost, Wheatly said one of her primary responsibilities is to address the academic affairs of the school.
This work has included many different initiatives. One of these initiatives is through the formation of an Internationalization Council, which will “advance the goal of fostering a global campus community,” Wheatly said.
The provost also referenced the work toward the National Veterans Resource Complex, the state-of-the-art facility that will provide a place for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and other related groups on campus and within the community.
Wheatly explained the launch of Orange SUccess, which she hopes will help students be able to retain the information provided to them throughout their time as a student.
“Retention is a significant indicator of our success in achieving our vision and mission,” Wheatly said.
After sharing her and Syverud’s thoughts, she opened the floor to questions, allowing SA voting members and non-voting members of the audience to ask her about items more personal to them.
Academic Affairs Chief James Franco, a junior history and political science double major, asked Wheatly about the use of library space. Franco expressed how an increase of students on campus has made it more difficult to use the library in its current state to study in groups.
Wheatly said she spends a lot of her time in between meetings in the library, and how “libraries have changed” with more space being opened up for group studying. She said the way students are studying in groups instead of individually is something that they have addressed and will continue to address.
Co-Chair of Community Engagement Kelsey Fowler, a senior geography and political science double major, asked Wheatly what the university is doing with its relationship with the city of Syracuse.
There are few universities throughout the country that have the city or place name, Wheatly said, so it is extremely important to maintain a close relationship. Referring to it as a “laboratory,” the relationship between the students and the community can be ever-changing and how the two can help each other improve.
Following Wheatly’s address, SA President Eric Evangelista and SA Vice President Joyce LaLonde spent time going through what they have been working on.
Evangelista said the Chat & Dine program that had been implemented by SA will continue this academic year, having not taken place during the 2015-16 academic year.
LaLonde added that Mental Health Awareness Week, an initiative that she has worked on very closely with the new Health Promotion Specialist Kristelle Aisaka, will take place Oct. 5-7.
Published on September 12, 2016 at 11:40 pm
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