Editorial Board

Syracuse University’s strategy to promote STEM programs doesn’t mean other programs will be shorted

Kiran Ramsey | Senior Design Editor

Some Syracuse University faculty are concerned about a renewed focus on STEM programs diminishing other academic disciplines.

The administration’s proposed shift to promote Syracuse University as a leading STEM institution may outwardly seem like the university is giving other academic disciplines the short end of the stick. But the promotion of SU’s STEM programs should be encouraged due to the quality of research and work coming out of these disciplines, and SU is right to capitalize on those ventures.

Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly’s announced at March’s University Senate meeting that she and SU’s academic deans had discussed a proposal to establish a STEM branding strategy across the university.

Some faculty members expressed surprise about the strategy and skepticism about what it could mean for the university’s other academic disciplines, especially those that fall under the “arts” category in the College of Arts and Sciences. Some said the proposal demonstrated a lack of transparency and failure to involve faculty members in significant academic discussions.

Transparency is not an issue at hand in this discussion, though. Wheatly, whose job entails promoting the university’s academic disciplines, met with academic deans to discuss a proposal that she then delivered to the senate.

Faculty must understand this strategy does not mean SU is exclusively STEM-focused. An emphasis on the university’s STEM programs would bring attention to a blossoming section of SU that is often overshadowed by the prestige of programs in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Branding STEM fields and promoting the College of Arts and Sciences’ liberal arts disciplines are not mutually exclusive. It makes sense to promote the STEM fields, which are highly competitive and profitable in the modern workforce, in efforts to recruit talented students and boost the esteem of these burgeoning programs.

It makes sense for the university to better brand its successful disciplines. Maxwell and Newhouse are a few of the colleges that have highly regarded reputations, and if SU’s STEM programs have that potential, administrators should capitalize on it. There is no reason the university should hold back on promoting its assets, especially when it doesn’t come at the expense of its other programs.

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