Dear Orange Friends:
On Monday, the first day of fall semester classes, I attended an array of courses, as I do each semester. This time I saw School of Architecture/College of Engineering and Computer Science Professor Sinéad Mac Namara’s “Structures II” class, which addresses design of structural systems (with particular attention to the use of timber, concrete, and steel); School of Information Studies Professor Jeff Rubin’s “Information Technologies” class, an introductory course that attracts students from many schools and is required for iSchool first-years and transfers; and College of Arts and Sciences/Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs Professor Francine D’Amico’s “International Relations” class, which is offered particularly to new students in the Day Hall International Relations Learning Community.
These are three incredibly strong teachers who clearly care about and want to know their students. The subjects of the three classes did not overlap at all, but there were a few common attributes. The instruction is interesting and rigorous. The students are engaged and on time. And there are a lot of assignments, deadlines, readings, projects, and things to keep track of in each course. These things come at the students in many more formats than when most alumni attended Syracuse. It is clear that these professors keep track of student progress in many ways all semester, unlike my own frequent experience in college of anonymity until exams were upon me.
My strongest impression, however, is regret that I can’t do college over and take these courses. The substantive content and the skills obtained by being in these classes is pretty amazing. Combine that with professors who care, and it is hard to beat. I thank these teachers, and I am grateful there are many others like them across Syracuse University.