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Growth: Byword of the iSchool's Operational Report for 2014-15

Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud delivers the keynote address at the iSchool's opening convocation event on September 19.

By: Diane Stirling
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Increased growth—in the most important ways academic institutions are measured—highlighted the report of operations for the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at its annual fall convocation event last week.

Dean Elizabeth D. Liddy presented a picture of significant growth and new achievements occurring in the areas of undergraduate and graduate school enrollment; application and matriculation rates; credit hours being taken; revenues; and the number of immersive learning experience participants. Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud was the keynote speaker.

For the first time, Dean Liddy noted, more than 1400 students are attending the iSchool, with student numbers at 1,424 this year. That total consists of 745 undergraduate and 679 graduate students. The entering class of first-year undergraduate students is the largest in the school’s history.

Another milestone for the first-year class is reflected in the 33-point increase in the mean SAT (math and verbal) scores that they entered with – the strongest academic class to date.

The school also experienced the highest rate of graduate program matriculations ever, Dean Liddy said, with 252 students admitted for the fall term and 85 for the summer. Summer enrollment reflected a larger online and distance student population.

More than 1,000 students have now experienced an immersive educational program developed at and hosted by the iSchool, the Dean reported. That number includes iSchool students, as well as those from every other Syracuse University home schools, as well as students from other academic institutions in the region (Le Moyne, SUNY-ESF RIT, Clarkson). 

The programs included in this count are the Student Sandbox; Spring Break in Silicon Valley and EntreTech NYC trips; AsiaTech and EuroTech; the MLB Challenge, and the various iSchool Road Trips.

Keynote speaker Chancellor Kent Syverud recognized that the significant degree of growth at the iSchool was, “… a meaningful measure of impact…of the range of things you’re doing. For you to do that, and grow like that in that period of time, is amazing.”

The Chancellor also noted that he recognizes how the iSchool has traits that parallel conditions he believes contribute to excellence in today’s academic climate. He listed these as: being savvy about technology and data; having a scrappy, entrepreneurial style; a genuine entrepreneurial-ness in approach to how things are done; and creating an environment where “normal” is defined by the people who inhabit it, rather than by others’ assumptions of what should be.

Citing the partnerships the iSchool uniquely has created with all the other schools of the university, he said this perspective reflects the School’s core value “that it is okay to be in an idiosyncratic niche while caring about the whole and contributing to it….an amazing culture that if expanded…would make us the greatest University.”

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