With much to celebrate and recognize as the new academic year gets underway, Interim Dean David Seaman recognized newcomers to Hinds Hall at last week’s fall convocation. He welcomed new faculty, post-doctoral staff members, and Ph.D. program students, celebrated employee service anniversaries, and discussed the School’s overarching sense of community. 

Recognized were:

New Faculty: LaVerne Gray and Joshua Introne, assistant professors; and John Jordan, visiting professor of practice and director of the Doctorate of Professional Studies program.

New Post-Doctoral staff: Melinda Sebastian and Mei Zhang.

New Doctoral Students (at 11, among the largest cohorts in recent years): Charis Asante Agyei, Dipto Das, Yiran Duan, Ania Korsunska, Leni Krsova, Sucheta Lahiri, Imelda Munoz, Ellen Simpson, Niraj Sitaula, Katerina Stanton, Jieun Yeon.

New Staff Members: Mike Frandrich, Molly Naef, and Ian Richardson (Enrollment Management Office); Monya Ghabarou (IT Department); Jelena Mlikota (Student Services); Natasha Woods (Student Services).

Employment Anniversaries: 18 employees celebrated milestone work anniversaries, as follows.

  • 35 Years: Deborah Nosky
  • 20 Years:  Lois Elmore, Martha Garcia-Murillo, Ian MacInnes, Sue Nemier, Jian Qin
  • 15 Years:  Paul Gandel
  • 10 Years: Marilyn Plavocos Arnone, Carlos Caicedo, Jason Dedrick, Jill Hurst-Wahl, Megan Macblane, Art Thomas, Bei Yu
  • 5 Years:  Jeff Hemsley, Nick Lyga, Jeff Saltz, Bryan Semaan.

A Welcoming Community

Addressing approximately 100 staff and faculty members and doctoral students at the event, Seaman noted that — even though he has been at Syracuse University since 2015 as dean of libraries and university librarian — he is a member of the incoming 2019 iSchool cohort as dean of the School of Information Studies.

Seaman spoke of his arrival in Syracuse, and his entry to the U.S. decades earlier as an international  student from England, both times when he knew no one in his new circles. He said he has appreciated the iSchool’s warm welcome and hopes all those who are new to SU understand they are now “in a special community, a supportive space, and part of an alumni group that you’ll have as an asset for the rest of your lives.”

He said he has been learning about the iSchool, its people, and its distinctive sense of community this summer by talking with staff, students, and faculty members, by attending alumni events, and by otherwise engaging in iSchool life.

“The importance of our community values to our success is a theme that comes up a lot as we describe the school to newcomers like me,” he explained. “We’re alert to things that can enhance that community or threaten it, and I find that rather engaging. I’m struck by the fact that the characteristics of our community are on our minds and that they impact our decision-making.”

“While the school is one of Syracuse University’s smaller ones in terms of student enrollment,” Seaman remarked, “we have a big reputation. We’re known as a school that is quick to try new things and that’s something I’m keen to protect.” The iSchool reminds him of the Tardis from a TV show he grew up with, he said:  “we’re bigger on the inside,” noting our impressive diversity of research interests and courses of study. Even though the school has a relatively small faculty and staff, “there is a boatload of things being accomplished here.”  

Seaman also spoke of two additional initiatives that are close to his heart: assuring that professional development opportunities are in place for faculty and staff, and enhancing diversity, inclusion, and equity to meet school-wide ambitions.