School of Information Studies (iSchool) professor Steven Sawyer has been appointed as a core faculty member of Syracuse University’s Renée Crown Honors Program. His term will run through the spring semester of 2020.

Honors Core faculty members help to shape Honors Program curriculum and policy, and assist with the program’s strategic planning. Their academic vision and scholarly rigor guide the program in matters crucial both to the larger Honors faculty and to Honors students.

“Faculty members in the Honors Program are an extraordinary group of scholar/teachers, superbly accomplished in their disciplines and deeply dedicated to the program,” said Chris Johnson, interim director of the program and professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “I am delighted that Steve will bring his expertise and commitment to Honors’ vision for undergraduate excellence to the group.”

“I’m excited to have the chance to lead an honors course and be more involved in the Honors Program,” said Sawyer. “The program represents many of the best attributes of undergraduate education at Syracuse, and draws together great students and passionate faculty from across campus. I’m so pleased to have the chance to represent the iSchool and participate in the program.”

As a part of his role, Sawyer will teach an honors course this semester that dovetails with his research on the gig economy. His course, “Working in the Digital Economy, or, My Boss is a Bot and All My Coworkers Are, Too,” provides students with a way of understanding and analyzing the changes in what it means to work, and to be a worker, by exploring centrality of work and working relative to how society is organized. 

“There are forces reshaping the working world, including an increased reliance on information-centered work, a concomitant increase in the uses of digitally-centered systems, a changing relationship among workers and employers,” explained Sawyer. “This is coupled with changing demographics and increasingly global labor markets – including the rise of software bots and robotics and new expectations of workplaces, like mobility, co-working, commuting, travel, hoteling, virtual collaboration, and other mediated working arrangements. This course will examine these forces and then I’ll steer course topics to reflect student interests.” 

An all-University program administered by the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), the Honors Program provides intellectual challenge and curricular enrichment through seminars, courses (including an intensive capstone project), special cultural events and close contact with faculty and students. It is named for Renée Schine Crown ’50, H’84, a civic leader and philanthropist who is a member of the A&S Board of Visitors and a member emerita of the University’s Board of Trustees.

The program also houses the Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA), which informs students, alumni and faculty of nationally competitive fellowship and scholarship opportunities. CSFA helps students and alumni identify scholarship opportunities relative to their interests and backgrounds and assists them through all stages of the application process.