A university that has recently dropped down the college ranking lists is hoping to reverse its situation under a new chancellor.
Syracuse University has suffered from a poor college list ranking due to its practice of admitting minority and poorer students who may not have adequate grades or SAT scores. The incoming chancellor, Kent Syverud, intends to change this approach.
The outgoing chancellor, Ms Nancy Cantor, was notorious for ignoring college rankings, describing them as having a “volatility and mystery” which was created in order to sell more education magazines, citing the U.S News and World Report as a chief culprit.
Her time at Syracuse University saw her adopt a radical and controversial initiative in order to increase the diversity of the students at the college, wanting more students from poorer economic backgrounds and minority ethnic groups. Her policy, criticized for being liberal, was successful, but it may now find its remit curbed as Ms Cantor takes up another post at Rutgers University.
Her successor, Mr Ken Syverud, is concerned about college rankings. It has not yet been made clear how he will attempt to change or reverse the diversity program put in place by Ms Cantor, nor how changes will affect the makeup of the campus.
In a radio interview given in November 2013, which focused on college rankings, Chancellor Syverud, commented “They are imperfect, their metrics are manipulable and in some ways they’re quite troubling what they value, but they matter because they affect decision-making of constituencies that matter to universities.” It seems that his pro-college rankings approach has found favor with Syracuse University students. The student-produced college paper commended his “recognition of the importance of rankings.”
Kent Syverud will be leaving a position as the dean of a Washington University law school in St Louis, and has announced plans to institute changes to the current recruitment practice soon after he takes up his new role. Ms Cantor stated she understood Mr Syverud believed in making college education available to as many classes as possible, but made no mention of their likely different approaches.
Chancellor Cantor’s time at the university saw undergraduate enrollment rise by 22%. Her scheme specifically targeted those in urban centers, which resulted in an increase in enrollment of minority and poor students. This contrasts sharply with the figures from a decade earlier, which showed that less than a fifth of the students at Syracuse University were from these groups.