University College Announces New Associate Dean

Ryan O. Williams, Ph.D., has joined University College as associate dean of academic affairs. Williams will serve as chief academic officer providing leadership for and coordination of the college’s academic mission. He will be responsible for researching, developing and launching new market-sensitive undergraduate and graduate programs. He also has been appointed as an associate teaching professor in political science at the Maxwell School. Williams has worked at Syracuse University since 2002.

Williams began his career at the University as the assistant director of SU Abroad before becoming associate director of graduate studies in Maxwell’s International Relations Program. In 2009, Williams accepted a leadership position for the Maxwell School in Washington, D.C., serving as the assistant dean for Washington Programs. In this role, Williams led 200 students, 24 faculty and four staff members at the off-campus academic center. He reviewed and coordinated all aspects of the curriculum for graduate and undergraduate programs focused on international relations and public policy. Williams also managed and developed Maxwell partnerships with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and proposed and directed the Maxwell-CSIS Washington-based executive master’s program in international relations.

“Ryan brings to University College a broad knowledge of the University’s academic policies and protocols, a depth of experience designing innovative curricula, and a record of leadership and success building and implementing academic programs,” says Michael Frasciello, dean of University College. “With Ryan on our team, we are better positioned to execute the next phase of our institutional strategy to dramatically expand the University’s online programs portfolio.”

Williams earned a bachelor’s degree from Nazareth College of Rochester, a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, an M.B.A. from the Institut Supérierur Des Affaires, Hec School of Management in France, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the Maxwell School.

Pilot Project Gives Global Access to Student Research

As an English teacher in Vietnam, Mai Nguyen knows firsthand the crisis in the education system in her country. Her mission now is to call attention to the issue by bringing awareness to the relationships between teachers, parents and students in order to affect change.

Nguyen, who is a Fulbright Scholar, spent four weeks this summer in the English Language Institute (ELI) graduate studies program administered by University College. When the program required a research project, Nguyen knew exactly what she would explore—“Creating a Happy Educational Environment in Vietnam.” In her presentation, Nguyen talked about the disintegration of the education system due to miscommunication, violence and immense public pressure. Mental health issues, achievement syndrome and suicide among students are just a few of the topics Nguyen highlighted. Her poster project was presented to fellow students, instructors and administrators across campus.

Nguyen is now a graduate student in the School of Education majoring in teaching and curriculum. While her poster project is now hanging in her room, her research has been made available to a global audience through a partnership between the ELI and the Syracuse University Libraries.

SURFACE is an electronic database maintained and run by the Libraries. Its purpose is to utilize open access, a free repository of research articles available to readers across the globe. The database is available to faculty, students, alumni and authors who are, or were, affiliated with the University. “Other databases that are licensed through collections are not available to those who are no longer or have never been affiliated with Syracuse University,” says Amanda Page, open publishing and copyright librarian. She and her colleagues Tarida Anantachai and Deirdre Joyce spent months collaborating with the ELI staff and instructors to develop this pilot project. Graduate students Prathamesh Datar and Euphemia Brewer Fasama also assisted in the development.

“It’s a great resume builder and because the students’ works were published as open access, they will retain all copyright of their posters and research,” says Page. “This project helps the students when they go on to another college or university. It gives them a head start—they’ve done the research, cited their sources correctly and had it published.”

“For international graduate students like Mai Nguyen and her fellow Fulbrighters, providing this opportunity to publish their ideas on a platform like SURFACE is extremely motivating,” adds ELI Director David Lind. “By making these ideas accessible and free to anyone, anywhere in the world, Syracuse University Libraries is doing a great service to international education.”

Nguyen’s first graduate course this semester was Understanding Educational Research. Through her poster project in the ELI, she was able to share what she learned with the hope that one day, she’ll return to Vietnam and contribute something to the educational system. “This project reminds me why I’m here,” she says. “This is a global topic. For many in education, there needs to be mindfulness in teaching, learning and communicating.” Nguyen says that mindfulness is just one of the solutions to a better system of education. “If the people in Vietnam, especially the parents, know about a situation they will have greater awareness of some of the issues students face.”

“Collaborating with the ELI and all of the contributors on this pilot project has been a joy,” says Anantachai, who is an outreach librarian. “It’s been really exciting to come together and expand the scholarly opportunities of this program, and especially to support the inspiring research and contributions of the Fulbright Scholars in the process.”

SURFACE, Syracuse University’s repository for local and global readers, was launched in 2010. Syracuse University Libraries’ Open Publishing Team is committed to providing all students, faculty and staff access to the resources and services needed to publish their research.

The ELI, established in 1979, provides a pathway to achieving English language proficiency. It delivers English courses for many purposes, including academic, business, general and law, and can customize courses for cohorts of students from across the globe.

Orange Appreciation Days/Winter Break Information

The University will be operating under its Orange Appreciation Days from 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, through Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. Normal business hours will resume on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. EST.

Units providing essential services that will remain operational during the Winter Break include Public Safety and Physical Plant and Maintenance. Some facilities, such as Bird Library, will be operational at reduced hours. Beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20, all buildings will be on a reduced occupancy schedule, and temperatures in most areas will be set at 60 degrees.

For full list of services during Winter Break/Orange Appreciation Days, please visit:

Looking Ahead to January

  • Newly admitted and returning students can register on MySlice over the break. We will be available Thursday, January 2, for students needing registration assistance. The registration deadline for Spring Session 1 is January 12. Register soon for best class selection.
  • Information sessions will be available online every Tuesday and Thursday. Register here to attend.
  • Visit us on campus Saturday, January 11, from noon to 4 p.m. or Sunday, January 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for help with financial aid, academic advising or bursar/registration.

Campus Classes Canceled on Monday, Dec. 2 – All Online Classes are Scheduled as Planned

Winter Weather AlertCentral New York is under a Winter Storm Warning, with forecast of icy conditions and significant snow accumulation today (Sunday, Dec. 1) and into tomorrow (Monday, Dec. 2). Syracuse University officials have determined to cancel on-site classes on Monday, Dec. 2. All online classes are scheduled as planned, including live sessions.

For full details about the closing and the essential campus student services that will remain available, please visit:

Celebrating Nontraditional Student Week: Carol Sagor

Carol SagorCarol Sagor is a mother of two, a fiancé, a professional transportation and construction specialist and a University College (UC) student. Sagor, who hopes to graduate in December 2020, is working toward a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering after completing two associate degrees in liberal arts and engineering science at Onondaga Community College. Sagor chose civil engineering after taking an aptitude test at the Onondaga/Cortland/Madison (OCM) BOCES. “The test showed I had a strong skill set in math, and science,” Sagor explains. “While I considered being a doctor, I knew that field wouldn’t be right for me.” She has a clear understanding of how things should be designed and built, so the experience reinforced her desire to become an engineer and led her to the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University.

Sagor put her coursework to use this past summer working for the New York State Department of Transportation, where she earned certification in concrete field testing. As a transportation and construction inspector, Sagor confirmed that the specifications for concrete were accurate and that contractors were pouring the concrete correctly.

This semester, Sagor is focusing on her education and her family. When she is on campus, she is fully dedicated to her learning. Like many adult students, Sagor knows that when she gets home, she will have to prepare dinner, help her son with his homework, and handle many other responsibilities—all before settling down to do her own homework.

Returning to school at UC after a gap in her education and career was initially very intimidating for Sagor, but discussions with her academic and financial advisors created a sense of excitement. “The advisors were helpful in explaining my options and offering information on grants and scholarships,” she recalls. “They also explained the opportunities a college degree could afford.”

Sagor said that being an adult student in classes with traditional-age students was somewhat daunting. “But all the professors I’ve had make me feel welcomed. They are encouraging and understanding of how my schedule is different than other students.” Sagor also said that having female engineering professors has been extremely inspiring. In turn, they are aware of the benefits Sagor’s life experience brings to the classroom.

As a first-generation college student, Sagor’s advice to others is to consider all your options. She also stresses the importance of asking questions. “I would never have received the information I needed to decide on a career in engineering if I hadn’t asked questions,” she says. “People are more than willing to help. You just have to have the courage to go after what you want.”