News

Taking Risks and Reaping Rewards

Active Duty U.S. Air Force airman, Shaei Rodriguez, is finding unexpected returns pursuing an online undergraduate degree at Syracuse University.

Some people graduate from high school knowing exactly what they want to study in college. Others go straight into the workforce. For Shaei Rodriguez ’22, the path wasn’t so clear. He joined the United States Air Force after high school as a way to gain some wisdom and experience, and to help with the financial aspects of higher education.

Read Shaei’s full story here.

Announcing New Online Program: Computer Programming

University College announces a new online bachelor of professional studies program (BPS) in computer programming. The program was developed in response to employers seeking graduates who have the skills to meet the demands of the rapidly changing field of technology.

Employers are looking for individuals who have both soft skills and technical skills, are problem solvers and are passionate about technology. Computer programmers can choose a wide variety of career paths, including health care, criminal justice, defense contracting, finance and more.

Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of how and why computer systems work and how to design solutions that encompass functionality and usability. They will also learn how to manage projects, understand system limitations, and write and test the code that will run software applications and programs.

Syracuse University’s 120-credit Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) degree in computer programming is a fully online program with weekly interactive live sessions.

Registration is now open for the spring 2021 semester and classes begin Feb. 1. For more information, email parttime@syr.edu or call 315.443.9378 (toll free at 1.866.498.9378).

Skuse Family Creates Scholarship to Support Online Students

Terry G’75 and John Skuse have a long history of supporting Syracuse University through philanthropy and engagement with schools, colleges and athletic programs across campus. Their sons, Jeffrey ’05 and Brian ’04, are alumni of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and have gone on to become leaders in the fields of business and design.

As industry leaders, the Skuse family has witnessed the rapid changes taking place in higher education as students prepare to compete in a global marketplace. With the announcement of Syracuse University Global, Terry was interested to learn about its mission to expand the University’s continuing and professional education programming for post-traditional and non-residential students. It is that strategic initiative that prompted the Skuse family to establish the scholarship for University College that will support online students enrolled in a Bachelor of Professional Studies Degree Program (BPS) beginning with the fall 2021 semester.

Being an alumna and proud parent of two SU graduates, Terry is happy to support Syracuse University. “The initiative that SU’s University College is launching to share the SU undergraduate educational experience online is so relevant and exciting,” she said. “We are proud to see Syracuse University continuing to expand and engage non-traditional students and grow educational programs with this introduction of Syracuse University Global.”

The portfolio of BPS online undergraduate degrees continues to grow as University College responds to the demand for programs such as cybersecurity administration, healthcare administration and computer programming. Currently, University College offers five online BPS degree programs. That portfolio will grow as Syracuse University Global scales to provide an SU education to non-traditional learners from anywhere in the world. “Now, more than ever, students from around the world are demanding rigorous, interactive and engaging online academic programs that prepare them for career success and advanced degree opportunities,” says Michael Frasciello, dean of University College.

“The total cost of attending Syracuse University is a barrier to entry for so many part-time continuing students. This generous donation from the Skuse family to create a scholarship will help our students lower, and in some cases remove, that barrier,” says Frasciello. “This is the mission of Syracuse University Global and we are exceedingly grateful to the Skuse family for this support and vision.” The gift boosts the ongoing Forever Orange Campaign which supports students from diverse backgrounds who aspire to be Orange.

About Forever Orange

Orange isn’t just our color. It’s our promise to leave the world better than we found it. Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University is poised to do just that. Fueled by 150 years of fearless firsts, together we can enhance academic excellence, transform the student experience and expand unique opportunities for learning and growth. Forever Orange endeavors to raise $1.5 billion in philanthropic support, inspire 125,000 individual donors to participate in the campaign, and actively engage one in five alumni in the life of the University. Now is the time to show the world what Orange can do. Visit syracuse.edu/foreverorange to learn more.

7 Tips from a Post-Traditional Student if you are Considering Pursuing a Degree

Vincent Cuevas at the Barnes CenterVicente (Vinnie) Cuevas ’23 is a post-traditional student studying Creative Leadership through University College. Vinnie balances work, classes and wellness through connections with campus life. “As a student who has operated in a professional capacity, I think that the learning experiences I’ve had are unique. I can bring a different perspective into the classroom by sharing a real-world point of view on the workforce and the makeup of an organization.”

Take a look at Vinnie’s tips for other post-traditional students considering pursuing a degree:

  1. In the words of Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It.” Take that leap and start your learning journey.
  2. It’s never too late to enroll. Your road to a degree starts right where you are. Take that first step and don’t be afraid, no matter your age or prior experiences with higher education.
  3. Begin with classes that you feel confident about. Start with what you know, and then build on that knowledge.
  4. Make sure your work schedule can accommodate your class schedule, so there’s time for study and rest.
  5. Talk with your family or support system about the upcoming changes and how they might be able to help you meet obligations.
  6. Know your campus resources. Get to know your advisor. See what the library has to offer. Like any other student, you pay a student fee, so use the services that are available to you.
  7. Just be you. Don’t worry about trying to fit in or feeling like the odd person out. Bring your whole self. All of your mistakes, successes and prior experiences make you valuable. Don’t sell yourself short. You have a lot to offer by just being you.

More Questions with Vinnie

Life Takes Aisha Huntley on a Winding, Rewarding Educational Journey

Aisha Huntley PortraitFor many adults, it takes courage to walk through a door that can change the trajectory of their life. Oftentimes, that first step is taken with a mixture of hope and trepidation. Aisha Huntley ’05, G ’11 never imagined that she would find herself on the Syracuse University campus pursuing a bachelor’s degree after struggling to earn an associate degree at Onondaga Community College. “School had never been easy for me,” says Huntley. “I had to work so much harder than my peers.”

It was a University College billboard and radio ad that gave Huntley the courage to attend an information session to learn whether or not she had what it takes to be an SU student. “I walked into University College with a toddler in tow,” says Huntley. “After talking to an advisor, I politely told her I didn’t know what I was thinking and apologized for wasting her time. She wouldn’t let me leave without making another appointment to talk with her again and told me she would personally do whatever she could to help me succeed.”

Like many part-time students, Huntley was raising her daughters while working full time. “I had many blue-collar jobs that were decent, but not good enough,” she says. “With each new job came a yearning to do more, have more and be more. Not only for myself, but for my children.”

Huntley and her five siblings grew up in Syracuse and faced many hardships. They were able to navigate through the challenges of life by sticking together and having a strong, hard-working mother as a role model. “She was the key factor in keeping our family together,” Huntley asserts. “Though forced to endure difficulties, many that were beyond her control, my mother still managed to foster a strong sense of shared commitment to our family while focusing on our academic success.” Huntley said that her mother’s ability to remain resilient during unstable times was one of the reasons she was a driven to succeed.

Inspired by her mother’s strength and encouragement, Huntley returned to University College for another meeting with an academic advisor. They discussed her options, the timeframe for earning a bachelor’s degree and the financial resources available to her. Through the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), most of Huntley’s expenses were paid for. “I was shocked to learn I qualified for the HEOP program and was grateful for the guidance I received to secure the necessary funding to return to school.”

Huntley found that support, guidance and tough love from the staff at University College was crucial to her achievements. “The staff checked on me every step of the way to make sure I had everything I needed to be successful. During those early years, there were times my advisor even watched my daughter so I could complete homework assignments and attend group meetings.”

While Huntley considered earning a degree in education, she chose information management and technology, and after graduating, worked as an Information Technology Analyst. “I realized that if I remained in that field, I would forever be confined to a cubicle,” she says. “I never thought about being a teacher until friends and family encouraged me to pursue it. Teaching was not a profession I thought about as a child.” However, Huntley could imagine herself being a school administrator and returned to Syracuse University’s School of Education to earn a master’s degree in education.

Making an Impact

These days, Huntley teaches special education at Frazer Pre-K-8 School in Syracuse. She teaches all content area subjects to the 15 students in her class and every day is a challenge. “I teach them, listen to them, wipe tears, foster friendships and diffuse tense situations” she explains. “I tell them the difference between Common Core lessons and life lessons.” Teaching in room 220 at Frazer School, Huntley says that on any given day you can hear her say, “this is not a 220 lesson, this is a life lesson.”

There is no doubt that Huntley is making a significant impact on her students. She wants to ensure that they are not only school smart, but street smart as well.  “I talk to them about advocating for themselves, knowing when to walk away and the difference between right and wrong,” she says. “More importantly, I hold them accountable for their actions.”

Because Huntley grew up in Syracuse, she knows firsthand the challenges that some students face. It is that understanding that gives her the ability to authentically guide them. “It takes more than relying on what was learned in school or navigating lesson plans to make a difference in students’ lives,” she says.

Huntley now has a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) degree from St. John Fisher College. “I knew I wanted a doctoral degree, but it seemed out of my reach, especially since I didn’t have any role models who encouraged me to begin my education at a young age.” Huntley said earning each degree was an accomplishment she never dreamed was possible. “Defending my doctoral dissertation and receiving final editor approval was the proudest moment of my life.”

Reimagining her purpose and passion

Huntley reflects on her years of higher education and knows that she’s not quite done learning. She is back at the School of Education taking classes in pursuit of a Certificate of Advance Study (CAS) in Educational Leadership. She dreams of becoming a leader in social justice in order to influence change in urban, marginalized communities.

“I did not want my childhood reality to be that of my children, she says. “I dedicate all of my hard work, blood, sweat and tears to my four amazing daughters. I finally earned my seat at the table and they bear witness to that. I have four daughters and four degrees. I defied all expectations and you can too.”