College of Professional Studies Creates New Department of Executive Education; Hires Executive Director

Art Thomas portraitUniversity College has been renamed the College of Professional Studies. For over 100 years, the college’s mission has been to provide educational opportunities to those whose only access to Syracuse University is through part-time study. The new name reflects the expanded purpose to serve students who desire to attend Syracuse through a college recognized for market-sensitive professional studies degree programs, accessible academic pathways and world-class online education.

Within the College of Professional Studies, the department of executive education has been established to develop responsive and market-sensitive credit, non-credit, continuing education and alternative credential courses and programs for students looking to complement existing credentials, advance their knowledge or redirect their careers.

The new department serves and supports the schools and colleges within the University to set strategic direction and coordinate partnership opportunities, developing strong working relationships with faculty, staff and external parties to identify and leverage instructional talent and opportunities for collaboration. The department’s additional near-term services will include identifying and analyzing challenges, opportunities, markets, competitors and industry trends.

Art Thomas, associate dean for career services and experiential learning at the School of Information Studies (iSchool), has been named executive director of the executive education department. Thomas began his career at Syracuse in 2001 as an adjunct professor. He became an assistant professor of practice in 2009. He consistently rose through the ranks becoming associate dean for academic affairs in the iSchool in 2015 and associate dean for career services and experiential learning in the iSchool in 2020.

“Art is a long-time collaborator with the college, an active supporter of our students and staunch advocate of our mission,” says Dean Michael Frasciello. “He is creative and thoughtful and has exceptional relationships throughout the University. We could not be more fortunate to have someone of Art’s depth, experience and entrepreneurial spirit designing and launching our new executive education strategy and programs portfolio.”

Thomas earned a bachelor of arts degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Brockport and a master of education degree in curriculum development and instructional media from SUNY at Buffalo, where he also completed his Ph.D. in research and evaluation – instructional systems design and management.

The College of Professional Studies at Syracuse University offers online and on-campus professional degrees, non-credit programs and executive education programs, delivering exceptional support and services to a diverse part-time student population seeking a Syracuse University education.

University College Launches Online Cannabis Education Programs to Meet Demand for Qualified Workers in the Industry

Written by: Andriana Ruscitto via Cannabis Business Times

Following New York legalizing adult-use cannabis in March, one university is already working to meet the growing demand for qualified and educated professionals in the emerging industry.

University College at Syracuse University, the academic college of continuing education and professional studies, has partnered with Green Flower, a cannabis education association, to offer four programs where individuals can receive non-credit certificates in Cannabis Education.

The four programs are: Healthcare and Medicine, Cannabis Law and Policy, The Business of Cannabis, and Cannabis Agriculture and Horticulture. Each course is six months and includes three eight-week online classes.

Individuals do not have to be a student at Syracuse to enroll in the course. University College Dean Michael Frasciello said the university expects the primary student population to be individuals already in the industry looking to upskill and further educate themselves or people looking to enter the industry. However, he suspects that more university students will show interest in the programs over time as the cannabis industry continues to expand.

Frasciello gives a general overview of each program:

The Cannabis Law and Policy program will cover business practices, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation, future opportunities in related career fields, intellectual property, social equity, labor law, environmental law and consumer law, including advertising, labeling and packaging, he said.

“What we expect that we’ll see interest in this program from lawyers who are practicing but want to build expertise in this area within their practice,” he said. “Certainly, paralegals, or others in specific areas of the industry like advertising, labeling and packaging, that need to have a [better] grounding in some of the legal and policy aspects of it.”

The Business of Cannabis program will cover a wide range of topics, from business to the fundamentals of cultivation. Some cultivation topics include processing, extraction, manufacturing, lab setup and protocols and distribution. While the business side covers retail, delivery, licensing, business ethics, marketing, human resources, sales, accounting, how to scale business operations, real estate, innovation, investment and more, he said.

“The interesting thing I think about this program is that students create a business portfolio,” he said. “Basically, the portfolio is [students] set up [their] own company and create a very high-level business plan. They will look at risk analysis, operations, project management and lots of case studies.”

The Health and Medicine program is specific to understanding medical cannabis properties, he said. The course will cover human physiology, health care ethics and law, the use of cannabis in health care practices for practitioners and more.

“Similar to where the business program has the portfolio, in this program, students [will be] partnered with integrated medical centers in the areas where they’re located or facilities to learn more about dosing, titration, administration—sort of drug interactions,” he said. “So, it [covers] some interactions that [they may] need to be aware of from a pharmacological perspective.”

The Agriculture and Horticulture program is the most “straightforward” of the four programs, he said.

Students run through how to engage in production effectively and sustainably, which includes management cultivation as well as statutory and administrative laws.

Similar to the other programs, Agriculture and Horticulture is also project-based, and students will be required to do case studies specific to their state on local jurisdiction for cultivation, he said.

“There is a chemistry or scientific component to the program [as well],” he said. “Students will cover plant chemistry, disease and threats, techniques and processes for harvesting and drying, trimming and processing, storage, and there’s a module on industrial hemp again. So, we are trying to attend to all of the opportunities within the industry.”

Frasciello added, “Our decision to make this a non-credit as opposed to a credit program is that the non-credit program allows us to customize better [the program] to meet workforce demand. When you attach a credit to something, there’s a lot of governance on the backend that has to come into play, and we felt that with the non-credit certificate, we could be more agile and responsive to the demand and interest as it increases.”

Essentially, the non-credit aspect gives the university the freedom to make changes to the curriculum as the industry evolves.

“There were some folks on my team that had the foresight to identify that the cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country,” he said. “Then we determined that we probably should be moving into space with a continuing education program, which is where Green Flower came in.”

Green Flower faculty members with years of experience in different aspects of the cannabis industry designed and developed the curriculum. The university worked with them to ensure that the curriculum aligned with the “tenets of rigor and excellence” that the university is known for in the online space, Frasciello said.

Professional instructors from Green Flower who are currently in the industry will be teaching the curriculum, which is essential to the university, as these individuals can teach from experience.

While the university was working with Green Flower last fall to get the curriculum approved, the state began to send strong signals that legalization would likely happen in the spring, Frasciello said. “It just aligned really nicely that we were able to get everything approved within the university through our governance process, and then the state announced [legalization],” he said.

Enrollment is currently open and all courses begin on June 28. Ever since the university released its first press release about it in April, the response has been great, he said. About half a dozen individuals have enrolled in the program and roughly 10 to 14 have inquired about it.

Designing a program like this to educate individuals on the cannabis industry and prepare them for jobs in the field is essential, Frasciello said, especially as New York and neighboring states move to legalize cannabis.

“Our mission here is to prepare individuals for success in whatever industry that they’re currently in or the industry or career that they want to move into—that’s our whole purpose here,” he said. “So, it was important for us to move into this opportunity because we want to be able to ensure that there are individuals in the industry who are informed, smart, capable, responsible and good practitioners.”

Russian High School Student Stands Out From Afar in Syracuse University Online Class

At 5 a.m. this past school year, while her parents and brother were still asleep, Kseniia Borovkova, a junior in high school in Saratov, Russia, signed on to her computer to participate in the live synchronous session of her Syracuse University strategic leadership class that started at 8 p.m. ET.
“I simply loved every part of the course. It was my first time taking a synchronous online credit course. The energetic atmosphere and rigorous course material had a lasting impact on me,” Borovkova says. “My classmates were so engaged, active and supportive.”

UC Responds to Growing Demand in Healthcare Administration Field

To meet the growing demand for a bachelor’s level degree in the healthcare field, University College now offers a Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) online degree in Healthcare Administration. (more) The degree will combine business, finance, electronic records management, human resources, project management and conflict management skills that will prepare graduates for a variety of positions such as health care administration, clinical services director, health information manager and clinical account managers. This program is ideal for individuals interested in launching a career in the medical field or looking to advance their existing career.

Fall 2021 semester registration began April 20th. Spring 2022 semester registration begins Wednesday, November 3rd. For more information contact University College at 315.443.9378, toll free at 1.866.498.9378 or email

Commencement Updates for Classes of 2020 and 2021

Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:

I write today to update you on our planning for Commencement for the classes of 2021 and 2020. As detailed below, our current planning recognizes generally improving public health conditions and growing access to vaccines. Still, public health officials caution vigilance and concern over highly infectious variants of the virus. Further, we are bound to follow all New York State health directives.  These trends and concerns are guiding our current thinking and planning.

Class of 2021

Commencement: The University will host in-person Commencement activities for graduates the weekend of May 22 and 23. We will do everything possible to make this year’s celebration special for our graduates. However, this year’s activities will be different than years past. For example, depending on occupancy guidelines, we may host more than one ceremony to accommodate all our graduates. Many of these details are still being worked out and remain contingent on state directives.

Convocations: All school and college convocations will be hosted virtually this year. The planning group is working with the deans of each school and college to create meaningful virtual convocations. All will be livestreamed.

Graduate Hooding Ceremony/ROTC Commissioning: Both the Graduate Hooding Ceremony and the ROTC Commissioning event will be held in-person for participants. These events will also be livestreamed for virtual participation.

Other Events and Activities: Other Commencement-related activities, such as departmental recognitions, honor society events, etc., will be held virtually.

Guest Attendance: At this time, it is unclear if guests will be allowed to attend Commencement activities. We hope to receive guidance from the New York State Department of Health soon. We will provide clarity regarding guest attendance as soon as we have more information, so that families can plan accordingly. Regardless of the state’s guidance on guests, Commencement will take place for students on campus and will be livestreamed so all families, friends and loved ones can watch the ceremony.

Class of 2020

Last year, at the onset of the pandemic, the University was forced to postpone all in-person Commencement activities for the Class of 2020. Subject to continued improvement in public health conditions and relaxation of government restrictions, Syracuse University will host Commencement for the Class of 2020 on Sunday, Sept. 19. Graduates will receive more information about the weekend’s activities as our planning progresses. In a survey conducted last year, our Class of 2020 graduates were clear that they wanted a traditional and robust in-person celebration in the stadium with their family members, friends and loved ones in attendance. The University will keep its promise to our graduates.

Rest assured that there is nothing Syracuse University wants more than to celebrate our graduates with all the pomp and circumstance they deserve. That’s what we plan for.  That’s what we hope for. And that’s what we intend to do.

I appreciate your continued patience as we navigate these challenging circumstances.


Chancellor Kent Syverud