“Non-traditional” no more

Michael Frasciello PortraitNot long ago, students who attended college part-time were called “non-traditional” students. The definition assumed that “traditional” students were recent 18 to 22 year-olds attending college full-time, living in dorms, taking classes 4 to 5 days a week, studying, and participating in campus life. Historically, University College students fell into the non-traditional category, as all of our students attend Syracuse University part-time. A majority work full-time, care for families, and manage life responsibilities outside the classroom.

But an interesting change is occurring across higher education. Non-traditional students are now traditional. Where once we were primarily adult learners, today non-traditionals represent the largest population of students seeking a college education—young adults; active military; non-residential; part-time, working professionals; reskilling; transitioning careers, etc. Today, you are the 32% of full-time students at colleges and universities who also work full-time. You are the 37% of all students who attend college part-time. And you are the remaining 31% of students who do a mix of both on their journey to complete a college education.

To be a non-traditional student at Syracuse University is to not be labeled and/or categorized. Here, you are recognized as a valued member of an evolving campus community. At Syracuse University you are the students who know what they want out of life. You are the students who are accountable for your education, and who know what life is like without a degree. You are the students who bring to this magnificent university the maturity and wisdom gained through life experiences.

Labels like “non-traditional” are obsolete because the future traditional Syracuse University student is you. Following the path of the students who preceded them, future SU students will complete their degrees all while working full-time, starting and stopping their studies, raising families, and juggling life’s challenges. Just like you.

As you make the decision to start or continue your Syracuse University studies through University College, know that you are defining the future of a University with an unwavering belief in you and your ability to transform your life through education.

In your service,

Michael J. Frasciello, Dean

University College staff participate in inaugural First-Year Experience

Nine University College staff volunteered to act as trainers and facilitators in a signature experience that introduced first-year students to the University and its culture. The First-Year Experience program was identified in Syracuse University’s Academic Strategic Plan and was supported by the work of the Chancellor’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion.

The campus-wide initiative helped first-year students become engaged in the campus community through dialogue about identity and belonging, health and wellness, and diversity and inclusion.

Elizabeth Green, director of Online Student Success, trained lead and peer facilitators on the content of SEM 100—a shared reading discussion. “It was an incredible experience to learn more about the perspectives of the facilitators and their innovative ideas for how to engage students in meaningful ways,” Green said. “Trevor Noah’s book, Born a Crime, was an exceptional choice for this shared reading experience.” She said that the themes of inclusion, social injustice, and belonging provided a framework for rich and engaging dialogue.

Charlotte Stahrr, program administrator at University College, acted as a facilitator. “The students were engaged and insightful during our discussions,” said Stahrr. “While we did occasionally go off topic, I think it helped the students get to know each other better and realize that people from different backgrounds are more alike than they thought.”

“The facilitators and students both felt supported in stepping out of their comfort zones and pushing their awareness on important and relevant topics,” Green added.

The five-week shared experience enrolled 3,778 students. “I definitely think the students found real value in the exercise,” said Stahrr. “They learned more about their peers—and about themselves.”

Announcing our new University College Diversity Committee

three women standing

From left, Margaret Thompson, Marsha Senior and Christina Huerta

University College announces the appointment of three staff members to the University College Diversity Committee. As part of the continued commitment to creating a more welcoming, respectful campus climate, the Diversity Committee will work with the Syracuse University Inclusivity Leaders Assembly (an assembly of inclusion and diversity leaders from each of the schools and colleges) to articulate and enact the University’s diversity and inclusion goals and initiatives.

Margaret Thompson, Marsha Senior and Christina Huerta will be tasked with promoting diversity and inclusion among students, staff and faculty through training, awareness building and events. Committee members will serve a one-year term.

“University College’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity are expressed in our mission and vision statements, and are demonstrated every day in our service to all individuals who seek a Syracuse University education to transform their lives,” says Dean Michael Frasciello. “To focus on these commitments with more intentionality and align with Syracuse University diversity initiatives, we are confident that these three dedicated individuals, who were selected by their peers, will bring value, compassion, and understanding to this campus-wide initiative.”

University College offers a variety of online and residential degree and certificate programs. For more information, visit or call 315.443.9378.

University College Dean’s List Students Honored at Ceremony and Reception

University College honored part-time students who earned dean’s list status for the spring and fall 2018 semesters at a ceremony and reception held at Panasci Lounge in Schine Student Center on March 8.

Students who qualified have been enrolled in University College for at least two semesters and have earned a minimum GPA of 3.2 for the last 12 credits completed.

Dean Michael Frasciello presided over the ceremony, which featured guest speaker Diane Murphy, dean of the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics.

man at podium speaking to audience

University College Dean Michael Frasciello, shares remarks at 2019 UC Honors Reception.

Acknowledging that the part-time students at University College juggle many responsibilities while attending college, Frasciello told the students that their achievements are demonstrating to others the courage required to set their sights on a goal and do everything necessary to achieve it.

“It takes courage to overcome self-doubt and questions: Am I too old to be in college? How and I going to sustain this pace? But you demonstrate courage each night you stay up late reading chapters, completing assignments, and writing papers—all after a full day of work or tending to your family,” he said.  “Your presence here this evening is a testament to a continuous commitment to excellence.”

During the ceremony, five students were also inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society—the nation’s largest and oldest chapter-based honor society for nontraditional students.

people standing in row and seated

University College celebrates students making the dean’s list at 2019 Honors Reception.

University College offers a variety of online and residential degree and certificate programs. For more information on part-time programs, visit the UC web site at or call 315.443.9378.

University College Opens the Syracuse University Office of Online Student Success

University College today announced the official launch of the Syracuse University Office of Online Student Success. The office, located at 700 University Avenue, supports students enrolled in online undergraduate and graduate programs. Students enrolled in 2U-supported graduate online programs are not served by the office.

The Office of Online Student Success is a critical component of Syracuse University’s strategic response to improving access and support for online students. Student Success coordinators begin working with students upon admission to their program. Every online student is assigned a coordinator to provide the support necessary for the student to excel academically.

“As soon as we welcome an online student to Syracuse University, we begin assisting them in setting and meeting their educational goals, providing resources and one-on-one consultations, and identifying and addressing academic and personal concerns,” says Elizabeth Green, director of the office.

As Syracuse University expands its reach globally to serve students who otherwise cannot attend the university full-time and on campus, it is becoming increasingly important to provide the support and services online students require to succeed.

“The Syracuse University online student experience needs to be as exceptional as the on-campus student experience,” says Rosemary Kelly, assistant dean of student administrative services at University College. “A significant part of that experience is getting online students connected to the appropriate resources and helping them become successful, independent learners who are able to confidently participate as active members of the University community.”

The Office of Online Student Success uses a variety of platforms and methods for engaging online students early and often. Students have the ability to attend regular webinars on topics ranging from study skills and how to succeed in online courses to how best use features of the University’s learning management system. Student Success coordinators also proactively engage with students to ensure they are staying on track with their course work and feeling connected to their peers, instructors, and the University.

“Online students are often challenged to feel a sense of belonging to the University,” says Green. “The Office of Online Student Success is here to ensure that all online students have the necessary support to allow them to persist and ultimately thrive as members of the Syracuse University community.”

For more information, contact Elizabeth Green at