By Chris Marsicano, Staff Editor
The historical purposes of a University include providing cutting-edge research and educating the next generation of world leaders. But what about community development? Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor has recently come under fire for her consistent focus on building “the Public Good” throughout the City of Syracuse, instead of bettering the academic standing of the university.
Cantor’s leadership of Syracuse coincides with a consistent slide in US News and World Report list of top colleges and universities from 52nd in 2007 to62nd in the most recent rankings. Also, this past year Syracuse left the highly-regarded honor roll of research universities, the Association of American Universities, seemingly before being “kicked out.” However, her leadership also coincides with a trend of increasing numbers of low-income students and students of color as a percentage of the university’s student body. Furthermore, the university’s commitment to community building has drawn great support from faculty, staff, and alumni at Syracuse and other institutions of higher learning.
Cantor’s whirlwind presidency shows the difficulty college and university leaders face in balancing the needs of their constituents, especially when pushing for innovation in the structure of higher education institutions.