Editorial Board

Bandier Program’s shift from VPA to Newhouse was warranted, but the discussion process was flawed

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The Bandier Program’s move from the College of Visual and Performing Arts to the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications was in the best interest of students in the program, but the process for its move should have been more transparent.

The program — which focuses on the business of music, media, marketing and entrepreneurship — was originally meant to fit into the Newhouse School, which is a better home for it than VPA due to the school’s focus on the media industry. The program was not based in Newhouse from the start because then-Newhouse Dean David Rubin was preoccupied with fundraising for the construction of Newhouse 3 and was unable to dedicate time to the program’s development.

Although many people involved in the program have advocated for years that it make the move from VPA, Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham said VPA “was not that thrilled about it,” adding that the college would’ve liked to keep the program if it could have. It’s understandable for VPA faculty to be upset about the move, even though Bandier students will have more resources available to them in Newhouse compared to VPA due to budgetary and fundraising reasons.

But despite the positive outcome for the students, who are the most important stakeholders in the Bandier program, discussions for the transition should have been had in a public setting — such as a University Senate meeting — for full transparency.

The announcement to move the high-profile program from VPA to Newhouse seemed sudden, with no context as to the discussions about the program had between VPA and Newhouse faculty and Syracuse University administrators.

Although Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly said there was “general agreement” among Bandier stakeholders that the program’s curriculum and mission are more aligned with the Newhouse School than with VPA, those in the VPA community invested in the program deserved a platform to have their voices heard about the program’s shift.

The Newhouse School’s media focus and readily available finances will be of more benefit to Bandier students than VPA, which justifies the shift. But ensuring discussions about the future of the university’s well known programs are accessible should have been a fundamental part of the process. To neglect that — as was done in this case — only reflects poorly upon SU’s values.

 

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