April 20, 2006
Johnson School Dean to Step Down
| April 20, 2006
Robert J. Swieringa, the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean of the Johnson Graduate School of Management, will step down at the end of his second five-year term on June 30, 2007, the University announced today.
“My years as dean have been both an honor and a pleasure,” Swieringa said in a press release. “I have had the good fortune to work with an extremely capable and committed group of faculty, students, alumni and friends. Together, we have created an outstanding program for teaching and research that is closely tied to needs of the global business world.”
When Swieringa took the position of dean in July 1997, the business school was preparing to move into the newly renovated Sage Hall.
In the past nine years, the business school has started a series of strategic initiatives to raise its stature, including a five-year plan that will continue until 2009.
“During his tenure as dean, Bob Swieringa has taken the Johnson School into the top ranks of American graduate schools of management through innovations in the curriculum, a strong commitment to diversity, and initiatives that capitalize on the strengths of the larger university,” interim President Hunter R. Rawlings III said in a press release. “Thanks to his vision and leadership, the Johnson School is known the world over for distinctive programs of the highest quality.”
Additionally, the business school faculty has grown by nearly 30 percent, including seven new faculty members who plan to join the school later this year. The recruitment has tried to emphasize cohesion in leadership, entrepreneurship, technology and globalization.
Swieringa plans to return to the Johnson School as a member of the accounting faculty after a sabbatical.
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May 4, 2006
Interim President Hunter R. Rawlings III sat down with The Sun yesterday to reflect back on his experiences presiding over the controversial paving of the Redbud Woods, the West Campus stabbing allegedly committed by a Cornell student and the progress of Slope Day over the years.
The Sun: So your term is wrapping up – how are you feeling?
Hunter R. Rawlings III: Well, I feel good. Yesterday was a wonderful send-off and send up by Prof. Glenn Altschuler and a few other members of the community who had a good time roasting me. It brought back nice memories from the year. I’ve enjoyed it a lot, mainly because I’ve had a chance to see some old friends who I don’t see regularly as a faculty member and I think we’ve accomplished a fair amount this year in spite of the difficulties and I’m very happy about that.
Sun: In terms of some local issues, how do you feel about the way Redbud situation has ended?
Rawlings: Well I think it was a good conclusion in that all of the commitments that were made on all sides were met: everyone followed through on what he or she promised he or she would do. We’ve had very good student reaction to the free bus passes, for example. All the things that were agreed to have been accomplished, and that’s good, I think.
The parking lot was built. I think it’s attractive as parking lots go, and it’s certainly serving an important function right now. It’s full of the construction workers’ vehicles and they’re off the Libe Slope so that’s a good thing. So from that standpoint, it’s a good conclusion.
Sun: The J.A. charges were dropped last week. Why did the process take so long?
Rawlings: Well, these processes almost always do take a long time, frankly. The J.A. process is a semi-judicial process so it has to go forward carefully under its own guidelines, so I’m not surprised it took as long as it did. I’d say that’s probably pretty normal.
In fact, we’re preparing a draft revision of the campus code, which you may have already heard about. This is something that’s been worked on for quite a few months starting last year, and that will go out to various constituencies in the next month or so for review and consideration.
The campus code is this huge, very complex document, and there was a conclusion a year or two ago that it would be good to review it and see if it wasn’t time to make some changes. And one of the efforts in that revision is to try to cut down on the amount of time the judicial process takes on campus, try to streamline to some degree; make it less legalistic. So I’d say that some the ideas coming forward in the revision address those very issues.
Sun: Another hot topic on campus right now is Student Assembly Resolution 29, basically a resolution from the S.A. to discourage nuclear proliferation in Iran. It’s sparked a lot of debate on campus – not just on the content of the resolution but because a lot of students don’t think this is the role of the S.A. Do you think this is the role of the S.A.?
Rawlings: I think the S.A. should address what the S.A. wants to address. And if nuclear proliferation is an issue that creates a good deal of student interest, then I think it’s fine for students to debate that. And if they feel it’s right, offer some kind of resolution because that’s part of the educational process to me. Granted, it’s a little far a field, but why shouldn’t students be able to comment on world events? … The best way to deal with it if [students’] don’t like it is to vote it down.
Sun: The Poffenbarger indictment was handed down today, and the school’s relationship to that case has basically ended in the legal sense, but the effects of the stabbing and then the aftermath are still very present with us. What sort of things do you think are going to carry forward from that? What sort of legacy is that going to leave?
Rawlings: Well, it was a very tragic episode for the campus to confront. I mean, a stabbing on campus is a rare event, thank goodness. And it’s a dramatic one. In this case, it had racial aspects as well that caused a great deal of concern and anxiety. So we’ve been dealing with that for many months in the aftermath. The first thing to do is the make sure the victim got the best treatment possible and that we, as a community, reached out to the victim and I think we did. But we continue to work on many aspects coming from the incident. Provost Martin and I have worked on a diversity plan. We have also enabled the students who are interested in this pursue a course requirement with the deans and with the provost and her staff. So we continue to work on the after math.
Sun: Do you think a course – optional or mandatory – will be implemented?
Rawlings: It’s hard to know because there are two distinctly different sides on this. One says, everyone needs a course like this in order to ensure incidents like this be prevented. Others say, first of all, it won’t prevent such incidents and secondly, people always react very negatively when forced to take something and that it’s actually counter-productive. So you get strong opinions on both sides.
Sun: You yourself were a college athlete. What sets apart a team with a sense of entitlement – (like Duke Men’s Lacrosse) from a team with a sense of social responsibility (by all accounts, Cornell Men’s Lacrosse)?
Rawlings: Knocks on wood. First of all, I don’t think Cornell is immune to problems nor is any other university is immune to problems, so I don’t think any others ought to feel secure that everything is just fine and always will be. But I do think this is a matter that starts with the team members themselves and the coaches. What kind of messages do they send? What kind of life do they lead on campus? How much are they pressured by peer pressure? Because usually these kinds of very violent incidents occur with two things are involved: alcohol … and peer behavior. So it’s often true that a fair number of student athletes who wouldn’t normally engage in such behavior do so because, one, they’re drunk and, two, they feel pressured by peers to do something.
Sun: What do you think of the direction of Slope Day?
Rawlings: I think Slope Day has been going in the right direction. I hope it will go further in that direction so that it becomes less and less a celebration of alcohol and more and more a celebration of school spirit and the end of classes, without seeing alcohol as an integral part of the day. We had a student die of alcohol this year; if that doesn’t highlight this issue for Cornell students, I don’t know what would.
Sun: What are you doing on Friday?
Rawlings: I’m going to be out of town.
Sun: Highlights of the second go-around?
Rawlings: I’ve had a lot of fun. I think the trip to China was clearly a highlight because it allowed us to get a lot accomplished because it allowed us to carry the Cornell name to the world’s most populous country, and one that’s making such a big set of economic changes.
I think it’s been especially gratifying to see how the campus has gone forward after a very abrupt change which caused understandable concern, and now, I think we’re going forward and there’s a lot of excitement about Dr. Skorton’s arrival. The number of applications to Cornell has risen so dramatically in recent years that it’s clear that we’re a hot school right now.
Sun: Do you have any advice for the new guy? Rawlings: The best thing is, he’s been the president of a major university. He knows how to do this, he’s experienced, he’s smart, he’s got a great sense of humor – you know, that’s important in these jobs. I don’t offer him advice, I just want to be there for him when he has questions.
Sun: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the students of Cornell?
Rawlings: Yes, I can’t wait to get back to the classroom with them. It’s great to talk to Sun reporters, but I’d rather be in the classroom teaching Greek and Latin and Greek history. So I’m looking forward to that enormously.
Article by Erica FinkSun Editor in Chiefand Michael MorisySun Managing Editor
April 21, 2006
'Anti-spin' blogger gives straight facts on journalism
Looking to break into journalism?
Just go do it. That was the advice Bryan Keefer, assistant managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review’s website, gave to a group of assembled aspiring journalists and other Cornellians.
“You should take risks right out of college,” he said. “The safety net tends to be there. If you have a great idea, go for it.”
It is the way Keefer himself entered the industry, writing “anti-spin” during the 2000 election run-up, countering misinformation and skewed releases from both the left and right during the Bush-Gore race.
He did this all, to some acclaim and thousands of daily hits, while working an AFL-CIO job that left him “with lots of time on my hands.”
He described the site, spinsanity.com, as a labor of love born of him and a two friends, a somewhat non-partisan hacking ground where both Ann Coulter ’84 and Michael Moore would get credibility checks.
“This was a novel, edgy idea at the time,” he said.
A little too edgy for his employer. After a spin-check on a liberal politician, Keefer was told to quiet his criticisms or seek new employment. He left, eventually getting the trio’s blog published as All the President’s Spin: George W. Bush, the Media, and the Truth. The move into journalism was a risky one, but one Keefer seems comfortable with.
“It’s a very messy time to be in journalism,” he said. “But it is also a very exciting time to be in journalism.”
He outlined the changing demographics and tastes of the emerging markets, markets which many of the established publishers simply do not understand, according to Keefer. He pointed to a Chicago Tribune editorial suggesting that university students be required to subscribe to a print paper, in order to develop lifetime reading habits.
“That’s just not going to happen,” he said. “The future is aggregation.”
He pointed to ESPN’s “SportsCenter” as a good example of collating today’s tastes: a broad breadth of news, mixed with analysis and kept at a steady clip.
More importantly, Keefer said, was that journalists become “format agnostic.”
“One thing might be economical today, but that might change tomorrow,” he said. Especially as one source becomes as easy to access as another, being able to pull the best content in the most convenient format will be a critical skill.
“What’s the advantage of reading New York Times coverage versus an AP story?” he asked. “Overall, the difference isn’t that much.”
The future will bring more choices to readers, he predicted. The greater diversity of sources gives new perspectives and readers a chance to read more in-depth on issues they care about.
An added bonus of the competing voices is more savvy citizens.
“Young people are becoming much more critical consumers of news,” he said. “We tend to know a commercial when we see one.”
That does not mean, Keefer noted, that traditional news outlets will completely die out in favor of independent bloggers.
“Reporters are getting paid to know more than you do,” he said. “When you go around them entirely, that’s not a good thing for people getting their political information.”
At a question and answer session following his talk, Keefer fielded questions on breaking into the field. He suggested skipping out on journalism school, opting instead to work your way up and earn some real world clips. He added that understanding how to use technology well will “be a huge asset for years.”
One listener asked if he though independent journalists would entirely replace the mainstream media.
“To gather news is still pretty expensive and out of reach of most citizen journalists,” he said. “Blogs piggyback on the mainstream media.”
Keefer was brought to Cornell by StudPubs, an umbrella organization of several campus publications.
Archived article by Michael Morisy