95-year-old Maxwell School welcomes its first freshman class
In many ways, the Maxwell School Class of 2023 will finish
their studies at Syracuse University nearly indistinguishable from previous classes.
As graduates of both the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S),
they will have earned their social science degree—with a shared spirit of
public service and the knowledge, skills and confidence to make positive
contributions in their communities around the world. It will be the same as it has
been for nearly a century for tens of thousands of social science graduates of
However, the students arriving this week begin their
academic journey as no others before them have—as first-year Maxwell students. Beginning
this fall, for the first time ever, students planning to major in the social
sciences applied and were admitted directly to the Maxwell School. Prior to
this, students applied to A&S, and they became a Maxwell student only if
they declared a Maxwell major, usually sometime around the end of their
The Maxwell School’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Carol
Faulkner explains, “We wanted to change how we engage with prospective
undergraduates around the social sciences at Syracuse University. The new
application process enables us to tell our story more powerfully and to articulate
more clearly the benefits of a liberal arts education delivered jointly by A&S
One year into the effort, the impact has been dramatic.
According to Dennis Nicholson, assistant dean of admissions for Syracuse
University, the “intentional leveraging” of the Maxwell brand with
undergraduates plus related enhancements helped lead an increase in the quality
and quantity of social science students accepting admission to Syracuse
University, with the number of deposits increasing 20% to 383 and average SAT
scores increasing 12 points over last year at this time.
“The Maxwell School’s strong reputation for disciplinary and
interdisciplinary scholarship that is domestic, global, and public affairs and
policy oriented continues to contribute to our ranking as the #1 school for
graduate education in public affairs in the country,” adds Dean David M. Van
Slyke. “We’re gratified
that the Chancellor and the University’s Trustees encouraged Maxwell to launch
an effort to better explain what this means to potential undergraduates and
to find meaningful ways to welcome and support them as Maxwell students from
the very beginning of their academic journey. Dean Ruhlandt’s support and
collaboration has contributed to this transition being successful.”
These recruitment, enrollment and admissions changes are
matched by additional improvements within the undergraduate student experience.
Enrolled students now benefit from a new assistant dean of student success who
reports to the deans of both A&S and the Maxwell School, as well as a
revamped Office of Undergraduate Academic and Career Advising. These resources
complement departmental faculty and staff who mentor students.
In addition, Syracuse University has invested $1 million in
the new Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement (The SOURCE) housed
within the Bird Library, which provides a new source of funding and support for
undergraduate scholarship. The Celebration of Undergraduate Scholarship, an
annual Maxwell tradition, showcases the work of undergraduates across
departments with a poster session, awards ceremony for best posters and papers,
and a reception.
New study spaces especially for undergraduate students have
been created, in part, to welcome this influx of Maxwell admits; and the
Maxwell/Eggers complex is now accessible 24 hours a day with additional access
to study spaces in the Eggers Café and the Academic Village.
“We’re all excited to welcome these promising young students
to Maxwell,” adds Faulkner. “It’s going to be much more clear that undergraduates
are a central part of Maxwell, and Maxwell is a central part of Syracuse
University for undergraduates.”