After serving as vice provost and dean of the graduate school from 1993 to 2000, Susan Strehle has been appointed as dean of Binghamton University’s Graduate School.
Strehle, who has been serving as interim vice provost and dean of The Graduate School since January, said that she did not want students to have to give up great liberal art educations for fear of not finding jobs after college. She said she wants to modify some programs so that getting a career and getting a liberal arts education aren’t mutually exclusive.
“I’ve been talking to the English department about an e-journalism program,” Strehle said. “This way we can help students finish at the cutting edge.”
Strehle said that forward-thinking ideas like this take time to bring to life, as staff and faculty are also busy tackling present issues.
Strehle also discussed increasing cross-disciplinary programs, a change that Karl Schnabl, a graduate student studying engineering, would welcome.
“It would be cool if some classes could have more collaboration between majors, like projects with some engineering students, some science ones and some SOM ones,” Schnabl said.
Sarah Lam joined the graduate school as the associate dean this fall. She is an associate professor in the department of systems science and industrial engineering in the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science. Lam had only kind words to share for her cohort.
“She’s superb to work with,” Lam said. “She is always open to discussion and has exceptional leadership. Susan works cohesively with the graduate staff as a team.”
In addition to changing the graduate programs, Strehle would like to change the graduate school applicant pool.
“I want more Binghamton undergrads to think really seriously about graduate school at Binghamton,” Strehle said. “Brilliant Binghamton students would be really well-qualified, and could be some of our best graduate students.”
Schnabl, previously in Watson as an undergraduate, explained his reasons for continuing his studies at BU.
“I knew I was going to want my master’s degree at some point. I chose Bing mainly because of the research opportunities in electronics manufacturing, an area not many other schools offer,” Schnabl said. “I received a graduate research position which covered my tuition and gave me an opportunity to do my research at an electronics company in the area.”
But there are undergraduate students who find themselves pulled in other directions, too.
“I probably wouldn’t consider [BU for graduate school]. I will have spent four amazing years here as an undergraduate, but would want to be somewhere new, probably New York City,” said Monica Gray, a junior majoring in psychology. “There’s just more opportunities there.”
Other changes in the graduate department to watch out for include the potential for a pharmacy school.
“There are students who are interested in medicine, but not med school’s huge commitment of time and money,” Strehle said.
After earning her Ph.D. in English at Stanford University in 1975, Strehle took her first job teaching English courses at Binghamton University, and has continued her career and life here ever since.
“In California, you’d be stuck on a freeway for half an hour just to get groceries,” Strehle said. “It’s easier to live in a small city like Binghamton, that’s still close to New York City.”
Strehle has signed on as dean until 2016, and she is excited to continue brainstorming ideas for BU.
“There is something very fulfilling about shaping this school,” she said.