President's Report Masthead
March 31, 2013

Strehle strives for ‘bigger, better’ Graduate School

Susan Strehle
Jonathan Cohen
Susan Strehle.

Graduate School Interim Dean Susan Strehle took notice in January when President Harvey Stenger announced that Binghamton University needed to get “better to get bigger,” while also getting “bigger to get better.”

The president’s philosophy also applies to the Graduate School, which Strehle began leading on Jan. 21.

“What the president said on that day is exactly what our mission is here,” she said. “Getting bigger is crucial to paying the bills. For our office, getting the applications complete and ready so programs can admit and try to recruit those qualified, self-supporting students is critical. And long-term, we need the reputation of ‘better’ to get more students who will pay for professional master’s degrees.”

The interim term is a return to Graduate School service for Strehle, who is distinguished service professor of English. Strehle worked in the Graduate School from 1990-2000, first as associate dean and then as vice provost and dean (1993-2000).

“In that 10 years, I learned a lot about why graduate students have to be registered full-time and how that shapes the money that comes to campus,” she said. “I learned about the process of creating new graduate degrees. … I think I was a logical choice because I know something about science and engineering programs, what their concerns are, and how they want to interact with the Graduate School.”

Strehle considers student-faculty relations and research opportunities among the strengths of Binghamton’s Graduate School. Besides establishing a working relationship with faculty members, graduate students often have the chance to serve as mentors for undergraduate researchers.

Growing graduate enrollments and increasing the visibility of the school’s programs are both short- and long-term goals. The school has already received a record 3,402 completed applications for fall 2013 admission.

Strehle said she views herself as a “bridge” to the next Graduate School dean and expects to leave the position when the interim term expires at the end of 2013-14 academic year.

“I want the Graduate School working harmoniously and closely with every single graduate program to forward its aspirations – working with deans on new degrees and working with directors on recruiting,” she said. “By the time I leave, I would like to have the office and the campus working perfectly together to move forward into ‘bigger and better.’”