Syracuse University’s i-Launch Pad makes high-speed connections in Central New York and abroad
Syracuse University’s i-Launch Pad makes high-speed connections in Central New York and abroadMay 02, 2002Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Partnership with Buffalo-based Atlantic Corridor spurs international project
The School of Information Studies at Syracuse University grabbed international headlines in March when U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her support for the school’s Madison County Connected Project and the partnership it has spawned between the University, Atlantic Corridor, and two universities in Ireland. Clinton made the announcement during a trip to Dublin that was designed to promote economic ties between Upstate New York and Ireland.
Madison County Connected is a project of the i-Launch Pad, a student-run information technology consulting organization in SU’s School of Information Studies that is supported by key faculty members in the school and by the University’s CASE Center, which is supports two graduate assistants for the Launch Pad. In less than a year since it was founded by Craig Watters, assistant dean for advancement, and Bhaskar Majee, an information management graduate student, the Launch Pad has spawned collaborations with government and business organizations in both Central New York and Ireland. The collaborations offer students opportunities to apply their knowledge to real-world situations and the organizations opportunities to receive cost-effective IT consulting services based on the latest research and expertise of faculty who are leaders in the IT field.
“The i-Launch Pad brings businesses to the University and enables students to get involved in the Central New York community-and beyond-in ways that help to promote economic development,” Watters says. “We’re providing skilled IT workers for business and government agencies, and hopefully, some of those workers will remain in Central New York after graduation.”
A year ago, students working with the Launch Pad developed a model for helping rural areas, such as Madison County, plan how to expand access to high-speed broadband technologies that will promote economic development. That model is now being used in sister projects in Cayuga County, located west of the
University, and in Ireland and Northern Ireland. In May, some 15 students will travel to Ireland to work on the projects in association with the University of Ulster and Dublin City University, and with the Ireland Chamber of Commerce and government agencies in Co. Offaly and Co. Antrim.
The connections between the University and its Irish counterparts was facilitated by Atlantic Corridor, a partnership of nonprofit organizations based in Buffalo (Atlantic Corridor U.S.A.); Tullamore, Co. Offaly, Ireland (Atlantic Corridor Ireland, Ltd.); Portglenone, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland (Atlantic Corridor-N.I., Ltd.); and Thorold, Ontario, Canada (Niagara Economic and Tourism Corp.); that promotes business, academic, and cultural collaborations between the United States and the European Union.
Broadband expansion is among Clinton’s seven initiatives to boost the Upstate New York economy. She has endorsed a Senate bill that would offer tax credits directly to companies that build out the service to underserved areas.
“I was so pleased to announce the innovative partnership between the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, Atlantic Corridor, and Dublin City University with the establishment of the Ireland Connected project,” Clinton says. “The high technology collaboration between Madison County in Upstate New York, and Co. Offaly, Co. Antrim, and an area of north Dublin will help underserved areas in both Upstate New York and Ireland gain access to high-speed technology to promote economic and social development.”
Other Launch Pad projects include:
? a database project for the Manufacturing Association of Central New York;
? a consulting project with the Cayuga County Order of Protection Coordination Unit to analyze the unit’s Domestic Incident Report and Order of Protection Registry and to study the feasibility of converting it from a Microsoft Access database platform to an Oracle platform;
? a project with the John Ben Snow Foundation to train employees to use PC desktop applications and to further develop the foundation’s Web site;
? a Web site and database development project for the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York; and
? a study for the National Commission on Libraries and Information Studies (NCLIS) to determine the impact of federal funding on state libraries by analyzing data collected by the National Commission on Education Statistics.
Students who participate in Launch Pad projects receive a stipend for their work. The exceptions are the “connected projects,” for which students receive course credit or internship credit instead of a stipend.
In addition to drawing students from the School of Information Studies, the Launch Pad draws students from other schools and colleges within the University, including the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, the School of Management, and the Maxwell School, says Majee, Launch Pad president. Majee has an undergraduate degree in engineering from India. He has worked in a variety of positions in India and Europe, including the application of artificial intelligence techniques to operations management, before coming to the School of Information Studies.
“We are encouraging students from all areas of the University to participate in our projects,” Majee says. “The salaries we pay are competitive with other on-campus jobs, but students who work for us have the added benefit of being able to apply what they are learning to real clients.”
The School of Information Studies at Syracuse University is a leading center for innovative programs in information policy, information behavior, information management, information systems, information technology and information services. The school has professional degree programs at the undergraduate and master’s levels and a research degree at the doctoral level. The school also has a distance education program at the graduate level.
Officially chartered in 1870 as a private, coeducational institution of higher education, Syracuse University is a leading student-centered research university. Syracuse’s 11 schools and colleges share a common mission: to promote learning through teaching, research, scholarship, creative accomplishment and service while embracing the core values of quality, caring, diversity, innovation and service. The 680-acre campus is home to more than 18,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and 90 countries.