Skip to Content

Reimagining Falk College

Syracuse University to Transform Falk College into First-of-its-Kind College of Sport; Launch Strategic Planning to Advance Excellence in Human Dynamics Programs
Exterior of Falk college facing patio

The David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics will become the David B. Falk College of Sport with a focus on sport-related disciplines.

Two decades after the launch of its sport management program, Syracuse University today announced that as a result of its significant growth and academic excellence, the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics will become the David B. Falk College of Sport. The first-of-its-kind college will focus exclusively on sport-related disciplines, making the University among the leading academic institutions for preparing students to drive innovation among and lead in sport-related fields and industries.

“Falk College has experienced extraordinary growth, particularly in its renowned sport management program, over the last 20 years, thanks in large part to its innovative faculty and the relentless energy and leadership of former Dean Diane Lyden Murphy,” says Vice Chancellor, Provost and Chief Academic Officer Gretchen Ritter. “With the growth of sport participation domestically and globally, there is unprecedented demand for talented practitioners and leaders. The Falk College of Sport will produce hundreds of students every year who are educated across multiple disciplines and well-prepared to lead in the burgeoning sports field.”

Reimagining Falk College

Since launching its sport management program in 2005 and later adding programs in sport analytics and esports communications and management, Falk College has achieved prominent status as a national leader in sport education. This transformation will make Falk College the first standalone college on an R1 campus that specifically focuses on sport through a holistic academic lens.

Dean Jeremy Jordan, who was appointed last July, says this transformation will expand and enrich sport scholarship at Syracuse.

“Syracuse University has long been a leader in the development of sport-related programs,” says Jordan. “From creating the first-ever sports analytics program to the recent launch of an esports major, the University and Falk College have demonstrated the value of and important role sport plays in the day-to-day lives of people, and not just elite athletes. This reimagination of Falk College is a bold step in solidifying Syracuse University as the preeminent institution for sport-related academic study in the country.”

The reimagined Falk College of Sport will house academic programs in sport management, sport analytics, exercise science, nutrition and, jointly with the Newhouse School, esports. It will focus on four areas of academic excellence: Sport Business, Human Performance, Sport Technology and Innovation, and Community Sport and Wellness. The college will also launch a new research institute focused on sport, which will leverage an interdisciplinary, cross-campus approach to drive innovation in sport and health outcomes and integrate expertise in business, digital media, and technology, among other areas of academic focus. It may include creating new or expanding partnerships among the University’s schools, colleges and academic units, such as the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, the Whitman School of Management, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, the College of Law and others.

Today’s announcement follows a months-long exercise during which a Sport Management Task Force, consisting of faculty, staff and academic leaders, was charged with identifying ways to enhance and extend Falk’s excellence in sport-related programs. The task force, co-chaired by Jeff Rubin, senior vice president for digital transformation and chief digital officer, and Jamie Winders, associate provost for faculty affairs, submitted a report to Provost Ritter earlier this academic year. Recommendations outlined tangible action the University can take to connect, align and integrate teaching and research related to sport across the academic enterprise.

“The task force concluded that there is a timely opportunity for Falk to build on its strengths and capitalize on relevant marketplace trends,” says Rubin. “As someone who has worked in this space for nearly three decades, there is no better time for Syracuse University to take this bold step than now. Organizations across the country and around the globe are looking for career-ready talent. Falk College is poised to meet that need.”

The work happening in Falk College aligns with the University’s commitment to applying an entrepreneurial and innovative philosophy to elevating sport across the campus. In addition to enhancing sport-related academic opportunities, the University has also taken steps in recent years to widen the availability of esports–academically and recreationally—and has grown current and created new club sport programs.

Shaping the Future of Human Dynamics

As part of the Falk transformation, Syracuse University will invest in a strategic reimagination of human dynamics academic programs with the goal of positioning them for future success and impact. To support this work, Provost Ritter will convene a Human Dynamics Task Force, consisting of academic leaders, department chairs and program directors, faculty, alumni and community partners. The task force will be charged with reviewing the college’s human dynamics programs and identifying future pathways for their growth and success. These academic programs include human development and family science, marriage and family therapy, public health and social work. Students enrolled in these programs and beginning at Syracuse University in Fall 2024 will not be impacted by the University’s reimagination of its human dynamics portfolio.

Provost Ritter says given the increasingly complex public health landscape and the growing global need for health and human services and credentialed professionals, the time is right to reimagine these longstanding academic programs to meet emerging demands in their fields.

“The Human Dynamics Task Force will determine prospects for expansion, innovation and alignment with the University’s overall Academic Strategic Plan, ‘Leading with Distinction,’” says Ritter. “These programs have a deep history at Syracuse University and have had a profound impact on the City of Syracuse, Central New York and communities around the globe. The faculty who teach and research in these disciplines will have the opportunity to review, reimagine and shape the future of the programs with the full support of the University.”

Provost Ritter has asked Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Lois Agnew and newly-appointed Associate Dean for Human Dynamics Programs Rachel Razza, associate professor and previously chair and graduate director in the Department of Human Development and Family Science, to lead and guide the reimagination of the human dynamics programs. The task force will be supported by an external consultant to help it execute on its charge. Additionally, given the significant synergy between the programs and the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County, Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens and Deputy County Executive for Human Services Ann Rooney have also agreed to serve on the task force.

“I am grateful to Lois, Rachel, Deputy Mayor Owens and Deputy County Executive Rooney for their willingness to collaborate on this important work, and I look forward to partnering with the other members of the task force,” says Provost Ritter. “These areas of academic excellence are not only central to our University’s mission but also critical to the communities, particularly those who are currently underserved, that our students will eventually serve as the next generation of social workers, therapists, public health professionals and human services providers.”

The Human Dynamics Task Force will receive its charge from Provost Ritter by the end of the spring semester. It will begin its work in earnest over the summer and submit its findings to the provost by the end of October.

An SU News story originally published on April 15, 2024.