Skip to main content

Provost’s Review of the Social Sciences at Cornell

 

Charge

Review the current state of the social sciences at Cornell, and identify opportunities for continuing to strengthen the social sciences at Cornell.

Scope

The review will focus on the traditional social science disciplines as they appear in all colleges and schools, as well as research infrastructure units that support the social sciences. However, the review will also recognize and consider disciplines that intersect traditional social sciences. Contributions to the research, teaching, and public-engagement missions of the university, as well as the organization of social sciences faculty throughout the university, will be included.

Process

(updated July 2018)

  • Discussion of the organizational structures report will continue over the Summer and into the Fall. For details on how to participate, visit the Continuing Discussion of the Organizational Structures Report page.
  • The Idea Panels Committee, charged in October 2017, has organized several faculty forums to be held throughout the spring, which aim to identify promising collaborations that will significantly enhance the quality, strength and prominence of the social sciences at Cornell.
  • A small internal committee developed a descriptive report. The internal report was completed and released in February 2017 (see February 2017 update below).
  • An external committee of highly regarded scholars reviewed the internal report, participated in a site visit, and then developed its assessment. The external report was completed in April 2017 and released in May 2017 (see May 2017 update below).
  • After collecting feedback on the internal and external reports, charges were developed for three committees: one on organizational structures, one on idea panels, and one on administrative structures (see September 2017 update below).
  • The organizational structures report was completed in February 2018 and released in March 2018 (see March 2018 update below).
  • In anticipation of campus engagement and input this fall, Provost Kotlikoff shared an update on the Committee on Organizational Structures in an email to Cornell University faculty on July 17, 2018 detailing the options that remain for ongoing discussion.

Progress reports are being provided to the Faculty Senate throughout the process.


March 2018 Update

The report of the Committee on Organizational Structures has been received and is now available for viewing by Cornell faculty members on this secure site. As per the September 2017 update below, this committee was formed to address the university level organization of the social sciences, including academic units, graduate fields, and centers/institutes.

The report presents a series of ideas for possible changes in organizational structure of the social sciences at Cornell. In developing these ideas, the committee took the perspective of identifying opportunities to position Cornell’s social sciences for outstanding achievement in 10-15 years. The faculty is invited to carefully consider these ideas and provide thoughtful feedback. Over the next several years significant investments will be made in the social sciences, and it is essential that these have the maximum effect in strengthening our scholarship and teaching.

Faculty members are encouraged to review the committee’s report, the 2017 reports of the internal and external review committees, and a supplementary document entitled “Rationale to Study Organizational Structures” that provides additional context from recent and earlier reports on the social sciences, all of which are also available on the same secure site.

The next steps in the process involve engagement of the campus in a discussion of the report.  Feedback is invited in the following venues and forms:

  1. Please feel welcome to submit input by email to ssreview@cornell.edu.
  1. A secure online discussion platform for faculty will be established, on which we invite feedback on each of the ideas in the report. You must log in with your Cornell netID to gain access to this site. Posts will remain anonymous, and people will have the opportunity to respond to others’ posts. The platform is accessible at: http://blogs.cornell.edu/socialsciencestructuresdiscussion/.
  1. During the remainder of the semester, forums will be scheduled in the colleges, hosted by the co-chairs of the committee and the Provost.
  1. A separate meeting will be scheduled with the chairs of social science and social science related departments, hosted by the co-chairs of the committee and the Provost.
  1. A separate meeting will be scheduled with the directors of social science centers and institutes, hosted by the co-chairs of the committee and the Provost.
  1. A presentation to the Faculty Senate and invitation to consider the faculty report.
  1. Feedback from students, staff, and alumni will also be sought.

The Provost and President will then consider the feedback, determine actions to be taken, and initiate implementation process(es).

Any questions or concerns you may have on the review process may be submitted to ssreview@cornell.edu.


September 2017 Update

Following completion of the self-study, receipt of the report of the external review committee, and a period of invited comment on the report, the next step in Cornell’s review of the social sciences will be to address the central issues raised in the process to date.

Committees will be formed to address:

  1. Organizational Structures: university level organization of the social sciences, including academic units and centers/institutes (work to begin late September 2017)
  2. Idea Panels: explore areas of strength and opportunity for radical collaboration in the social sciences (work to begin October 2017)
  3. Administrative Issues: specific concerns regarding current policies and practices that impact faculty productivity (work to begin Spring 2018)

Charges for all three committees, along with up-to-date committee membership, can be found here [current draft October 16, 2017]

Any questions or concerns you may have on the review process may be submitted to ssreview@cornell.edu.


May 2017 Update

The report of the External Committee for the Review of the Social Sciences has been received and is available for viewing by Cornell faculty on this secure site (https://secure.provost.cornell.edu/socsci-review/).

The next step in the review process involves the engagement of social scientists on campus in a discussion of the External Committee’s report. To that end, a framing document with a series of questions on which we invite feedback has been developed and can be viewed here (https://secure.provost.cornell.edu/socsci-review/). The goal of the framing document to help focus the upcoming campus discussion.

Over the upcoming weeks, faculty feedback will be invited in three forms:

  1. The Provost will host a town hall meeting on Tuesday, May 23 from 1 – 2 p.m. in the Biotechnology Building, Room G10 to gather input and respond to questions.
  2. A secure online discussion platform has been established, on which we invite feedback on the questions in the framing document. You must log in with your Cornell netID to gain access to this site. Posts will remain anonymous, and people will have the opportunity to respond to others’ posts. This platform will be open through mid-June. The platform is accessible at: http://blogs.cornell.edu/socialsciencediscussion/
  3. For those who prefer to submit input that is not made available to the broader Cornell community, please feel welcome to send emails to ssreview@cornell.edu.

After collecting feedback in these three ways, the Provost will initiate an implementation process that will explore and recommend actions.

Any questions or concerns you may have on the review process may be submitted to ssreview@cornell.edu.


February 2017 Update

The report of the Internal Committee for the Review of the Social Sciences is now complete and is available for viewing by Cornell faculty on this secure site (https://secure.provost.cornell.edu/socsci-review/). The report is intended for the use of the External Review Committee and for members of the Cornell community only.

The Internal Committee is grateful for the assistance and collaboration of staff and faculty members in assembling data and information for the report.

The External Review Committee will visit campus on March 9 and 10, 2017. Their itinerary includes meetings with university leadership, social science deans, chairs, DGS’s, and DUS’s. In addition, the Committee will meet with students and additional faculty members nominated by their deans, as well as graduate students nominated by their DGS’s. The charge to the committee and their itinerary may also be viewed on the secure site (https://secure.provost.cornell.edu/socsci-review/).

As planned, the report of the Internal Committee is descriptive—it describes the current state of the social sciences at Cornell. While it does highlight some notable observations, it does not make recommendations. The External Review Committee will be asked to provide more of an assessment of the social sciences at Cornell, as well as recommendations. Following the receipt of a report from the External Review Committee, the Provost will announce plans for next steps in implementing a response. These next steps will include broad consultation with faculty before any decisions are made.

Comments and questions on the report or the review process may be submitted to ssreview@cornell.edu.


December 2016 Update

For the past seven months, the internal committee has worked to gather and distill descriptive statistical and narrative data gathered from a variety of internal and external sources. The committee has simultaneously developed a charge statement for the external committee and outline of its report. In the months ahead, the internal committee will begin report drafting and assembly, with an aim of completing its writing in early February, 2017.

An external review committee of five social science scholars has been appointed and will travel to Cornell for their site visit March 9-10, 2017. Its membership is: Karen Cook, Stanford University; Susan Gelman, University of Michigan; Sherman James, Duke University; Theda Skocpol, Harvard University; and Ellen Wartella, Northwestern University.


For more information, see the Social Sciences Review FAQ. Questions or feedback may also be submitted to ssreview@cornell.edu.