Over the past decade, there has been a concerted focus on improving the social sciences at Cornell. In order to review progress to date and to identify opportunities for future improvements, Provost Kotlikoff has called for a new review of the social sciences at Cornell.
In fall 2017 the Provost convened a faculty task force to recommend new approaches to enhance and accelerate the diversity of the Cornell faculty. The task force conducted an extensive review of current programs at Cornell and researched best practices nationally. Several recommendations for recruiting and retaining under-represented and women faculty and enhancing the climate for faculty at Cornell are outlined in the final report.
Cornell is launching an ambitious series of initiatives to enhance faculty hiring and pave the way to new discovery. The focus areas target and elevate strategic, radically collaborative discipline areas that point the way toward the discoveries and solutions of tomorrow: nanoscale science and molecular engineering; genome biology; data science; sustainability; the social sciences; infection biology; and the humanities and arts. Each area will have a dedicated task force led by faculty members. Over the next couple of years, Cornell will be aligning its strategic fundraising initiatives around this investment in academics, both on the multidisciplinary side and in the university’s traditional areas of strength. This will help us recruit the faculty that will ensure Cornell’s future excellence, inspiring our students and creating new knowledge that will influence the world.
In 2015, the university launched Engaged Cornell, a $150 million initiative to grow and enhance community-engaged opportunities for Cornell students. The initiative builds upon Cornell’s founding land grant mission and commitment to “knowledge with a public purpose.” Innovation in teaching and learning is the core means of realizing this institutional mission through shared practices that connect students, faculty, and curricula with communities and with the public realm in local, national, and global arenas through meaningful reciprocal partnerships addressing the world’s biggest challenges. This transformational initiative was established with a $50 million gift from the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, led by Cornell Class of 1991 alumni David Einhorn and Cheryl Strauss Einhorn.
The Office of Faculty Development & Diversity (OFDD), provides a range of resources, training, and support for deans, department chairs, and individual faculty members in the areas of faculty development and diversity. The OFDD works with deans, chairs, and search committees to improve recruitment and retention practices and to increase diversity in faculty hiring. It provides guidance to the academic leadership and to individual faculty members on mentoring and the tenure and promotion processes. The OFDD offers a variety of professional development programming and grants opportunities for faculty. The office actively collaborates with the Division of Human Resources, the Dean of the University Faculty, and other offices on campus in its efforts to support the success and well-being of all faculty members.
Cornell is and always has been a global university. International study is a core component of the educational mission. To remain relevant and impactful in the 21st century—and to be a top 10 global university—Cornell must equip students to work nimbly across campuses and continents to solve global challenges.
To prepare students for leadership and service in an interdependent world, in fall 2013, the university launched Global Cornell. The strategies of this initiative are to:
- Reach out to attract students from around the world.
- Make meaningful international experiences available to all Cornell students.
- Support Cornell faculty whose research and teaching is international in nature.
- Attract the most talented faculty from around the globe.
- Integrate global literacy into Cornell’s curriculum.
- Generate new investment in Global Cornell.
During the first three years of this initiative, members of the Cornell community have created new linkages where none existed before, both within the university and with partners around the world. These new connections are helping to mobilize resources, build momentum, and create new opportunities. Through Global Cornell, the university is infusing an international dimension into its curriculum, its culture, and all that Cornellians do.
The standing committee was convened in fall 2017 following the June 2017 report prepared by the Provost’s Task Force on Cornell Extension and is charged with charged with “devising and implementing improvements and innovation in extension and outreach across the contract colleges, together with connecting these efforts with the rest of campus.”
The Living–Learning Experience
All first-year students live together on North Campus as part of a living–learning community that fosters academic and intellectual learning, personal development, holistic well-being, and a sense of belonging and connectedness. Faculty-in-Residence (who live in the residence halls) and Faculty Fellows play pivotal roles, encouraging students to make meaningful connections with faculty members, inspiring learning outside the classroom, making the residence halls a space for learning as well as living, and deepening students’ intellectual experiences.
The West Campus House System offers a living-learning experience for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. With the goal of bringing students and faculty together in a spirit of inquiry and active citizenship, the House System promotes meaningful interactions with faculty members; self-governance; intellectual, cultural, and social programming; privacy; and independence. West Campus includes five houses, each led by a House Professor-Dean who lives in the house. Each house also has 30 affiliated House Fellows who interact with residents during meals and programs.
Cornell provides a range of courses and programs online, and Cornell colleges and schools support innovative pedagogical initiatives that utilize online learning technologies. The provost’s office offers opportunities for faculty to develop and design online learning experiences both for Cornell students and for massive, open student audiences through Cornell’s edX MOOCs—CornellX.
To support Cornell’s strategic goal of “Excellence in Public Engagement,” the Provost established a campus-wide Public Engagement Council comprised of senior staff and tenured faculty. The Council is co-chaired by the Vice Provost and the Provost’s Fellows for Public Engagement and is advisory to the Vice Provost and Provost.
As an institution, Cornell is committed to extending its legacy of recruiting and supporting a heterogeneous faculty, student body, and staff; fostering a climate that engages with its diverse community; and providing rich opportunities for inclusive excellence. Promoting four core principles—composition, engagement, inclusion, and achievement, Toward New Destinations provides a systematic institutional planning structure in support of Cornell’s vision of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.”