The Task Force:

Name Field
Cowen, Todd Civil & Environmental Engineering
Donaghy, Kieran City & Regional Planning
Gomes, Carla Computing and Information Science
Goodale, Christy Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Hua, Ying Design & Environmental Analysis
Kerr, Rachel Bezner Development Sociology
Lehmann, Johannes School of Integrated Plant Sciences
Levine, Adam Government
Li, Shanjun Dyson – Applied Economics & Management
Lodge, David Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future
Mahowald, Natalie Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
Milstein, Mark Johnson School
Rodewald, Amanda Natural Resources
Rooks, Noliwe Africana Studies & Research Center
Sachs, Aaron History
Schuldt, Jonathan Communication
Stedman, Rich Natural Resources
Torres, Gerald Law
Van Nydam, Daryl Population Medicine & Diagnostic Sciences
Walter, Todd Biological and Environmental Engineering




The Charge:

Sustainability scholarship embodies the belief that human thriving requires social systems, economic systems, and biodiverse ecosystems that equitably serve humanity now and in the future. It is committed to the idea that satisfying the needs of humans today should not come at the expense of satisfying the needs of future human generations. Transformational societal change at all scales is required, and is as dependent on imagination and changes in attitudes, policies, and institutions as on technological discoveries.

Sustainability scholarship is inherently applied and interdisciplinary, requiring interactions of researchers from the social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, the arts, law, and business. It occupies the intersection of intellectual grand challenges and application—the realm of research often described as Pasteur’s Quadrant. Research questions may often come from public and private decision-makers who desire research-based guidance.

With creative deployment of additional resources and enhanced institutional practices and programs, Cornell can achieve preeminence as the originator of breakthrough sustainability scholarship, and the leading university in contributing to local to global sustainability solutions in practice.

The task force’s strategic plan, to be submitted during the Spring 2017 semester, should propose:

  • how to increase the large-scale, long-term impact of Cornell research outside the academy (this will be informed by task force engagement with non-academic leaders);
  • research theme(s) on which to focus a university cross-college hiring effort;
    specific research areas for which faculty searches would be essential, with suggestions about which colleges/departments could be appropriate homes, and how searches would be coordinated across units to maximize impact on interdisciplinary research;
  • strategies and sequences of hiring to maximize the synergistic impact of the hires, including consideration of targeted senior hires;
  •  enhanced or additional supporting staffing, programs, activities, or initiatives that would create greater synergies; and
  •  how existing college or external resources will be leveraged to increase the impact of resources from the provost’s office.