Provost’s Fellow for Public Engagement

Dear colleagues,

I am seeking applicants for the position of Provost’s Fellow for Public Engagement. This position has been held most recently by Professor Gerard Aching, and I am grateful for his invaluable leadership and contributions.

The Provost’s Fellow works closely with the Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs and Office of Engagement Initiatives (OEI). The Provost’s Fellow contributes to the broad mission of public engagement at Cornell with a particular focus on advancing the university’s community-engaged learning initiative. The next Provost’s Fellow will join this effort at an especially dynamic moment: serving as a vital partner in implementing our new strategic plan related to community-engaged learning, a purposeful advocate in advancing support and rewards for public engagement, and a critical thought-partner for staff and colleagues integrating engagement across the university. A full description of the position appears below.

Interested faculty members should submit a brief letter of interest and CV directly to me at by October 15, 2019. In addition, I am happy to discuss the position and to address questions.

A small committee will review applications, conduct interviews, and select a final candidate this fall. The position may begin as early as January 1, 2020, depending on the candidate’s availability.

Thank you for your interest and consideration.

Kind regards,

Katherine McComas
Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs



Position Description:

The Provost’s Fellow for Public Engagement advances Cornell’s public engagement mission with a particular focus on the initiatives surrounding community-engaged learning and research. Working closely with the Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs and the Office of Engagement Initiatives’ staff, collaborators, and other advisory groups, the Provost’s Fellow will play a vital role in helping to develop, implement, and evaluate the next era strategy that supports Cornell’s goal of 100% student participation in high quality community-engaged learning activities by 2025 and its sustainability thereafter. The Provost’s Fellow will join the leadership team that supports Cornell’s community-engaged learning initiative, which includes the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, the Vice Provost for International Affairs, the Vice President for Student and Campus Life, the Vice Provost for Academic Innovation, the Executive Director of the Office of Engagement Initiatives, and the Principal Gift Officer.

Depending on interest, expertise, and effort commitment, the Provost’s Fellow will focus attention on one or more of the issues listed below.

Working in close collaboration with the Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs and the Office of Engagement Initiatives, the Provost’s Fellow will address current needs of Cornell’s community-engaged learning initiative by advancing strategies that will promote and institutionalize:

  • faculty leadership in advancing the work of community-engaged learning and research;
  • sustainable models of community-engaged learning and research, particularly at a college level;
  • coordinated and rigorous investigation, evaluation, and assessment of community-engaged learning and research;
  • avenues for broader faculty and student participation in this initiative, specifically within units of Cornell that have fewer existing student opportunities; and
  • opportunities to bridge curricular and co-curricular activities to improve the quality of student learning experiences and community outcomes.

To accomplish the goals above, the Provost’s Fellow will:

  • cultivate collaborations and networks on campus and identify gaps, challenges, and opportunities;
  • promote and support collaboration among a variety of units and initiatives, including: colleges and schools; International Affairs; Research; Undergraduate Education; Student and Campus Life; Cornell Cooperative Extension; other extension and outreach units; and Cornell’s campuses and programs in New York City;
  • engage diverse audiences with the mission and activities of the Office of the Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs, while inviting dialogue around questions and points of tension;
  • co-chair, with the Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs, the Public Engagement Council and Faculty Advisory Committee connected with the community-engaged learning initiative; and
  • actively participate in the Office of Engagement Initiatives staff meetings.



The Provost’s Fellow will be a tenured member of the Cornell faculty who has had direct experience in community-engaged learning, service, and/or research; has had administrative experience at Cornell or elsewhere and be especially adept at promoting meaningful discussion and cooperation across colleges and fields of study; will be comfortable with complexity and with managing change; and will have experience collaborating with individuals occupying a variety of roles inside or outside of Cornell. The position will require a 50% level of effort over a three-year period. To support their role, the Provost’s Fellow will have use of a dedicated desk space within the Engaged Cornell Hub in Kennedy Hall. In ways relevant to the work portfolio, the Provost’s Fellow may be provided specific administrative support as well as professional and leadership development opportunities.