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Countdown to Cornell's 150th year and a goal of 100 new faculty fellowships

President David Skorton

President David Skorton See larger image

Last year, President David Skorton announced a $100 million Cornell Faculty Renewal Fund to enable the university to hire 100 new faculty members by 2015, with half the funding coming from philanthropy and the balance from Cornell dollars. Already, alumni and friends have donated $13 million toward the $50 million goal. The fellowships are now called the Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellowships.

Each of Cornell's colleges and schools has specific goals for each fellowship, and the deans have established plans to shape the colleges' futures with the injection of new faculty talent. Here is a look at how this future is unfolding.


Goal: $5 million to support 10 faculty fellowships

Focus: Dean Kathryn Boor describes important opportunities for faculty hiring in environment, life sciences, food and energy systems, and community and economic development. Great potential exists at the interdisciplinary intersections of these areas, she said, in discovery and application to society's needs. Examples of specific areas for new faculty hires include sustainable food systems, biomaterials engineering, extreme weather and climate change, and population genomics.

Progress: The college has received a commitment of $500,000 for one faculty fellowship.


Goal: $2 million to support four fellowships

Focus: Dean Kent Kleinman has identified the emerging issues to address with the new hiring as "global urbanization, the consequences of the technology revolution on the shape and use of the built environment, and the urgent issue of climate change."

Progress: Gift discussions are underway; no gift has yet been announced.


Goal: $10 million to support 20 faculty fellowships

Focus: According to Dean Peter Lepage: "The challenge is to maintain traditional strengths in every department – and they are considerable – while we make the most of opportunities to expand or refine particular areas of research. For example, this year's hires will allow us to add new areas of research on the pre-modern in Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as renew our prominence in 19th- and 20th-century literature and culture."

Progress: The college has received commitments of $4 million for eight fellowships.


Goal: $10 million for four faculty fellowships

Focus: Dean Daniel Huttenlocher noted: "Hiring the best faculty in these rapidly growing areas of scientific inquiry is fiercely competitive, as most top schools are aggressively seeking to expand their programs." Faculty renewal funds will enable CIS to attract outstanding faculty in critical areas such as social media, cloud computing, data mining and statistical modeling. These hires require not only funding for positions but also substantial resources to support start-up funding for the research careers of new faculty.

Progress: Gift discussions are underway; no gift announced yet.


Goal: $7.5 million to support 15 faculty fellowships

Focus: According to Dean Lance Collins, "Faculty renewal in the College of Engineering will be used to renew core competencies in critical areas most affected by retirements, as well as to advance the college in the following strategic research areas: advanced materials; nanotechnology; information, computation, communication and networks; bioengineering; and energy and sustainability."

Progress: An anonymous alumnus has endowed the Dale R. Corson Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellowship in Engineering to honor President Emeritus Corson's leadership during the campus tumult of the late 1960s and early 1970s. "The man's humanity, wisdom, vision, [and] leadership … very quickly calmed things down, brought people together, or at least towards reconciliation," said the alumnus.


Goal: $2.5 million to support five faculty fellowships

Focus: Dean Michael Johnson sees the continuation of the school's recruitment in all areas of the hospitality field, with an emphasis in areas most affected by faculty retirements – hotel operations, food and beverage, and real estate and finance.

Progress: "We have several active conversations taking place," according to the dean.


Goal: $2.5 million to support five faculty fellowships

Focus: Major cross-college collaborations – for example, faculty members who work at the interface of human development and neuroscience. The college is also hiring faculty to support the Cornell Population Program for its work on families and children, health disparities and health behaviors, said Dean Alan Mathios.

Progress: The college hopes to reach its goal within the year.


Goal: $2.5 million for five faculty fellowships

Focus: To recruit scholars in core disciplines of labor economics, human resource studies, statistics, sociology, collective bargaining and labor history.

Progress: "We were thrilled when Advisory Council member Ken DiPietro committed to establish ILR's first Sesquicentennial Fellowship in October 2010," said Dean Harry Katz.


Goal: $2.5 million to support five faculty fellowships

Focus: The school will hire and support new faculty members through its two new institutes: the Emerging Markets Institute and Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Progress: "We are committed" to raising funds to support at least one fellow a year in each of the next five years, according to Dean Joe Thomas. "We were able to raise [funds for] two this academic year, so we are ahead of schedule."


Goal: $1 million to support two faculty fellowships

Focus: As of July 1, the school will have a faculty of 41 tenured or tenure-track members, four fewer than its current goal of 45. "This would still make us a small faculty compared to most of our peer law schools," said Dean Stewart Schwab, "but would give us a significantly broader range of curricular areas and research methodologies than was the case even a few years ago, when the faculty numbered in the mid-30s."

Focus: Build up business law, constitutional and other public law, and maintain strength in contract law and civil procedure.

Progress: At press time, a decision was pending on the first Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellowship at Cornell Law School.


Goal: $2.5 million to support five faculty fellowships

Focus: The college's four mission areas are education, clinical service, research and diagnostics. "Within four years, we will have recruited new chairs in six out of eight college departments," said Dean Michael Kotlikoff. He added that "these individuals will shape their units by recruiting for the future, not just replacing the past."

Progress: No commitment has yet been made, but according to the dean the college is "reaching out to new donors and relying to a very significant degree on individuals beyond our alumni."

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