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From the publisher

Tommy Bruce

Tommy Bruce See larger image

In the previous three issues, Ezra looked at the myriad ways in which Cornell faculty are involved with improving life on this planet. Last winter we profiled the work of physicist Seamus Davis; in the spring we looked at how our rice researchers are finding ways to avert a global food crisis; and this summer we showed how Cornell's engineering college is striving to broaden the diversity of its faculty. Now, in this issue, we look at the humanities and the ways in which our faculty find research opportunities in teachable moments.

These stories have given readers a look at just a few of the remarkable, dedicated academics that make Cornell such an outstanding institution of learning and research. In these faculty-themed issues we have endeavored to present a view of our university as peopled by some of the best and brightest teachers and researchers working as "one Cornell" – a place where striving for a better world is de rigueur.

That we are concluding our series on outstanding faculty with the humanities is entirely appropriate for a university that is home to writers from Alison Lurie to Alice Fulton, and to academic luminaries such as M.H. Abrams and Walter LaFeber (see his essay on pages 8-9 in this issue). Our cover story is of particular note because it highlights a well-known fact among academics, yet one that is little understood outside academia: that teaching and research in the humanities are a tightly woven whole.

Ezra will be switching gears in the next four issues, identifying prime examples of the remarkable building activity that has occupied our planners in recent years. The landscape of the Ithaca campus is changing fast, with new buildings and facilities in the sciences, the arts and in architecture. Through the fall of 2012, Ezra will explore how students and faculty come together in these spaces and how what goes on inside them shapes Cornell's future.

I hope you will stay with us for this grand tour. It's going to be an interesting ride.

Thomas W. Bruce

Vice President, University Communications

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