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Deans Boor, Collins, Knuth reappointed to second terms

Kathryn Boor
Lance Collins
Barbara Knuth

Three deans have been reappointed to second five-year terms, Cornell Provost Kent Fuchs announced Oct. 17.

The reappointments of Kathryn Boor ’80, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS); Lance R. Collins, the Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering; and Barbara Knuth, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School, have been approved by the Cornell Board of Trustees. In addition to her reappointment as dean, Knuth has been named senior vice provost.

“The accomplishments of these deans in their first terms have been exemplary,” Fuchs said. “It’s no coincidence that all three are committed to excellence in education, scholarship and engagement with the world. I have enjoyed working with these university leaders and am thrilled that they have agreed to serve another term.”

In her first term as dean, Boor led CALS to invest strategically in critical programs and facilities to ensure the college’s national and global leadership across its priority areas of life sciences, food and energy systems, environmental sciences and applied social sciences. She successfully fundraised to support faculty hiring and programs and increased resources to support research at the local, state and national levels.

Under Boor’s leadership, the number of applicants to CALS undergraduate programs have reached record highs and yielded the most diverse student population in the college’s history. The undergraduate business program in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management was named as the top-ranked business program in the Ivy League. New experiential learning opportunities have been launched for students, and multiple curricula have been completely revamped, including the new interdisciplinary environmental science and sustainability major. A regional team approach has been piloted for Cornell Cooperative Extension and the June 2014 launch of the School of Integrative Plant Science will enhance Cornell’s leadership in plant, soil and related microbial sciences. An ambitious strategic plan for the college was released this month.

Boor was appointed to the board of directors of the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research, where she also will chair the Committee on Scientific Review. She also serves on the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council and on the board of trustees for the International Life Sciences Institute.

Collins was instrumental in creating, developing and implementing Cornell’s winning bid for Cornell Tech in New York City and remains part of the executive team that oversees programming offered at the new graduate campus and facilitates strong ties between the campuses. During his first term as dean, he has focused his efforts on faculty renewal at the College of Engineering and its research in the school’s areas of focus: advanced materials, bioengineering, complex systems, network science and computation, and energy.

He further developed the college’s undergraduate program through curriculum improvement while also enhancing experiential learning, and launched several new programs, including ones focusing on leadership and entrepreneurship, while boosting the college’s commitment to and support of its renowned student-project teams. Collins also played an active role in the college’s brand communication platform to inform external audiences of faculty and student work and the school’s uniqueness.

In his second term, Collins will push the College of Engineering to become more engaged with the world and nurture the continued growth of Cornell Tech and its relationship with the college. He will focus on industry ties and connections and keep Cornell engineering working as an active member of the local economies in Ithaca and New York City through its entrepreneurship programming.

As dean of the Graduate School, Knuth established faculty-led assessment and improvement processes for every graduate field at Cornell, with a focus on supporting successful and timely degree completion. She has worked to improve understanding of the graduate student experience through comprehensive surveys of students and alumni with the goal of improving academic programs and professional development opportunities. Recognized as a national advocate for graduate education, Knuth will become chair of the Council of Graduate Schools in December.

As vice provost, Knuth established and fostered partnerships that have resulted in the most socioeconomically and racially diverse undergraduate population in Cornell’s history. To strengthen and expand support programs for undergraduates, she led the reconfiguration of the undergraduate Office of Minority Educational Affairs to become the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives. She also led efforts to improve the Cornell visitor experience, focusing on how multiple offices across campus support prospective undergraduates and their families, including planning for a new campus visitor center.

Knuth aims to continue improving the graduate student experience by increasing fellowship funding, leading the implementation of the Graduate and Professional Community Initiative and expanding programming to cultivate transferable skills for graduate and professional students. She will continue diversifying the university’s undergraduate and graduate populations while maintaining the long-term sustainability of Cornell’s financial aid programs. As senior vice provost, she also plans to advance the analysis of undergraduate enrollment in support of Cornell’s strategic priorities and continue to make improvements to the visitor experience.

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Joe Schwartz