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Business college will rely on Cornell's research strengths

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John Carberry

Cornell’s tradition of cross-disciplinary study will be central to the College of Business’ advantage against its peers, according to a committee that is helping shape the new college.

The three schools that will be part of the new college have a long history of success in using Cornell’s broader academic strengths – such as engineering and environmental sciences – to sustain research excellence, according to the faculty governance committee’s first progress report.

Similarly, the schools’ success connecting business and economics to non-business research, such as from Cornell Tech and the agricultural, environmental and behavioral sciences, bodes well for the college, the report said.

The college can also build on the schools’ commitment to outstanding teaching and advising, and their ability to apply research to real-world problems in a way that benefits the public in the best land-grant university tradition, the report said.

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“Whether or not one uses the ‘land-grant tradition’ descriptor, all three schools celebrate long-term external relationships founded on faculty commitment to achieving impact in target private and public sectors. Those relationships lead to deep engagement through alumni and corporate partners that provide access to data, funding and jobs for graduates,” the report said.

“The Cornell College of Business aims not just to educate extraordinary students and generate path-breaking discoveries, but also to help the private sector effect positive societal change,” said Chris Barrett, the committee co-chair and the college’s deputy dean and dean of academic affairs designate.

The faculty governance committee is one of seven committees charged with helping to shape the new college. Each committee comprises representatives from the Cornell administration and each school: the School of Hotel Administration, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. Each of the seven committees will submit a preliminary report in mid-April.

Also in its report, the faculty governance committee identified several key benefits faculty hope to derive from unification:

  • college-level programming for Master of Professional Studies degrees;
  • online and mixed online/residential executive education and non-degree programming;
  • integrated doctoral curriculum and matching of graduate students to teaching assistant opportunities;
  • career services;

  • entrepreneurship;
  • sustainability; and
  • strengthening centers, institutes and programs.

“The common refrain was that we aim to become better, not just bigger,” the report said.

The committee agreed to focus first on building coordinated new programs and defining the advantages around which the college’s strategy will be built. Then it will focus on adjustments to existing programs to reinforce strengths.

In upcoming meetings the committee will identify the organizing principles – for example, common research interests or curriculum content – shared by the schools. “We think of the areas as the ‘horizontals’ that connect faculty across schools, in a matrix structure in which the three schools … are the ‘verticals,’” the report said.

Provost Michael Kotlikoff and other campus leaders welcome Cornell faculty and staff to a town hall forum for faculty and staff Feb. 17, 4:30-6 p.m., Lewis Auditorium, G76 Goldwin Smith Hall.

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