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Institute for the Social Sciences names 13 faculty fellows

Another 13 social scientists from across the university are joining the Institute for the Social Sciences as fellows-in-residence during the 2015-16 academic year.

Open to associate and assistant professors, the ISS fellows program gives exceptionally strong social science faculty members a semester away from the daily demands of teaching and departmental service to advance and publish their scholarship.

“The ISS faculty fellows program offers a rare opportunity for social science faculty to focus solely on their research during the critical two to three years before their promotion reviews,” says Kim Weeden, ISS director. “It’s an enormously successful program that has allowed Cornell to recruit, retain and nurture the careers of some of the best early-career social scientists in the country.”

The 2015-16 cohort includes Levon Barseghyan, economics; Ernesto Bassi, history; Erin York Cornwell, sociology; Kurt Jordan, anthropology; and Adam Levine, government, all in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Three faculty members from the College of Human Ecology – Jane Mendle and Nathan Spreng, both from human development, and Laura Tach from policy analysis and management – were named fellows. Two faculty members from the ILR School – Eli Friedman, international and comparative labor and Victoria Prowse, labor economics – are also joining the group.

Natalie Bazarova and Connie Yuan, both in the Department of Communication in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Michael Manville, city and regional planning in the college of Architecture, Art, and Planning, also were named ISS faculty fellows.

Each member of the cohort will receive a $10,000 research grant, an office in the ISS, partial course relief and a break from major administrative responsibilities in their department for one semester. The cohort will meet regularly to exchange ideas, discuss their research and explore cross-disciplinary collaborations. Each fellow’s department will receive $5,000 to partially offset the course reductions.

“The ISS fellowship was enormously helpful in providing me with protected time and space for focused research, and for facilitating dialogue with scholars in other academic units around campus. I wrote an entire book on research methods during my fellowship year – a book that I could not have written without the time and resources the ISS provides,” says Benjamin Cornwell, associate professor of sociology and 2012-13 ISS faculty fellow.

Karel Mertens, associate professors of economics, also was an ISS fellow in 2012-13. “The ISS faculty fellowship program encouraged me to leave the comfort zone of my own field and learn about the research questions and methodologies across the social sciences. It was an invaluable experience that has helped me generate new ideas as well as put my ongoing research into perspective,” he says.

This will be the third group of faculty fellows the ISS has hosted since its inception in 2004. The fellows were nominated by their department chairs and deans, and selected in a cross-university competition by an interdisciplinary review committee.

Lori Sonken is the staff writer at the Institute for the Social Science.

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