Cornell sharpens its strategic approach to external education

Cornell is taking steps toward a more strategic approach to external education institutionwide, enabling the university to lead in this key area of 21st-century higher education.

As of January 2020, Cornell will bring together eCornell, its online learning platform, and other external education programs as a new unit under the academic leadership of the Office of the Provost. The integrated structure will be led by Paul Krause ’91, CEO of eCornell. Steven Carvell, professor of finance in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, will serve as the new vice provost for external education strategy.

“The new structure will enable better integration of all of our educational programs and better align online and executive education programs with our colleges and schools,” Provost Michael Kotlikoff said. “It will also allow a more strategic and coordinated approach to our efforts to reach life-long learners beyond traditional on-campus Cornell enrollees.”

To help make this vision a reality, the Cornell University Board of Trustees during its Oct. 16-19 meetings approved a measure to move eCornell to a nonprofit unit under the Office of the Provost, making it a core component of the university’s external education strategy.

“With the support of Cornell’s faculty, eCornell has achieved significant growth in new professional programs and enrollments over the past several years,” Krause said. “The new coordinated effort will facilitate even deeper collaboration for innovation and reach, allowing faculty to share their expertise around the globe, further enhancing the university’s reputation and aligning with our land-grant mission.”

The new governance structure also capitalizes on the state-of-the-art facilities and location of the Verizon Executive Education Center, opening next spring at Cornell Tech in New York City, Carvell said.

“An expected growth in revenues from a better coordinated, more expansive external education strategy will provide more resources for Cornell academic units, enabling greater investments in Cornell faculty and facilities,” he said.

Cornell external education will cultivate new institutional partners, including nongovernmental organizations and others beyond the traditional executive education model. This will aid faculty recruitment and retention, providing new avenues to keep faculty pedagogy relevant and innovative, Carvell said.

“The change also has the potential to further strengthen Cornell research,” he said, “creating new opportunities for applied research through direct partnerships with professionals in a wide range of disciplines.”

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Rebecca Valli