Faculty members Anthony Burrow and Julia Felippe, Ph.D. ’02, have been appointed provost’s fellows for public engagement, to advance Cornell’s public engagement mission and initiatives around community-engaged learning and research.
Burrow and Felippe will work to advance strategies for broader faculty and student participation, specifically within units having fewer existing opportunities for students; and curricular and co-curricular opportunities that will improve the quality of student learning experiences and community outcomes. Their appointments are for three years. They will report to Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs Katherine McComas, Ph.D. ’00.
Working with the vice provost’s office and Office of Engagement Initiatives staff, collaborators and advisory groups, the fellows will have an active role in helping to develop, implement and evaluate strategy supporting community-engaged learning as a hallmark of the Cornell experience. Objectives include 100% undergraduate participation by 2025 in activities with measurable community impact.
“Since 2011, the provost’s fellows for public engagement have been critical advocates for Cornell’s public engagement mission in all aspects of the university. I’m proud to be able to continue to support this vital position,” said Provost Michael Kotlikoff. “From conceiving and launching new initiatives, to co-chairing the Public Engagement Council, to networking and supporting colleagues, fellows have helped to raise the visibility of our public engagement work.”
Burrow, associate professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology, joined Cornell in 2011. He directs the Purpose and Identity Processes Lab and the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE), based in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. PRYDE works with Cornell Cooperative Extension and the New York State 4-H Youth Program to understand and improve the lives of young people.
His honors include Cornell’s 2019 Engaged Scholar Prize and the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015.
“Anthony has dedicated his work to helping students make a difference in the world around them,” McComas said. “His expertise in youth development and scholarship in community-engaged learning will help Cornell advance its efforts to enhance the visibility and impact of public engagement opportunities for students.”
Burrow teaches a large introductory undergraduate course on adolescent development, for about 300 students.
“And then, at the end of this instructional trajectory,” he said, “I also teach a senior-level engaged-learning course, through our PRYDE program, in which we partner with 4-H communities around New York state. This is a much smaller class; there’s seven students every year.”
Those students decide what they will do to support community partners, Burrow said. Capstone engaged-learning courses are meaningful to students, he said, because “they give students a chance to put to work what they’ve been learning along the way. And if we can find better and more ways of helping other instructors and other programs do more of that kind of thing, I want to be part of that.”
A member of the faculty since 2002, Felippe is a professor of large animal internal medicine in the Department of Clinical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and leads a research program in the Equine Immunology Lab. She is a Flora Rose House fellow and served on the faculty advisory council on community engagement from 2013-17 and the provost’s working group on public and global activities in 2016-17.
Felippe is the editor and a contributing author of “Equine Clinical Immunology” (2016), a comprehensive guide for the diagnosis and treatment of horses with immune disorders. Her honors include a Director’s New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health in 2010.
“Julia not only brings expertise in community-engaged learning and partnership development but also experience in ways to bridge professional and undergraduate programs, as she’s done so effectively in the College of Veterinary Medicine,” McComas said. “I am excited for the creativity she will bring to help grow and sustain Cornell’s public engagement activities.”
Felippe is one of the faculty on a community-engaged project led by Robin Radcliffe around animal conservation and environmental health.
In a large preparatory course in the spring, undergraduates and DVM students together “are exposed to political, socioeconomic, cultural and ecological concepts; and the challenges in certain parts of the world where we have partners. This gives them a bird’s-eye view of the contextual problems and barriers, and prepares them for reflection on potential projects,” Felippe said.
DVMs and undergrads paired in two-person teams then focus on one of these problems and propose procedures to better understand them. Eight or 10 students are selected for a summer engaged-learning program, partnering with veterinarians in the Republic of Congo, Uganda and Indonesia to work on primate and rhinoceros conservation. In the fall, students’ critical reflection on their experiences is facilitated by presentations and discussions with peers and faculty.
“In this context they learn about One Health, an idea that human health is directly connected with the health of animals and the environment,” Felippe said. “Those experiences are hard to replicate in the classroom. One of the course objectives is to prepare students to act in similar scenarios as future professionals.”
Burrow and Felippe will cultivate collaborations and networks on campus; promote and support collaboration among colleges, schools and a variety of units and initiatives, including extension and outreach units and Cornell programs in New York City; and engage diverse audiences with the mission and activities of the Office of the Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs.
They join the leadership team supporting community-engaged learning at Cornell, which also includes the vice provost for undergraduate education; the vice provost for international affairs; the vice president for student and campus life; the vice provost for academic innovation; the executive director of the Office of Engagement Initiatives; and the principal gift officer.