Maria Fitzpatrick, professor of economics and public policy in the College of Human Ecology (CHE), is Cornell’s new associate vice provost for social sciences.
The announcement was made earlier this year by Emmanuel Giannelis, vice provost for research and vice president for technology transfer, intellectual property and research policy. Fitzpatrick began her three-year appointment Sept. 1, following the departure of Chris Wildeman, former professor of policy analysis and management (CHE), who left the university over the summer.
Fitzpatrick joins Paula Cohen, associate vice provost for life sciences and professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine, to further the Office of the Vice Provost for Research’s mission of advancing and supporting Cornell research.
“Maria brings to the role a deep knowledge of the social sciences landscape at Cornell,” Giannelis said, “and a vision for promoting research and scholarship collaborations in the social sciences and beyond.”
Fitzpatrick, also director of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, sees her new role as an opportunity to leverage the strength of social sciences research at Cornell to the benefit of interdisciplinary collaborations across the university.
“Research is a fundamental part of what we do at the university,” she said. “The associate vice provost is situated to elevate the conversation about research in the social sciences and keep it front and center, reinforcing the unique strengths of Cornell social sciences among top-tier research institutions.”
Both Giannelis and Cohen concurred.
“Cornell’s culture and ethos is to be collaborative,” Giannelis said. “We have successfully leveraged collaborations in life sciences, physical sciences and engineering. Integrating with the social sciences represents the new frontier.”
“Having Maria join the OVPR team is fantastic,” Cohen said, “and I am particularly excited about the opportunities we will have to collaborate on issues that are important to researchers in the life sciences and the social sciences.”
Fitzpatrick looks to foster investment in social sciences research and scholarship, from physical infrastructure to the institutional networks that support collaborations with researchers in the social sciences.
“In this position, I hope to build bridges between different centers and researchers on campus in order to catalyze new partnerships among social scientists and between social, life and physical scientists,” she said.
Through the associate vice provost for social sciences role, Giannelis has advanced large-scale initiatives, such as the Center for Social Sciences, established in 2019 to enhance the stature and impact of the social sciences at Cornell by facilitating collaborations that build on Cornell’s strengths. The role also provided critical support for the Pitch for the People contest, a student-organized competition that encouraged students, staff and faculty in the humanities and social sciences to pitch projects designed to tackle a social problem and “better humanity.”
Fitzpatrick, who came to Cornell in 2011, received her bachelor’s in economics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.
Ellen Hartman is interim communications director in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.