Tucked away in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is a small, unpresuming minor few would suspect of a school better known for dairy and plant genetics.
The education minor — housed in CALS, but open to students of all colleges — is all that remains after the dissolution of Cornell’s education department nearly a decade ago. The University shut it down in 2010, and its faculty either retired, moved to other universities or dispersed to other departments.
“The department’s future has been debated in the college for several years,” Dean Kathryn Boor said in a University press release at the time. “CALS has come to the difficult conclusion that we do not have the additional resources that would need to be invested in the program to ensure its preeminence as we move into the future.”
Currently, the education courses are offered under the code “EDUC,” but there remains no consolidated department for the discipline. Instead, the education minor falls under the auspices of development sociology.
The education minor is intended for students interested in pursuing any career within the field of education — whether that be a traditional teaching path, a role in academic policy or a dozen other more niche professions, such as curriculum development or educational technology.
A key characteristic of the minor is the freedom it provides for individualized structure, opening up the minor to each student’s personal goals. For instance, if a student studying abroad finds a course they think fits well with the minor, it’s an option to count that course towards the minor’s elective credits, according to Minor Coordinator Prof. Bryan Duff, development sociology.