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2016 Engaged Faculty Fellows

Our Faculty Programs seek to support those leading or involved with engagement initiatives. Our programming provides spaces to learn how engaged research or service-learning courses can work for you, connect with other like-minded individuals, discover best methods, develop collaborations and new ideas, and explore the resources available.

Read about the 2016 Engaged Faculty Fellows in the Cornell Chronicle

  • Stephanie Creary, Assistant Professor, Management and Organizations, School of Hotel Administration, College of Business
  • Michael FontaineAssociate Professor, Classics, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Tom Hirschl, Professor, Development Sociology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Anna Kelles, Lecturer, Division of Nutritional Sciences, College of Human Ecology
  • Jamila Michener, Assistant Professor, Government, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Laurie Miller, Associate Director, CIPA Public Engagement, and Capstone Instructor, College of Human Ecology
  • Robin Radcliffe, Senior Lecturer, Wildlife and Conservation Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Shirley Samuels, Professor, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Rebecca Slayton, Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Sciences
  • John Tobin, Professor, Practice in Corporate Sustainability and Impact Investing, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences/College of Human Ecology
  • Thuy Tranviet, Senior Lecturer, Asian Studies, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Jeanne Varney, Lecturer, Properties Design and Management, School of Hotel Administration, College of Business

Stephanie J. Creary

Assistant Professor, Management and Organizations, School of Hotel Administration, College of Business

Field of Work:

My research interests are centered on meaning, identity, diversity, and change and innovation.

About the Project:

Creary’s community-engaged course is HADM 4125/6125 Foundations of Social Entrepreneurship. In this course, the theory and practice of social entrepreneurship focuses on using management principles to make a positive impact on society. Yet, she believes that it is difficult for students to understand what that means or how to accomplish this without front-line/first-hand experience outside of a traditional classroom. Therefore, in this course and in partnership with the Cornell Public Service Center, students engage with community partners in the field to connect management theories, concepts, and ideas about social entrepreneurship to community-engaged experiences. Specifically, over the course of the semester, students spend at least 12 hours engaging with a community partner in the field to not only enhance their learning of course-related material but also enhance the community partner’s ability to enrich the lives of the people it supports. As such, students’ engagement with the community and related experiences is fully integrated into all of the required deliverables for this course.

The design of this course is consistent with Creary’s teaching philosophy, which emphasizes learning by doing and experimenting. She believes that learning should be active, which research shows is an engaging way to learn higher-level thinking skills — much more so than just having a lecturer stand at the front of the class. Thus, whether in class, on campus, or out on the field, students enrolled in this course use active, hands-on, and collaborative learning methods to propose solutions to real-world dilemmas in real organizations.

Why She Does It:

“At heart, I am an identity scholar and field researcher who is passionate about social change. Prior to completing my PhD, I was a research associate at Harvard Business School and The Conference Board in New York City, a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. I also have extensive experience in the healthcare industry and contributing to other types of organizations committed to social change.

“Much of my research lends insight into the multiple social, professional, and organizational identity dynamics that shape the myriad boundaries in organizational life and change people’s work lives for the better. Through this research, I have become increasingly interested in the dynamics of re-purposing in organizations — when individuals transform existing resources, frameworks, tools, artifacts, ideas, concepts, and spaces, for example, for alternative use. I am particularly interested in how re-purposing is used to change relationships, organizations, and the broader society for the better and the identity dynamics that contribute to related processes.

“Hence, re-purposing is the concept that underlies much of what the students are learning in my social entrepreneurship course.

“I believe that engaging directly with communities enhances students’ learning experiences, connects theory to practice, and is a fantastic way of address communities’ needs.”

Learn More:

stephaniecreary.com

Faculty Profile:

Stephanie Creary


Michael Fontaine

Associate Professor, Classics, College of Arts and Sciences

About the Project:

“The Rebirth of Living Latin” will help Cornell undergraduates take advantage of exciting and unique opportunities offered by The Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study.

Paideia is a wildly successful startup. It’s a nonprofit that teaches undergraduate students to speak, read, and write Latin and ancient Greek, in Rome and in Greece, and at the highest possible level. Since Latin and Greek are dead languages, these are life-changing opportunities that students can’t get anywhere else. This project aims to cover their costs — every penny goes to the students. When those students return to Ithaca, they’ll help all of us build on a distinct and growing area of academic excellence.

Why He Does It:

“Some communities you’re born into; others you have to create. The benefits of learning Latin actively rather than passively are gigantic, obvious, and the way of the future. The enthusiasm is huge, too, but there just aren’t enough teachers. In just a few years, however, some of our students will be professors or teachers themselves. If we show them how to do it now, we’ll reap the benefits for generations.

“If we’re going to reach critical mass in this new community, we’ve got to prime the pump — and Paideia’s programs are the best way to do that. And because Paideia takes our students to foreign countries, where they study amid ancient monuments and new cultures, the experience changes their lives forever. That’s the essence of a liberal arts education.”

 Learn More:

The People Who Are Bringing Latin to Life” (The Wall Street Journal)

Latin Lives” (The Nation)

Living Latin in Rome” (The Paideia Institute)

Faculty Profile:

Michael Fontaine

twitter.com/M_S_Fontaine


anna_kelles_fac_fellowAnna Kelles

Lecturer, Division of Nutritional Sciences, School of Human Ecology

About the Project:

The lack of food and nutrition equity and its impact on cognitive development — and ultimately professional achievement — not only affects the quality of life of individuals but tracks the potential of their children and children’s children. A staggering percentage of people in the United States face regular food insecurity and hunger. Unfortunately, we do not have a comprehensive nutrition policy to address this issue. The inadequate policies and programs that provide support are siloed into disparate local, state, and federal departments and among equally siloed not-for-profits. The lack of communication and collaboration between these entities stunts our ability to address the core problem.

“Feeding for the Future: Nutrition and how it shapes future generations” will have a two-tiered structure. Students will receive course instruction as well as a parallel field experience. Instruction will begin with an overview of epigenetics — that our environment affects not only our genetic expression but the genetic potential passed to our offspring. This topic will be followed by instruction laying out the ecological model around the core relationship between nutrition, cognitive development, and professional success. Students will explore the dynamic relationships between food production and distribution, food waste management, food education, food policy, social pressures, structural racism, living wage, access to affordable housing, mass transportation, urban planning, and environmental stewardship — all of which affect food security. This overview will provide the context for a detailed exploration into a systems approach to problem solving using collective impact models.

In parallel with course instruction students will self-select a discipline within the larger ecological model and be matched with a government or non-governmental organization engaged in that discipline (e.g., food waste management). The course will culminate in a Model UN-style week of negotiations where each group, representing their discipline and corresponding agency, will play their role as part of a collaborative solution to food access in the community. Unlike most field components where students play an advisory role, the intention of this course is to embed them in the community to gain a visceral sense and appreciation for the day-to-day challenges of working in a real-world context.

Why She Does It:

“In my past experience creating engaged learning experiences for students, I often heard statements like, ‘I didn’t realize how gray (or messy) the ‘real world’ can be.’ It is a tremendous opportunity to experience theory in practice and understand how to temper and balance academic knowledge with interpersonal skills to develop creative solutions. Engaged learning experiences helps students build self-awareness, self-confidence, and even humility that will help them succeed after they graduate.”

Faculty Profile:

Anna Kelles


Jamila Michener

Assistant Professor, Government, College of Arts and Sciences

About the Project:

As a faculty fellow, Michener will design a community-engagement component for her spring 2017 undergraduate lecture course on “Prisons, Politics, and Policy.” The course will examine the policies that are implicated in the imprisonment of large numbers of people in the United States and the politics at the root of those policies. A key focus of the course will be on the lived experiences of those who are most directly impacted by the carceral state. To that end, she will cultivate collaboration between Cornell students taking the class and local organizations that offer support services to formerly incarcerated persons. The goal of this partnership will be two-fold: 1) to provide students with a learning-rich opportunity for civic engagement and 2) to strengthen and amplify the efforts of the Ithaca community to address the challenges produced by mass incarceration. The support of the Office of Engagement Initiatives will be crucial to coordinating this endeavor.

Why She Does It:

In her research and teaching, Michener always seeks to connect the insights of academic scholarship to the practice of informed and engaged citizenship. This is part of that larger commitment.

Learn More:

jamilamichener.net

twitter.com/povertyscholar

Faculty Profile:

Jamila Michener


Laurie Miller

Associate Director, CIPA Public Engagement, and Capstone Instructor, College of Human Ecology

Field of Work:

Public policy, social policy

About the Project:

Miller is developing opportunities for CIPA students to partner in engaged learning projects with students from other programs to conduct research in collaboration with community partners. This learning can then be shared with decision makers developing policies and practical solutions to the world’s pressing problems. For example, CIPA students and students studying in other disciplines, such as medicine and human rights, could work together with community partners to conduct research on health care equity; CIPA students and students studying environmental science could work together with community partners to develop options for addressing problems related to drought, water quality, or climate change.

Miller hopes to develop a project with Inter-American Development Bank’s (IADB) SMI initiative, a public/private partnership to reduce health equity gaps in Central America, with whom capstone students have worked for several years, and other partners working to improve health care. CIPA students as well as students from other departments at Cornell (and perhaps from other universities) would conduct research in collaboration with community partners.

This would facilitate students’ abilities to identify, gather, and integrate information from a variety of fields in ways that encourage the creation of new knowledge with community partners, and to identify options that policy makers could choose from to address public problems in ways that are innovative, relevant, realistic, and culturally appropriate. Participation in the Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program will allow Miller to explore approaches, and develop new partners, for working with students to meet these objectives.

Why She Does It:

“I want to create a rich, interdisciplinary engaged learning field experience for professional level students. My students and I want our work to have a positive impact and to be responsive to real needs posed by our community partners. I hope that this project will have short- and long-term impact. In the near-term, students in the course will continue to work with a diverse set of community partners to research and develop effective and relevant programs and strategies to better address problems and opportunities within those communities.

“For example, in our work with IADB’s SMI, my students identify, analyze, and develop opportunities to reduce equity gaps in health care. They gather and consider the perspectives of multiple stakeholders: for example, different kinds of health care practitioners such as midwives, doctors, or technicians; patients and community members; and policy makers, funders, and organizations. They take into account markets, policies, regulations and other forces driving the development of new programs or solutions. In the long-term, I hope that through this experience, my professional students carry into their careers a capacity to navigate varied institutions, organizations, and cultures, and engage and work with diverse stakeholders to address wicked problems.”

Learn More:

Inter-American Development Bank’s SMI Initiative

CIPA Public Engagement


Robin W. Radcliffe

Senior Lecturer, Wildlife and Conservation Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine

Field of Work:

The conservation of endangered species and ecosystems through discovery and education in partnership with governments, nongovernmental organizations, and local communities.

About the Project:

Students in the professional DVM program at the College of Veterinary Medicine are well trained in biomedical and diagnostic sciences through Cornell resources; however, they lack satisfactory real-life training with structured programs that focus on the social, cultural, political, and economic aspects of biodiversity conservation programs. Undergraduate students would benefit from exposure to professional students through a shared activity. Therefore, Radcliffe proposes to link a Cornell DVM student with an undergraduate student and develop a team that will offer a new model for peer-learning with specific outcomes that are meaningful to the needs of communities.

This proposal connects the students’ knowledge background offered in the existing curriculum with a choice of career path, hopefully making them equipped for decision-making. DVM professional students can contribute to these programs with their expertise, creativity, and enthusiasm — building a scenario for exchange. Radcliffe would also like DVM students to work or train in teams. The discipline of conservation medicine links the health of animals, people, and the environment, and is heavily dependent on the understanding of the context in which these elements interact.

Through direct experiences at established field sites in Indonesia, Uganda, and Republic of Congo and through Cornell faculty mentoring, students will develop a focused project in conservation medicine. In Africa or Indonesia, student teams will work with the Jane Goodall Institute or Ujung Kulon National Park multidisciplinary teams on an existing field activity that requires problem-solving in species conservation, sustainable use of natural resources, provision of essential goods and services, and public health. Specifically, student participation will fall within one of three partnering programs: “Rhinoceros and Human Co-existence” in Indonesia, “Protection of Great Apes” in Africa, or “Healthy Habitats” in Africa. By bringing students to the challenges faced by conservation initiatives for rhinos and apes, Radcliffe hopes to exemplify the need to create lasting partnerships, build local capacity, and reach beneficial solutions. Both rhinos and primates are flagship and keystone species symbolizing the diversity of their forest homes in Asia and Africa. As such, they share similar struggles in the form of direct human conflict (snaring, poaching for bushmeat, and illegal trade), habitat loss (conversion of forest to agricultural production), zoonosis, and emerging diseases — problems inseparable from human livelihoods.

Why He Does It:

Training the next generation of conservation leaders and environmental stewards is essential if humans are able to find sustainable solutions to living on planet earth.

Learn More:

Cornell Center for Wildlife Conservation – Robin Radcliffe

Living Fossil Foundation

Faculty Profile:

Robin Radcliffe


Rebecca Slayton

Assistant Professor, Science & Technology Studies Department and Peace and Conflict Studies Institute, College of Arts and Sciences

About the Project:

Contemporary information and communication technologies offer tremendous power, but they have also brought new vulnerabilities. The same technologies that offer ready communication between people on opposite sides of the world can be turned into tools of mass surveillance. The technologies that make electronic commerce convenient can also create opportunities for crime and fraud on an unprecedented scale. And the computers that run electric power grids, transportation systems, and other critical infrastructures are an attractive target for undermining the security of the society that depends upon them. Cybersecurity has thus become a multifaceted problem impacting individual freedoms, economic opportunity, and national security.

While many students are eager to study these wide-ranging developments, universities are only beginning to engage with these problems. Many institutions offer technical training, but the interdisciplinary problems of cybersecurity have received relatively little attention either in curriculum or faculty research. The professionals who understand the problems at the most practical levels are largely outside of academia. As an Engaged Faculty Fellow, Slayton is developing a course which will give both advanced undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to engage with professionals working in the field of cybersecurity and to integrate academic understandings of cybersecurity with everyday practice.

Slayton’s work with the Engaged Faculty Fellows program is part of a National Science Foundation CAREER award project that is focused on integrating research and teaching. The project, “Enacting Cybersecurity Expertise,” is examining the emergence of several distinctive and interacting expert communities focused on critical infrastructure.

Why She Does It:

“In my two years at Cornell, I have met graduate students and undergraduates who are eager to learn more about cybersecurity and expect to pursue careers in the field. However, I have struggled to find appropriate pedagogical materials. Scholarly research on the topic is still new and needs development. At the same time, practitioners in the field are struggling to develop a conceptual framework and vocabulary for resolving the challenges they face. I hope that this project will integrate rigorous academic research and teaching towards resolving some of today’s most pressing problems in cybersecurity.”

Learn More:

Regulation and Power Grid Resilience

Faculty Profile:

Rebecca Slayton


Thúy Tranviet

Senior Lecturer, Asian Studies, College of Arts and Sciences

Field of Work:

Asian studies, Vietnamese studies, international education

About the Project:

With the support of the Internationalizing the Cornell Curriculum Grants, Tranviet is designing a year-long course to offer students an international education through the lens of climate change. The course, “Climate Change Awareness and Service Learning in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam,” is a three-semester course encompassing a seven-week preparatory course taught at Cornell in fall 2016, followed by a two-week field trip in Vietnam in January 2017. Returning to Cornell in spring 2017, the group will meet for another seven weeks to reflect on the field trip and work on presentation and projects.

During the first seven weeks in the fall, the students will be offered lectures on topics related to international development and climate change, broadly speaking, as well as the specific problems facing the Mekong Delta. The students will have lessons on Vietnamese language and elements of Vietnamese cultures prior to traveling to the country. Topics discussed include the Vietnam War, with a special focus on the environmental impacts of the War.

In Vietnam, the students will have opportunities to visit museums, temples, and other cultural sites. They will also travel to national parks and biosphere reserves as well as crisscrossing the waterways to fruit gardens, mangrove forests, and rice paddies in the Mekong Delta of Southern Vietnam. There, the students will attend lectures given by local university scientists and climate change experts, engage with representatives from local government agencies, residents, and farmers to gain knowledge and assess beliefs and perceptions of climate change. They will also spend some time interacting with local university students and engage in hands-on work as part of the service-learning experience.

Why She Does It:

“I am developing this internationally oriented and interdisciplinary course because I would like to offer Cornell students an ultimate education. I want to provide students with an opportunity to expand their international experience through interacting with people from a different country and background. This has always been very important to me; my early years spent traveling the world shaped me, both as a person and as a teacher. The idea of connecting classroom instruction with experiential learning is crucial, not only for the practical experience gained but also for learning about other people’s ways of life. I hope the experience will enrich and broaden the students’ cross-cultural experience and enhance their sense of empathy and worldview to become more socially responsible and conscientious global citizens.

“The issue of climate change is also very dear to me. Through this course, the students will gain a deeper understanding of the effects of climate change and the challenges faced by millions of people living in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam as a real and lived experience. They will also gain knowledge on other pressing issues such as the global food system and its security and the meaning of environmental impacts of war, its legacy, and implications for environmental and socio-economic unrest. I think this course will be among the most salient learning moments of students’ Cornell education.”

Learn More:

This is a collaborative project between two Cornell instructors from two different colleges (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Arts and Sciences) as well as several partnerships including host country universities and local communities and provincial leaders in Vietnam.

Climate change in Vietnam spurs students to speak up” (Cornell Chronicle)

Faculty Profile:

Thúy Tranviet


Jeanne Varney

Lecturer, Properties Design and Management, School of Hotel Administration, College of Business

Field of Work:

Building facilities management, sustainable development and sustainable operations, within a hospitality industry context

About the Project:

What better way to understand a subject than to teach it to someone else (and still be a student without even realizing it)? Cornell students will have the opportunity to switch roles and become the teachers in this community-based learning project with a local elementary school. The students develop and design a sustainability education session, and the teaching style is a combination of introducing concepts and then having fun with an activity that uses the elementary students newly found knowledge. When the Cornell students are not in the group facilitating an education session, they become participants themselves and assist in the tutoring of the elementary students.

For our community member, the goal is to bring new education, developmental skills, and friendship to the students and school community and for them to feel a connection with their Cornell neighbors. Although the framework is for the Cornell students to bring education to the local elementary school, it is expected that the learning experiences will be mutually beneficial.

The purpose of the community-engaged project in the class is to help the students understand the relationship of community-engaged service with corporate social responsibility (CSR) programming and why it is such an important component in a balanced CSR strategy. We can teach this concept in a classroom; however, if we bring the students into the community where they experience both the challenges and the joys of enriching a community member’s life, the experience becomes personal and far more enriching. Integrating reflective journal writing into the project also allows the students to take the time to enrich their ability to extract meaning from their experiences.

Why She Does It:

“When most students hear the word ‘sustainability,’ they think of environmental concerns. This is true, but it is only a part of the critical work in today’s sustainability movement. Community engagement is an essential part of well-balanced Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. Most students understand the value of volunteering as individuals, and this class will take it one step further. This project’s goal is to provide the students with an enriched learning experience that helps them make the connection between corporate volunteerism and improved local community health. When they graduate, my hope is that they will bring these ideals into their workplace and communities throughout the world.”

Faculty Profile:

Jeanne Varney