Cornell’s Board of Trustees authorized plans for the proposed College of Business Saturday morning, President Elizabeth Garrett and Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced in an email.
The College of Business will merge the School of Hotel Administration, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. Garrett and Kotlikoff called the approval of the controversial new school “the beginning of an inclusive and crucial process that will more fully define the details of how the College of Business will be structured.”
“The plan for the new college will be developed with broad input from faculty, students, staff and alumni,” they wrote. “We wish to underscore our commitment to making this process inclusive and open for all … your input will be critical to its success.”
In the email, the two administrators also revealed new information about the structure and implementation of the newly approved business school.
The College of Business is expected to open in the 2016-17 academic year and will be composed on 145 research faculty and almost 2,900 undergraduate, professional and graduate students, according to the email.
Garrett and Kotlikoff stressed the interdisciplinary nature of the new college, writing that they predict it will enhance collaboration between different programs.
“For a top-tier university like Cornell, an outstanding and integrated business program … is necessary for success,” they wrote. “Students and faculty need to engage with the economy and business, as well as collaborate with other disciplines.”
The administrators also sought to reassure Cornellians that each of the three merged schools would retain its own “identity and mission” within the College of Business.
“The unique nature of our accredited business schools is among the primary factors that will distinguish the College of Business from its peers,” Garrett and Kotlikoff wrote.
Each of the schools will be governed by a dean who will be responsible for the academic curriculum and admissions of that school, according to the email.
Garrett and Katlikoff also noted their “regret” about the concerns voiced in recent weeks by Cornell’s students, faculty and alumni, who they said were “understandably upset” about the announcement.
Cornell’s Faculty Senate, University Assembly and Student Assembly had all passed motions to table the Board of Trustee’s vote on the plans for the College of Business, citing the administration’s lack of transparency and failure to illicit feedback before moving ahead with plans.
Many alumni have also threatened to pull endowment funding if the three schools were merged, The Sun previously reported.
In their email, Garrett and Kotlikoff conceded that the new school was announced without “a comprehensive discussion with all Cornell stakeholders and faculty.”
The administrators said, after hearing from many unhappy alumni, they have committed to work more closely with the alumni community as they move forward on the College of Business project.
Garrett and Kotlikoff expressed their hope that the new college would encourage and enable collaboration between programs in areas including globalization, technology and finance. They added that the College of Business will promote faculty interdisciplinary research efforts and bolster Cornell’s global initiatives.
There will be an informational session Tuesday to field concerns and questions from students and a town hall forum to address Cornell’s faculty and staff on Wednesday, according to the email.
“We will provide regular updates to the community on our progress toward our shared goals for the College,” the administrators stated.