After chairing the government department for four years, Prof. Isaac Kramnick moved last month across the Arts Quad to Day Hall for a five-year term in the newly-revived position of vice provost for undergraduate education.
The Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government, Kramnick chaired the department since 1996. Kramnick, who has been a Cornell faculty member for 30 years, subsequently relinquished his chair as a result of his appointment to the new position, to be replaced by Prof. Valerie Bunce.
“I am excited about the possible role that I can play in [President Hunter R. Rawlings III’s] program to emphasize the quality of undergraduate education at Cornell,” said Kramnick. “I am very impressed with [his] desire to enhance the intellectual debate on campus,” he added.
“I want to learn a lot about undergraduate programs; I want to take a look at the Tuesday-Thursday crunch of students and faculty who only want to take courses and teach courses then, which creates huge problems; and I want to look at evening prelims, how come we have them and other institutions don’t,” Kramnick said.
Beyond academics, Kramnick has long been involved in projects geared towards undergraduate student life. He was one of the founding members of the Faculty Fellows and Faculty-in-Residence programs.
“Prof. Kramnick is a paragon among the distinguished faculty members who dedicate themselves to enhancing the undergraduate learning experience at Cornell,” Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin said in a statement.
During his term as vice provost, Kramnick will carry on co-chairing the West Campus Council, a committee composed of students, faculty and University staff members which presides over the development of the West Campus residential project, he said, adding that he has been involved in the project for the past four years.
“My concerns were always principally towards undergraduate education,” Kramnick said. “The faculty has made this place one of the great research universities; I would like to … throw some of this energy and expertise inward toward undergraduate education, because the two are not incompatible.”
Kramnick will continue teaching two of his popular classes, Government 386, American Political Thought from Madison to Malcolm X, and Government 161, Introduction to Political Philosophy, on alternate years.
Prior to his appointment as vice provost, Kramnick served as associate dean of the College of Arts and Science from 1986 to 1989 and chaired the government department from 1980 to 1985 before being reappointed to the position in 1996.
Kramnick, 63, received his Bachelor’s degree and earned his Ph. D. at Harvard University. He has been a Cornell faculty member since 1972.
Archived article by Ariane Bernard