September 26, 2002

Faculty Forum Addresses C.U. Land Grant Mission

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To address concerns about the ongoing review of Cornell’s Land Grant mission, the University held a faculty forum last night, attended by around 75 people.

The United States government first established land grant institutions in 1865, to encourage application of University research to societal problems. The government designated Cornell as New York State’s land grant institution, which the statutory colleges, Cornell Cooperative Extension and other departments within the University continue today.

According to Francile Firebaugh ’62, vice provost for land grant affairs, the review will try to expand the Land Grant mission to the entire University in the future, rather than limiting it to the statutory colleges.

“I’m hoping that there will be a broader commitment to a Land Grant University across different colleges and departments,” she said. “Right now, I think many people associate the [statutory] colleges … with the land-grant mission and I’m hoping it will be a broader base than that in the future.”

Currently, the University is in the process of reviewing the Land Grant Mission, concentrating on connections between applicable research and community outreach. The University has created several panels to address various aspects of the Land Grant Mission, ranging from research in the statutory colleges to elementary and high school education.

The panels for Outreach/Extension for Colleges of Agriculture and Life Science, Human Ecology and Veterinary Medicine and Outreach/Extension for Industrial and Labor Relations, addressed research concerns in those individual colleges.

While the Engineering Outreach focused on community economic development, the panel on Technology Transfer examined how to improve technology dissemination in communities. Likewise, the K through 12 Education panel looked at how the University can improve teaching and education outside of Cornell.

Overseeing the entire review, the President’s Oversight Commission includes President Hunter R. Rawlings III, Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations and the chairs of each panel.

“As far as I see, the mission [of the University] is creating knowledge and sharing that knowledge. The Land Grant has the additional mission of working with communities,” said K-12 panelist Marianne Krasney ’74.

Panels are also addressing ways to strengthen ties between University research and outreach programs, like Cornell Cooperative Extension. This research can address everything from practical solutions for a company’s economic problems to general knowledge that can be used in teaching science in high school.

The review may also address integration and coordination of different outreach programs.

“I think there’s been little coordination and integration of the K through 12 outreach,” said Prof. David Henderson, mathematics, who attended the forum.

Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin closed the session by emphasizing that the review is still a work in progress.

“The reports need to evolve … and your feedback is critical,” she said.

Archived article by Shannon Brescher