May 6, 2004

Provost Announces New HumEc Dean

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Provost Biddy Martin announced yesterday afternoon that the new Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecology will be Lisa Staiano-Coico Ph.D. ’81, Cornell’s vice provost for medical affairs.

Over the past year, Staiano-Coico also served as the executive director for the Tri-Institutional Research Program (TIRP) — a collaborative initiative which provides graduate programs and focuses its research on computational, chemical and cancer and developmental biology.

Staiano-Coico’s selection came after months of searching by a committee composed of faculty members and administrators. After the list of potentials was trimmed down to three, candidates came onto campus for two day visits. President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 made the final selection in mid-April, considering feedback from a variety of campus officials.

“I am truly thrilled to be taking on the leadership of the College of Human Ecology,” Staiano-Coico said in a press release. “I look forward to working with the faculty and leadership to foster a vision that will place the College of Human Ecology as a leader in the creation of knowledge and its translation to global improvement of the human condition.”

Pending the approval of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees and the State University of New York Board of Trustees, Staiano-Coico will start on July 1. She will replace five-year fixture Patsy Brannon, who will take a one-year sabbatical before returning to the University’s nutritional sciences department.

Although the other two candidates were strong, Martin said that Staiano-Coico’s work in TIRP, understanding of the college’s mission and ability in facilitating collaboration were the main factors in her selection.

“I have worked with Lisa Staiano-Coico in her capacity as executive director of the Tri-Institutional Research Program,” Lehman said in the release. “I have witnessed her intelligence, energy and commitment, and I know that she will be an exceptional leader for the College of Human Ecology.”

Among the challenges which Staiano-Coico will face include issues concerning the state budget and more specifically, funding for the statutory college. Currently, the University is waiting for Albany’s decision concerning a request for increased funding concerning the replacement of North Martha Van Rensselaer Hall — a project which many officials cite as vital for the programs and instruction within the college.

Martin said Staiano-Coico will also need time to become familiar with the college and its individuals — something she has already started in the past couple of weeks. In addition, she also will work on developing cross-departmental and cross-college initiatives, fundraising and the articulation of academic priorities.

Already, Staiano-Coico has expressed her vision in “expand[ing] the understanding of human development and disease within the context of social communities and the environment,” in hopes that the research garnered will benefit New York and other places around the world.

Staiano-Coico earned her bachelor degree at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. After receiving her Ph.D. in microbiology from Cornell, she joined the medical faculty in 1983. Co-authoring almost 100 scholarly publications, Staiano-Coico, who’s research focuses on epithelial cell biology, also serves as the Weill Medical College’s vice provost for external affairs.

“Lisa has an impressive talent for inspiring and encouraging collaboration among her colleagues,” Martin said in the release.

“Her dedication and leadership in the Tri-Institutional Research Program have been invaluable and I know that same spirit and drive will make her a superb dean.”

Staiano-Coico’s appointment has completed a plethora of administrative changes over the past year. New deans for the College of Arts and Sciences, Law School and the College of Architecture, Art and Planning have been selected and two new vice presidents in the University relations department have also been assigned. A new dean search for the School of Hotel Administration was also launched last Friday.

Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Senior Editor