October 1, 2004

New Hum. Ec. Dean Settles In

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This year, Lisa Staiano-Coico Ph.D. ’81 began her tenure as the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecology.

Staiano-Coico is not a newcomer to the Cornell community. She has been a faculty member at Weill Cornell Medical College since 1983, and has served as Cornell’s vice provost for medical affairs. Most recently, Staiano-Coico has also acted as executive director of the Tri-Institutional Research Program, a collaboration between Cornell University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Rockefeller University that focuses on the fields of chemical biology, computational biology and developmental biology.

With a B.S. from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Weill, Staiano-Coico’s 21 years on the medical school’s faculty have honed her expertise in both basic and applied research in the area of skin biology.

Dean Staiano-Coico has also served as chair of the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences special emphasis panels concerning trauma training, the task force on research institutes and centers of the Association of American Medical Colleges and served as president of the International Society for Analytical Cytology. Her credentials were an important factor in the dean selection process.

“She turned out to be a perfect fit,” said Provost Biddy Martin, who was the chair of the Human Ecology dean search.

Michael Matier, Cornell’s director of institutional research and planning and manager of the dean search, concurred.

“Lisa [Staiano-Coico] is someone who had a considerable amount of experience as an administrator, very strong academic credentials and the added benefit of being somebody that already had a strong relationship with Cornell being at the med school,” he said.

Staiano-Coico recalls that she was very enthusiastic when the University offered her the position, and lauded the mission of the College of Human Ecology.

“I loved the unique focus of Human Ecology on all aspects of the human experience,” she said. “The students are wonderful and innovative and the college focuses on applying knowledge to the solution of problems that impact people’s lives.”

Matier explained some of Staiano-Coico’s qualities that helped her stand out in the dean selection process.

“She had demonstrated an ability to build bridges,” he said, citing her previous frequent collaborative efforts between Weill and Cornell’s Ithaca campus. “She rose to the top of the list as having very strong individual credentials and a commanding personality.”

Now that Staiano-Coico has been appointed Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecology, she is getting accustomed to life in Ithaca.

“I’m truly enjoying my transition,” she said. “The faculty, students and staff have been extremely welcoming. We have an extremely strong college and I’m learning something new every day.”

Martin said that she has already heard positive feedback from faculty at the College of Human Ecology.

“People are very optimistic about the direction the college is headed in under [Dean Staiano-Coico’s] leadership,” she said.

Archived article by Andrew Beckwith
Sun Staff Writer