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  Cornell University

2015 Recipients

The inaugural Engaged Curriculum Grants bring a new wave of community-engaged learning and discovery to Cornell. The eighteen funded projects involve ninety-nine faculty and staff team members, thirty-two academic departments, and more than forty community partners. The thirty-seven planned and active courses will engage more than 1,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students once all curricula are implemented.


Planning Grants

Development Grants

Advancement Grants

 

Planning Grants

Africana

Knowing that it takes time and effort to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with community organizations, faculty from the Africana Studies and Research Center are building relationships with social justice/cultural organizations in Ithaca and New York City, which will be central to two Africana courses that will be tested as capstone experiences for Africana majors. Both courses will include living case study scenarios that involve students, faculty, and community organizations as conscious partners working toward solutions in food, social, racial, and economic justice. Throughout the courses, students will become familiar with community leadership skills, ethics, and strategies in these fields.

Keywords: race, ethnography, poverty, food justice, oral history, grassroots organization, socioeconomic justice, New York City, Tompkins County

Major, minor, and/or courses: Proposed capstone courses for undergraduate Africana studies majors

Team members:

  • Gerard Aching, Africana Studies and Research Center, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Oneka LaBennett, Africana Studies and Research Center, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Noliwe Rooks, Africana Studies and Research Center, College of Arts and Sciences

Community Partners: Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming; CaribBEING

 

Fostering Engaged Learning, Research, and Experience in Rural Ecuador

A proposed open-pit copper mine has threatened biodiversity and rural lifestyle in the Intag region of Ecuador since the 1990s — leading to conflicts, environmental advocacy, and community organizing to design sustainable economic alternatives to mining. Through research projects and internships with new and existing community partners in the region — as well as engagement projects not requiring travel to Ecuador — students learn to apply academic knowledge to complex place-based problems, better preparing them for careers in agriculture, conservation, and rural development. At the same time, community partners benefit from iterative multi-year projects that further their capacity for sustainable development and self-determination.

Keywords: agriculture, conservation, rural development, grassroots organization, economic development, Ecuador

Major, minor, and/or courses: International agriculture and rural development major; environmental and sustainability sciences major

Team members:

  • James Lassoie, Natural Resources, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Angela Fuller, Natural Resources, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Carla Gomes, Computer Science, Information Science, and Dyson School, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Stephen Morreale, Natural Resources, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Amanda Rodewald, Natural Resources, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Lab of Ornithology
  • Terry Tucker, Horticulture, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Community Partners: Asociación Agroartesanal de Caficultores Río (AACRI); Defensa y Conservacion Ecologica de Intag (DECOIN); Mujer y Medio Ambiente (MyMA); Red Ecoturistica de Intag (REI); with more partnerships being established

 

Leadership Development Curriculum

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) offers a rich history of college-wide collaboration and community partnerships. Now the college is laying the groundwork for linking community engagement to a leadership development curriculum, across all CALS majors. Through this planning process, faculty, staff, and students are exploring best practices and creating more intentional opportunities for students to build the skills necessary to practice engagement and leadership competencies. The ultimate goal is to foster actively engaged, reflective, and compassionate students who understand the nature of reciprocity in community-based endeavors.

Keywords: curriculum, leadership development

Major, minor, and/or courses: All majors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; possible leadership minor and/or “with distinction” credential

Team members:

  • Clint Sidle, Park Leadership Fellows Program, Johnson Graduate School for Management
  • Don Viands, Academic Programs, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Michael Hoffman, Agricultural Experiment Station, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Brian Chabot, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Antonio DiTommaso, Soil and Crop Sciences, School of Integrative Plant Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Marcia Eames-Sheavly, Horticulture, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Robert Gravani, Food Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Kevin Kniffin, Applied Economics and Management, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Amy Kohut, Physical Education Administration/Cornell Team and Leadership Center
  • Poppy McLeod, Communication, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Marvin Pritts, Horticulture, School of Integrative Plant Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Kari Sue Richards, Soil and Crop Sciences, School of Integrative Plant Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Annie Socci, Physical Education Administration/Cornell Team and Leadership Center
  • Amy Somchanhmavong, Public Service Center
  • Julie Wushensky, student, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Priscilla Cancar, student, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Jason Gregory, student, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Community Partners: To be developed

 

Supporting the Resurgence of Haudenosaunee Languages

After thirty years of Indigenous language revitalization efforts — including everything from immersion to training ceremonial speakers — a critical juncture has been reached in fluency. Faculty in the American Indian Program are collaborating with community partners to develop a linguistic learning tool that will aid in the resurgence of Haudenosaunee languages. Through concept-based instruction focused on meaning and philosophy, this collaboration seeks to restore social exchange using Haudenosaunee languages. During on-site consultations with language learners in Haudenosaunee communities, project leaders recognize previous and current strategies and introduce a new tool for language acquisition for adult learners. They then employ their research to develop techniques to be used by American Indian Studies graduate students and to support the use of language in Haudenosaunee communities.

Keywords: Indigenous languages; concept-based instruction; adult learners; endangered languages; Tuscarora Nation community of New York

Major, minor, and/or courses: Minor in American Indian Studies, with cross-disciplinary application in linguistics, history of art, education, and the graduate field of American Indian Studies

Team members:

  • Jolene Rickard, American Indian Program, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; History of Art, College of Arts and Sciences; Art, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
  • Troy Richardson, American Indian Program, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Sarah Murray, American Indian Program, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Linguistics, College of Arts and Sciences

Community Partners: Dr. Kevin Connelly, Onondaga linguist; Ruchatneet Printup, liaison to the Tuscarora Language Committee

 

Teaching Global Engagement

The current undergraduate anthropology curriculum trains students in the key concepts and subfields of the discipline. However, the central tenet of anthropology — that understanding is gained through sustained encounters in field sites that bring scholars in close contact with local communities — is not systematically integrated into the curriculum. Department faculty members are resolving this by developing “field encounter” courses that provide students with opportunities to do anthropology, while also learning to think anthropologically. Field encounter courses enhance student fluency in working across lines of cultural difference, providing the conceptual and practical tools they need to thrive as global citizens. By teaching engagement through anthropological practice, the Department of Anthropology has emerged as a national leader in developing curricula that prepare students to be lifelong global actors.

Keywords: education, critical reflection, inter-cultural

Major, minor, and/or courses: Anthropology major and minor

Team members:

Community Partners: Field encounter courses are currently in development in collaboration with partners at field sites in Ithaca and across the globe on topics ranging from slavery to prisons to drugs and rehabilitation

 

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Development Grants

Biomedical Engineering Engaged Learning Experience

Engineers are problem solvers — creative thinkers poised to help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. And today’s world requires engineers who are thoughtful about societal and community impact. To this end, faculty are developing a structure to make community-engaged learning experiences a required and integrated part of the biomedical engineering curriculum — giving students hands-on experiences that bolster both their understanding of engineering concepts and the soft skills critical for real-world engineering. Students can choose to work with the community partner most aligned with their interests; the list of partners is currently focused on educating the public and younger students about STEM fields.

Keywords: STEM, K-12, curriculum, Broome County, Tompkins County

Major, minor, and/or courses: Undergraduate biomedical engineering major

Team members:

Community Partners: Lora Hine, Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-Based Science and Education (CLASSE); Andy Turner, 4-H; Jennifer Rudolph, Upward Bound; Nev Singhota, Cornell Center for Materials Research; Sarah Dimiduk, UHS Wilson Hospital, Binghamton; Jana Leyden, Science & Technology Entry Program (STEP)

 

Black Oak Wind Farm Community Research Program

New York state’s first community-owned wind farm is being built fewer than 15 miles from the Cornell campus in Ithaca, giving faculty and students the unique opportunity to design and conduct a range of research projects in this emerging industry. In a new course, students work on pre-construction planning, construction, and post-construction operation of the wind farm. They also participate in a process of iterative engagement with Black Oak Wind Farm, local residents, and school students to disseminate project results and gauge the needs of those stakeholders to inform future course activities. This course could serve as a model for other communities, universities, and wind farm developers, working together to build sustainable models for alternative energy.

Keywords: K-12, wind energy, Tompkins County

Major, minor, and/or courses: Elective or required senior design project course for undergraduate major in mechanical engineering

Team members:

  • Rebecca J. Barthelmie, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Sara C. Pryor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Holger Klinck, Bioacoustics Research Program, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Community Partners: Black Oak Wind Farm, Enfield Elementary School, General Electric

 

Building the Foundations for a New Undergraduate Concentration in the Social Sector

Many emerging leaders are drawn to the fast-growing non-profit social sector through their desire to address critical issues — from the environment, to arts and culture, to education, to social justice — and advance meaningful change in the world. This is why the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) is increasing students’ educational and career opportunities in this field, opening up alternatives to the corporate and government sectors. A new multidisciplinary concentration builds on the ILR required curriculum and includes a foundational course, new elective courses on special topics, a student affinity group, and career support services. Community engagement is a critical, required element of the concentration, and ILR faculty are enhancing the curriculum components of the well-established High Road Fellowship before building similar infrastructures around other engaged learning experiences at ILR.

Keywords: social economy, social sector, Erie County

Major, minor, and/or courses: Industrial and labor relations major; new concentration/minor in social sector studies

Team members:

  • Ron Applegate, Labor Relations, Law, and History, School of Industrial and Labor Relations
  • Marya Besharov, Organizational Behavior, School of Industrial and Labor Relations
  • M. Diane Burton, Human Resource Studies, School of Industrial and Labor Relations
  • Lou Jean Fleron, Cornell in Buffalo, School of Industrial and Labor Relations
  • Shannon Gleeson, Labor Relations, Law, and History, School of Industrial and Labor Relations

Community Partner: Partnership for the Public Good, Buffalo, NY

 

Capstone Course in Food Science

Having a successful career in food science means being able to apply classroom learning to the real world. In a new capstone course for food science majors, students do just that — develop realistic, implementable solutions for local small-scale food companies and food entrepreneurs. With the help of a faculty mentor, teams of students act as consultants and research, develop, and present proposed solutions to problems faced by companies working with the New York State Food Venture Center. The teams then present their results to industry partners and the larger Cornell food science community.

Keywords: local foods, entrepreneurship, food safety, food science

Major, minor, and/or courses: Capstone course for food science majors

Team members:

  • Olga Padilla-Zakour, Food Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Alicia Orta-Ramirez, Food Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • John Brady, Food Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Carmen Moraru, Food Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Gavin Sacks, Food Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Randy Worobo, Food Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Martin Wiedmann, Food Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Chang (Cy) Lee, Food Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Community Partners: Local industry members through the New York State Food Venture Center

 

Communicating Science Clearly

Effective communication skills are a vital, but often overlooked, component of a successful career in science or engineering. In a new course in the College of Arts and Sciences, students learn to communicate technical ideas to diverse audiences at all levels, as they develop hands-on educational activities for K-12 science classes. Students then field test the modules in partnership with K-12 teachers across the country, giving them the curricular materials needed to implement the Next Generation Science Standards. Students in the bootcamp course think about critical issues affecting their fields, including the role and visibility of science and scientists in the public arena, the importance of education in shaping culture and society, and the varying perception of scientific research across diverse populations.

Keywords: communication, education, K-12, curriculum, STEM, New York City, Washington DC, Onondaga County, Tompkins County, Puerto Rico

Major, minor, and/or courses: All graduate fields in the physical sciences and engineering, particularly those well aligned with the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR)

Team members:

  • Melissa A. Hines, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Itai Cohen, Physics, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Kyle M. Shen, Physics, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Nevjinder Singhota, Cornell Center for Materials Research, Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Community Partners: Syracuse City School District; Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy I and II; Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science; Ithaca City School District; University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras; among others

 

Community Engagement by Cancer Scientists

Cancer research is often conducted in a lab, far away from patients and families affected by the disease. But these patients face myriad challenges including physical, emotional, financial, and legal issues that can’t be understood by looking through a microscope. A new graduate certificate in public communication — comprised of three workshops and a seminar series — promotes interaction between students and local cancer patients, teaching trainees skills in science communication and exposing them to patients’ perspectives on issues in cancer biology. At the same time, community members learn how to partner with academic scientists, learn about the basic science of cancer and its treatment, and become better advocates for themselves and cancer research.

Keywords: cancer research, biology, communication, scientific writing, STEM, Tompkins County

Major, minor, and/or courses: Graduate certificate of engagement in public communication of science and technology, intended for life sciences Ph.D. students conducting cancer research

Team members:

  • Lauren Chambliss, Communication, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Bruce Lewenstein, Communication, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Kristy Richards, Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Bob Riter, Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes
  • Bob Weiss, Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine

Community Partner: Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes

 

Community Food Systems Minor

Food systems are dynamic, behavioral systems that encompass the production, distribution, and consumption of food. They include social, ecological, political, and health dimensions with an impact on sustainability and social justice. In the new university-wide undergraduate minor in community food systems, students and community partners work together on issues and questions related to food security, food sovereignty, and food justice that arise when designing and organizing sustainable community food systems. The minor — comprised of classroom and experiential learning opportunities — also supports an advisory committee made up of faculty, students, and community partners that plays an active role in developing and assessing students’ community-engaged learning experiences.

Keywords: food justice, food safety, food security, good agricultural practice (GAP), nutrition, local foods, agriculture, agroecological methods, farmworkers, food systems, New York City, Tompkins County, Malawi

Major, minor, and/or courses: New university-wide undergraduate minor in community food systems

Team members:

Community Partners: Cornell Cooperative Extension-Tompkins County; Cornell Farmworkers Program; East New York Farms; Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming; Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities (Malawi)

 

Conservation Medicine

The preservation of endangered species is widely recognized as an urgent global issue, but — because of the complexity of ecological relationships — the solutions aren’t simple. This project links classroom learning and activities of doctor of veterinary medicine and undergraduate students with unique field experiences in conservation medicine, focusing on the endangered Indonesian Rhinoceroses and the African Great Apes. Students learn about the cultural and economic pressures that contribute to species risk and engage in science-based mitigation strategies, while employing the concept of One Health, a holistic approach to medicine that considers animal, environmental, and human health and sustainability. Students then share their new knowledge with local communities — creating lasting partnerships, building local capacity for conservation, and reaching beneficial solutions for humans and animals.

Keywords: One Health, conservation, endangered species, health, youth, sociology, communication, history, ethnography, Indonesia, Republic of Congo, Uganda

Major, minor, and/or courses: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; undergraduate majors in animal science, biology, and natural resources

Team members:

  • Robin Radcliffe, Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Jane Goodall, Jane Goodall Institute
  • Thamora Fishel, Southeast Asia Program at Cornell
  • Kaja McGowan, History of Art and Visual Studies, College of Arts and Sciences; Southeast Asia Program at Cornell
  • Amanda Rodewald, Natural Resources, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Conservation Science, Lab of Ornithology
  • Tammy Palmer, Jane Goodall Institute
  • Kurnia Khairani, Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • M. Julia Felippe, Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Laura Harrington, Entomology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Dwight Bowman, Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine

Community Partners: Jane Goodall Institute; Ujung Kulon National Park (UKNP) with World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia (WWF)

 

Crime, Prisons, Education, and Justice Minor

Myths and misconceptions about crime, prisons, and justice abound in the United States. In this interdisciplinary minor students face their preconceived notions head-on, serving as teaching assistants at the Auburn, Cayuga, and Five Points Correctional Facilities and taking five courses that help give context to their engagement experience. At a time when much of the country is turning its attention to criminal justice reform, the minor equips students to understand and assess competing claims about the criminal justice system; to bridge the chasms created by disparities in wealth, income, education, and opportunity in contemporary society; and to be informed leaders in ongoing debates about mass incarceration and the carceral state.

Keywords: education, public policy/administration, race, government, criminal justice system, prisons, crime and punishment, Cayuga County, Seneca County

Major, minor, and/or courses: New university-wide minor in crime, prisons, education, and justice

Team members:

Community Partner: Cornell Prison Education Program

 

Farmworker Legal Assistance Clinic

Employment on a farm is one of the world’s most difficult and dangerous occupations. Farmworkers experience geographic, linguistic, and cultural isolation; immigration insecurity; and exclusion from protective employment laws. Through the Farmworker Legal Assistance Clinic, Cornell law students handle immigration and employment matters on behalf of area farmworkers — representing individual clients, offering brief advice and referral services, and providing research support for farmworker rights organizations. Students work with clients on a myriad of issues, from securing permanent residence and deportation relief for teens to conducting brief advice and referral outreach trips to addressing worker-protection violations.

Keywords: farmworkers, immigration, worker rights, legal services, Cayuga County, Erie County, Lewis County, Onondaga County, Tompkins County, Wayne County

Major, minor, and/or courses: Juris Doctorate (Law)

Team members:

Community Partners: Cornell Farmworker Program, Legal Aid Society of Rochester Immigration Program, Worker Justice Law Center of New York

 

Global and Public Health Sciences Major

Addressing public health problems requires a multidisciplinary and pragmatic approach with cultural and ethical sensitivity. This is why Cornell’s new major in global and public health sciences requires students to connect theory and practice through community-engaged learning experiences. In the major, three to ten credit hours of supervised fieldwork is complemented by a preparatory seminar and a capstone course that challenges students to draw on both their classroom and experiential learning. Faculty in the program are developing a diverse portfolio of sustainable, mutually beneficial community partnerships that will be accessible to all students in the major.

Keywords: public health, public policy/administration, New York City, Washington DC, Tompkins County

Major, minor, and/or courses: Undergraduate global and public health sciences major

Team members:

Community Partners: Urban Semester Program; Cornell in Washington; Cornell Cooperation Extension of Tompkins County; Skorton Center for Health Initiatives; in addition to pre-existing partners in Dominican Republic, India, Tanzania and Zambia

 

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Advancement Grants

Advancing Planning Workshops: Sharing Existing Practices, Improving Educational Outcomes and Assessment, Publishing Results

City and regional planning has a profound impact on the world’s citizens as it helps create a more just, efficient, sustainable, and beautiful world. Planning is done for communities, and community engagement is an integral part of Cornell’s planning curriculum. Yet, department faculty do not often have the opportunity to work together to improve their collective community-engaged teaching, research, and writing. With the goal of refining and strengthening five existing workshop courses, core faculty members are creating opportunities to discuss their engaged teaching experiences, update the department’s rubric for workshop assessment, and develop the skills they need to publish based on their engaged research. They are also tackling issues related to the long-term sustainability of these efforts at the department level and beyond.

Keywords: faculty development, Hudson River,  Tompkins County, India, Indonesia, Tanzania

Major, minor, and/or courses: Master of Regional Planning; Master of Arts in Historic Preservation Planning; undergraduate major in urban and regional studies

Team members:

  • Victoria Beard, City and Regional Planning, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
  • Jeffrey Chusid, City and Regional Planning, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
  • George Frantz, City and Regional Planning, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
  • John Forester, City and Regional Planning, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
  • Neema Kudva, City and Regional Planning, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
  • Jennifer Minner, City and Regional Planning, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
  • Stephan Schmidt, City and Regional Planning, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning

Community Partners: Yayasan Kota Kita in Indonesia; City of Ithaca Planning Department and Comprehensive Plan Committee; Nilgiris Field Learning Center in India; Historic Ithaca, Inc.; City of Ithaca Historic Preservation Office; Honeyguide Foundation in Tanzania; Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College in Tanzania; Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science & Technology in Tanzania; Hudson River Valley Greenway; Hudson River Estuary Program

 

Latina/o Studies Program

With their rich histories and contemporary cultures, Latina/o communities are a vibrant, diverse, and integral part of U.S. society. Latina/o studies encompasses political and labor participation, art, literature, music and performance, and issues of immigration, education, language, and health. The development of the knowledge, skills, and disposition for critical self-reflection, social praxis, and democratic participation is at the very heart of Cornell’s interdisciplinary Latina/o Studies Program (LSP). Through collaborations with multiple community partners, the LSP has developed deep ties locally, regionally, nationally, and even internationally with the goal of fostering engagement with U.S. Latina/o communities and issues through educational and artistic activities. The LSP is now consolidating its curriculum with explicit pathways to engaged learning and research, and enhancing and creating new partnerships that benefit students, community partners, and communities far and wide.

Keywords: Latina/o culture; Tompkins County

Major, minor, and/or courses: Undergraduate minor in Latina/o studies

Team members:

Community Partners: Latina/o Civic Association of Tompkins County; Cultura Ithaca; No más lágrimas; Bici-cocina

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