Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program

Laurie Miller

"My students and I want our work to have a positive impact and to be responsive to real needs posed by our community partners."

A 2016-17 Engaged Faculty Fellow, Laurie Miller is associate director of CIPA Public Engagement and a capstone instructor in the College of Human Ecology.

About the Project

Miller is developing opportunities for CIPA students to partner in engaged learning projects with students from other programs to conduct research in collaboration with community partners. This learning can then be shared with decision makers developing policies and practical solutions to the world’s pressing problems. For example, CIPA students and students studying in other disciplines, such as medicine and human rights, could work together with community partners to conduct research on health care equity; CIPA students and students studying environmental science could work together with community partners to develop options for addressing problems related to drought, water quality or climate change.

Miller hopes to develop a project with Inter-American Development Bank’s (IADB) SMI initiative, a public/private partnership to reduce health equity gaps in Central America, with whom capstone students have worked for several years, and other partners working to improve health care. CIPA students as well as students from other departments at Cornell (and perhaps from other universities) would conduct research in collaboration with community partners.

This would facilitate students’ abilities to identify, gather and integrate information from a variety of fields in ways that encourage the creation of new knowledge with community partners, and to identify options that policy makers could choose from to address public problems in ways that are innovative, relevant, realistic and culturally appropriate. Participation in the Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program will allow Miller to explore approaches, and develop new partners, for working with students to meet these objectives.

In Her Own Words

“I want to create a rich, interdisciplinary engaged-learning field experience for professional level students. My students and I want our work to have a positive impact and to be responsive to real needs posed by our community partners. I hope that this project will have short- and long-term impact. In the near-term, students in the course will continue to work with a diverse set of community partners to research and develop effective and relevant programs and strategies to better address problems and opportunities within those communities.

“For example, in our work with IADB’s SMI, my students identify, analyze and develop opportunities to reduce equity gaps in health care. They gather and consider the perspectives of multiple stakeholders: for example, different kinds of health care practitioners such as midwives, doctors or technicians; patients and community members; and policy makers, funders and organizations. They take into account markets, policies, regulations and other forces driving the development of new programs or solutions. In the long-term, I hope that through this experience, my professional students carry into their careers a capacity to navigate varied institutions, organizations and cultures, and engage and work with diverse stakeholders to address wicked problems.”

Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program

A yearlong cohort program in which faculty dive deep into the theory and practice of engaged learning; meet monthly to discuss readings, share projects and workshop challenges; and help transform what it means to teach at Cornell

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