Our Vision

Now, more than at any time in recent history, Cornell is in an exceptional position to renew and expand its public engagement mission, making engagement and community-based learning a core academic goal. Excellence in public engagement is one of our five major strategic planning goals, and the university has embraced a new goal of integrating service-learning into the institution’s academic mission. We believe that learning linked to the experiences of service and stewardship, and knowledge grounded in the connections between the exercises of intellect and the practical solutions to social problems, can be the hallmark of the Cornell graduate.


Our Strengths

  • Cornell’s faculty and students view the world’s major issues as their own challenges. They make a direct impact on individuals and communities, both locally and globally. With extension education roots, this ethic spans efforts that range from: mobility and dietary needs of the elderly, service-learning engagement by Cornell students, work with labor organizations to understand their industries, efforts to reduce the use of pesticides, work to develop sustainable energy strategies, collaborative efforts with communities to revitalize “main streets,” and international programs that integrate local farming methods with strategies to increase crop yields.
  • Cornell’s deep-rooted commitment to public engagement stems from its land-grant mission. It is strengthened by the university’s unmatched breadth and depth within its 14 colleges and schools in Ithaca, two in New York City, and one in Doha.
  • The new Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research, funded in partnership with the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust and the Office of the Provost, will improve academic engagement experiences and opportunities for students and faculty. Through this center and its partners, Cornell has gained infrastructure to support our strategic goal of making public engagement a distinctive feature of undergraduate education.
  • The Public Service Center, a 20-year-old organization focused on building an ethic of service and community engagement among undergraduates and faculty, works with more than half of all undergraduates during their time at Cornell. Annually, approximately 8,000 Cornell students and 1,200 Cornell alumni engage in service-learning courses and volunteer community service activities totaling well over 350,000 hours of work each year.

Our Priority Areas

Cornell seeks to raise $20 million in private support for service-learning and public engagement for efforts initiated by the Office of Provost, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the School of Hotel Administration, the College of Human Ecology, the ILR School, the Johnson Art Museum, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Law School, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Student and Academic Services. Our priority areas are:

Community engaged learning and research: Cornell students, faculty, and staff unite academic pursuits, civic commitment, and community needs in projects with partners locally and around the world.

Public engagement programs: Growing out of our land grant mission and with strong roots in our statewide Cornell Cooperative Extension System and our ILR Extension System, Cornell public engagement programs also include service and engagement work done by undergraduate students. Cornell’s public engagement programs serve the public through outreach delivered locally, regionally, and across the globe.

Translational research: Cornell develops knowledge serving New York state and the world.  Cornell’s seamless continuum – from theoretical to applied research – together with its unmatched breadth and depth of expertise relies on contributions from community partners and stakeholders.




Jon Denison
Associate Vice President for Colleges & Units