March 27, 2013
President David Skorton offers students advice about choosing the college that’s best for them in a CNN blog. Among his tips:
“First, the faculty …” he writes. “Check out the proportion of faculty who have a Ph.D. or the highest professional degree in their field. Faculty experience in a non-academic setting can be a plus, especially in professional fields like engineering, business, law and architecture, and in the visual, performing and creative arts.”
How may faculty have full-time appointments? What is the student-faculty ratio? “Large courses don’t necessarily lead to disappointing experiences – one of the most popular courses at Cornell, an introductory psychology course, had an enrollment of more than 1,200 year after year, but it also employed a small army of effective teaching assistants,” Skorton writes.
Look at the quality and diversity of the student body, acceptance rate and student demographics: “You’ll learn more if your peer group is as bright – or brighter – than you. You’ll also learn more by living and learning with people from a variety of geographic, ethnic, racial, political, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.”
“Finally, given the time and money likely to be invested in higher education, consider how the experience will enhance your prospects for employment. It is worth looking into the career services available at the institution, the number and kinds of recruiters who come to campus each year, the availability of co-op and internship programs and the willingness of alumni to take part in mentoring and job-shadowing programs,” Skorton writes.
March 25, 2013
Universities like Cornell that help inmates get degrees are saving society a bundle. So say President David Skorton and Professor Glenn Altschuler in their Forbes blog today, citing the success of The Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP).
CPEP brings volunteer Cornell faculty and graduate students to teach a college-level liberal arts curriculum, in subjects ranging from genetics to poetry, to 100 men per year at Auburn Correctional Facility and Cayuga Correctional Facility. CPEP had its first graduation last June.
“In New York State, 40 percent of all inmates who are released will wind up back in prison within three years,” Skorton and Altschuler write. “An inmate’s ability to make it on the outside depends on whether he is returning to a stable family, whether he has mental health or substance abuse issues and on his education and employment-related skills.”
Nationwide, they write, “more than 650,000 people were released from state prisons in 2010. By cutting the reincarceration rate in half, $2.7 billion per year could be saved. Former inmates with jobs also have less need for public assistance and contribute to society, in the form of taxes and purchasing power.”
March 25, 2013
Starting today, you can vote for the image you think best represents Cornell. Go to the College of Arts and Sciences’ Facebook page, Instagram, Tumblr or Twitter to participate in “battles” as photos move through brackets in four categories: events, buildings, icons and nature.
February 26, 2013
Early this semester, Cornell launched the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education (SHARE) website. It’s an information resource for all members of the Cornell community about issues related to sexual violence and other sexual misconduct. The SHARE site was developed to provide a one-stop access to services that offer support for victims and survivors, facilitate reporting, increase awareness, promote safety, and highlight prevention, compliance and advocacy initiatives. A collaboration between the divisions of Human Resources and Safety Services, Student and Academic Services and University Communications, the site reflects input from individuals and organizations who stepped forward to address issues raised by campus events during 2012.
February 26, 2013
In a Huffington Post blog post, President David Skorton writers about a way to alleviate the United States’ physician shortage:
“The U.S. already employs a substantial proportion of physicians (about a quarter) and other health workers (about a fifth) who were educated or trained overseas, and we could easily employ more of them without taking jobs away from Americans. In fact, as the nation ages and more previously uninsured individuals seek treatment under the Affordable Care Act, the health of millions of Americans may depend on the availability of more physicians and other health workers from abroad.”
How to achieve this?
Skorton writes: “Granting more H-1B visas to international medical graduates who have already completed U.S. residencies in high-demand specialties, including primary care, and who agree to practice for a prescribed length of time in underserved areas, would meet a pressing national need while ensuring that these physicians augment their prior medical training with additional training and practice in the U.S. This experience would serve them well, whether they ultimately obtain a green card and stay here or decide to return home after their service in the U.S. is complete.”
February 26, 2013
The Daily Beast, in its listing of 25 schools and programs “that offer unique benefits that can be overlooked when the numbers are crunched,” cites Cornell for emotional health:
“Mental health has become an increasingly important issue on college campuses, especially as high-profile suicides have attracted national attention. Cornell is no stranger to the unfortunate attention; for years it has been dubbed the ‘suicide school’ thanks to very public incidences involving the campuses’ gorges. But for more than a decade the school has been working toward creating and implementing a model for student mental-health care. Dubbed Cornell Minds Matter, the program aims to destigmatize mental-health issues, raise awareness and educate students through weekly events and presentations.
“‘One of the major results is that students are much more sensitive to other students’ needs,’” says Casey Carr, assistant dean of students. Carr says the university’s faculty and staff handbook for dealing with students in distress has served as a framework for other universities. Cornell also refined its approach to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act to allow administrators and campus officials to warn parents of mental-health problems in some instances without student consent.”
February 21, 2013
In their latest Forbes blog post, President David Skorton and American studies professor Glenn Altschuler look at guns on campus:
“Given a sense of urgency by the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the gun control debate rages on across the nation. Less well known is that this year many state legislatures will consider whether to require public colleges and universities to allow guns on campus. We oppose legislation that will prevent colleges from setting their own gun policies — and will make students, staff and faculty less safe.
After reviewing various state laws and politics issues surrounding the issue, they conclude:
“By all means, let’s get on with the national and state-level debate about how best to balance second-amendment rights with public safety. We applaud President Obama’s directive to scale up federally funded research on gun violence — research that for decades has been squelched by the political muscle of gun rights advocates. More research means better-informed choices.
“But meanwhile, let our colleges and universities set their own policies. We believe that the great majority will continue to prohibit guns, and our campus communities will be all the safer.”
January 28, 2013
In their newest Forbes blog post, Cornell President David Skorton and American studies professor Glenn Altschuler look at MOOCs: massive open online course.
Most MOOCs, including those offered by the best universities, don’t offer credit. But they can expose a school’s star faculty to potentially enormous audiences. They write:
“Cornell University, which expects to join a MOOC consortium soon, has already dipped an institutional toe in the water by offering a ‘mini-MOOC’ on feeding infants and young children … The results were instructive. Organizers expected to enroll about 200 people. They registered 3,800 students from 150 countries, most of them employees at universities and nongovernmental organizations in the developing world. More than 900 people from 104 countries, or 24 percent of registrants, successfully completed the course …”
MOOCS require study and evaluation, Skorton and Altschuler write.
“We strongly believe, however, that MOOCs should not replace a residential undergraduate experience for young men and women able to afford it or who qualify for financial aid. The intellectual and developmental impact on students who live and learn together cannot be replicated by online classes, even if they solve the problems of scale. Susan Holmes, a professor of statistics at Stanford, puts it well. ‘I don’t think you can get a Stanford education online,’ she said recently, ‘just as I don’t think that Facebook gives you a social life.’”
“We wonder as well, with our tongues halfway in our cheeks, whether seventeen-year-olds will want to spend four years, or three, or even two living with mom and dad and staring at a computer screen.”
December 17, 2012
In their newest Forbes blog post, Cornell President David Skorton and American studies professor Glenn Altschuler look at binge drinking on campus. ”… about 25 percent of college students report negative academic consequences of their drinking, including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers and receiving lower grades overall. The long-term effects include a higher risk of lifelong alcohol dependency than more temperate peers,” they write.
At Cornell, they write, “Knowing that students tend to overestimate their classmates’ alcohol intake, thus inflating the amount of alcohol they perceive as normal, we spread the word that the majority of Cornell students drink moderately or not at all. We restrict the availability of alcohol on university property. … We emphasize safety in messages that include explicit warnings against ‘chugging’ shots of hard liquor and advice on how to pace alcohol consumption during a social event. And we encourage students to seek help immediately when faced with an alcohol-related medical emergency.”
Cornell is participating in the National College Health Improvement Project’s Learning Collaborative on High Risk Drinking, which will gather data to develop tools to reduce high-risk drinking.
‘We ask that you consider a conversation with your son or daughter during the inter-session break. You might begin by sharing this blog. Or by asking open-ended questions. “What is there to do on campus at night?” “What do your friends do for fun?” The conversation might lead to some eye-opening revelations,” write Skorton and Altschuler.
November 26, 2012
In their newest Forbes blog post, Cornell President David Skorton and American studies professor Glenn Altschuler write an open letter to President Obama as he begins his second term. They offer six ideas to invest in higher education, urge Obama to push for passage of the DREAM Act and double the research budgets of government agencies.