Envisioning the future of our college - Message from the Dean

November 12, 2020

Dear College of Human Ecology community: 

The challenges we have faced and overcome this year are a true testament to the strength of the College and a collective commitment to our mission. Despite many distractions, we have stayed the course and each day continue to demonstrate the importance and impact of our work. 

In the spirit of that continuity, I am excited to announce that we are ready to launch one of the priorities I articulated earlier this year: a participatory, strategic visioning process for the College of Human Ecology. This activity will bring our community together to: 

  • Build upon the unique strengths and proud history of our college; 
  • Articulate a compelling, strategically sound vision for our future; and 
  • Identify the key priorities that will guide our work in strengthening the College’s scholarship, culture and impact.

Your input is essential to this process. Over the course of this academic year, with support from Anica Madeo and Kerry Sheldon of Bridgeport Consulting, we plan to offer ample opportunities for Human Ecology students, staff, faculty, and alumni to shape the future of our college. We know that many in our community face particularly significant demands on our time and energy right now. As such, we will offer several ways to engage in this process and promise to be thoughtful about any requests for your valuable time. 

Please watch for invitations to participate and updates about the process, which will also be published on this specialized webpage.

Looking forward to the conversation,

Rachel Dunifon's signature

Rachel Dunifon
The Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean


Process and Timeline

Phase I. Scoping, Design and Early Insights
October – November 2020

  1. Early insights; “key informant” interviews
    • Perspectives on CHE’s core identity, differentiating contributions
    • Contours of current landscape
    • Suggested critical readings and other resources
    • Insights to inform broader stakeholder engagement effort
  2. Begin scheduling interviews
  3. Begin benchmarking research, if indicated
  4. Begin meeting with Core Team (Dean, Assistant & Associate Deans, Bridgeport Consulting)
  5. Steering Committee launch

Phase II. Discovery, Data Gathering & Synthesis
December 2020 - February 2021

  1. Launch broader stakeholder engagement via small groups and community conversations
  2. Continue interviews
  3. Benchmark
  4. Continue Core Team and Steering Committee meetings
  5. Document emerging themes
  6. Draft the vision and strategic priorities

Phase III. Testing, Validation, Completion and Roll-out
March - May 2021

  1. Test and validate the vision and strategic priorities
  2. Refine and finalize strategic plan
  3. Continue Core Team and Steering Committee meetings
  4. Develop roll-out plan
  5. Close the process, publish the plan and celebrate


Steering Committee Members

Anthony Burrow (Associate Professor, Human Development; Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach; Director, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research)

Patricia Cassano (Director and the Alan D. Mathios Professor, Division of Nutritional Sciences)

Eve DeRosa (Associate Professor, Human Development; Dean’s Fellow for Racial and Social Justice)

Sandy Dhimitri (Assistant Dean for Human Resources)

Yasser Gowayed (Chair and Professor, Fiber Science & Apparel Design)

Terry Horner (Nutritional Sciences alumnus, ’92, ‘98)

Caroline Larson (Assistant Director, Alumni Affairs and Development)

Kristie Mahoney (Director of Facilities and Operations)

Amy Meckeler (Assistant Dean for Communications)

Darryl Scott (Director of Admissions and Student and Career Development)

Tracey Thompson (College Registrar)

Deborah Yoboah (Undergraduate Student)

So-Yeon Yoon (Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Design + Environmental Analysis)

Nicolas Ziebarth (Associate Professor, Policy Analysis and Management)



This strategic visioning process is inclusive and participatory, with many opportunities for College of Human Ecology students, staff, faculty, and alumni to engage and contribute.

In addition to within scheduled discussion groups, CHE community members may provide feedback at any time.

Thank you to all who completed the Community Feedback Survey (February - April). Your contributions are an important part of the process.

Comments, ideas, thoughts, and questions about the College and its future may also be shared at any time to chevisioning@cornell.edu.


Communication Updates

Community engagement opportunities (April - May)

  • Department faculty meetings
  • Dean's Undergraduate Advisory Council (DUAC) meeting
  • Association for Students of Color (ASC) meeting
  • Staff coffee hour with the dean