Department Chair

The Department of Human Centered Design at Cornell University invites applications for the position of full-time department chairperson at the advanced associate or full professor level, based in Ithaca NY. This leadership role presents a unique opportunity for an accomplished, interdisciplinary design scholar. This is an exciting time of growth and development for a newly-merged department with a long history of design education, innovative scholarship, community and industry engagement, creative practice, and pedagogical impact as leaders in design fields. 

College of Human Ecology (CHE)
Cornell Human Ecology brings together a wide range of perspectives to understand the full context of the human experience and improve lives at every scale, from cells to society. Our research and academic programs focus on the interaction of humans with their biological, economic, social, and physical environments. Using Cornell's far-reaching extension network and the college's translational research methods, we deliver our findings directly to communities, families, and policy makers, ensuring that our work reaches those who need it most.

CHE is one of four contract colleges at Cornell University (operated by Cornell under contract with New York state). The college is home to over 1,000 undergrads and nearly 200 graduate students, 120 faculty members, and 140 staff members. The college’s academic units include the Department of Human Centered Design, the Division of Nutritional Sciences, and the Department of Psychology. The college also houses the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, the Action Research Collaborative, and the Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures. Along with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the college administers the Cornell Cooperative Extension, with offices in each county in New York and every borough of New York City.

Department of Human Centered Design
The Department of Human Centered Design (HCD: enriches people and their environments through transdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach. We integrate analog and digital knowledge, tools, methods and creative processes from design, humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences to address real-world challenges. Faculty and students conceptualize, prototype and evaluate products and processes that enhance human potential, well-being and community. Our graduates possess the tools, skills and strategies to become industry leaders, visionary academics and pioneering practitioners.

As part of Cornell University, a world-class research university and a partner of the State University of New York, HCD faculty have the knowledge and resources to cross fields and disciplines to enhance human thriving. We produce cutting edge knowledge and are deeply committed to using that knowledge to make a difference in people’s lives. The department has 32 faculty members, some with dual appointments that enrich our transdisciplinary approach to design.

Located in Ithaca, NY, the department has state-of-the-art equipment and facilities including studios, labs, two fabrication studios, a design materials library, 3D body scanner and multiple gallery spaces. It is a department and college priority to enhance student, faculty and alumni connections to New York City.

The department currently has 78 graduate students in eight distinct graduate programs: M.A. in Apparel Design, Ph.D. in Apparel Design, M.A. in Design, M.S. in Fiber Science, Ph.D. in Fiber Science, M.S. in Human Environment Relations, Ph.D. in Human Behavior and Design, and MPS in Human Ecology. HCD has an enrollment of 187 undergraduate students and three different majors: Design + Environmental Analysis, Fashion Design and Fashion Design Management, and Fiber Science. The department also offers five minors: Design + Environmental Analysis, Design Innovation & Strategy, Fashion Studies, Fiber Science, and Healthy Futures. Our global student body and esteemed faculty are an engaging and diverse academic community.

Candidate Profile
The successful candidate will be a visionary leader attuned to the innovative directions of design both in academia and practice and be willing to push us into the future, while holding close our legacy of design education excellence and dedication to people and planet.  They should have demonstrated their ability to turn vision into reality, and to transcend traditional academic boundaries to lead a design program that addresses contemporary social/environmental challenges through a people-centered approach. The candidate should have leadership experience and demonstrated commitment to social and climate justice and an eagerness to participate in radical collaborations, community-engaged projects, and translational research. The chairperson will prioritize creating an inclusive space where all voices are heard and respected, fostering an environment where our diverse team can collaborate effectively and reach their full potential.

Qualifications: We seek an individual with the following qualifications: 

Academic Credentials:

  • A PhD in any relevant field.
  • Internationally recognized as a leading scholar in the realm of design or at the intersection of design and other relevant fields.
  • A distinguished record of scholarship and teaching excellence.
  • Evidence of excellence in interdisciplinary education and student mentoring.

Leadership Experience:

  • Demonstrated success in academic leadership, including experience in administrative roles.
  • Evidence of ability to bridge different disciplines and approaches to research and teaching.
  • Plans to promote and support faculty research initiatives.
  • Foster a culture of excellence, inclusivity, and collaboration in teaching, research, and service.

Community and Industry Engagement:

  • Strong connections to industry and/or practice and policy. We expect a track record of successful collaboration with external partners.
  • Works beyond the university walls to engage with current events and stakeholders.
  • Deep appreciation for and understanding of diverse disciplines.

Innovation and Vision:

  • Forward-thinking and innovative mindset, with the ability to anticipate and respond to trends in design and related fields.
  • Drive initiatives to integrate emerging technologies and methodologies into research and teaching.

Commitment to Social and Climate Justice:

  • Commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive academic environment.
  • Ability to view design through a human-centric lens, recognizing its inclusive nature.
  • Passion for advocating and advancing the department's unique position and potential.

Apply via

For questions, email the HCD Chair Search Committee at


Tenure-Track, Assistant Professor: Health Equity

The Department of Human Centered Design brings multidisciplinary perspectives together to improve human wellbeing through design. Through transdisciplinary thinking and expertise, we bring arts and design, material and social sciences, to innovate, investigate, and address real-world challenges by using analog and digital knowledge, tools, rigorous research methods, and creative processes. Our faculty includes anthropologists, engineers, psychologists, material scientists, geographers, public health and experts in apparel, graphic, interior, industrial design and architecture.  We work together and collaborate externally with colleagues from across the university, as well as industry and non-profit community partners, to conduct research and enhance students’ learning. Using state-of-the-art lab and studio spaces, we conceptualize, prototype, and evaluate design across the range of clothing, products, buildings,, and neighborhoods spaces to enhance human potential, health equity, social and environmental justice, sustainability, and community flourishing ( 

We are seeking an exceptional scholar to join our faculty in the area of Health Equity. We welcome scholars who approach their respective area of expertise from a multi-disciplinary range of perspectives to develop evidence-based critical solutions to improve lives and address current critical topics with specific attention to bridging the disparities regarding equity and social/environmental justice in human health and wellbeing.

Equity and social/environmental justice are a critical area of expertise and strength throughout the College of Human Ecology. The College has a substantial cohort of scholars who are committed to studying race, ethnicity, culture, and socioeconomic status including the nature, persistence, and consequences of inequality. Potential topics include: mental or physical health inequalities and the built environment; design for underrepresented populations; design for vulnerable populations; design in support of more just and equitable places and organizations; and design for diverse persons and communities. The applicant should provide evidence of excellence and innovation in design research and teaching with a human-centered orientation.

Research, teaching, and engagement/outreach interests may include, but are not limited to:

  • Generating and translating novel solutions across a spectrum of products, technology, spaces, and settings to enhance human health and wellbeing.
  • Exploring and critiquing the role of design in producing, expressing, and shaping human health and well-being of individuals and communities.
  • Developing environmentally and socially responsible designs and products to benefit individuals, communities, and the environment. 

The successful candidate will demonstrate potential to develop a world-class, externally funded research and design program that engages with current issues around design and health equity.  Responsibilities include creating a successful research program; teaching undergraduate and graduate courses; advising undergraduate and graduate students; and providing service to the department and university community. A Ph.D. is required.

HCD has strong connections to several other units on campus. These relationships support the department’s aim to address real-world challenges and opportunities through critical, creative, and collaborative engagement with design. We seek a colleague who is committed to social and environmental justice and will advance scholarly and real-world understandings of how design shapes environments, humans, and the interaction between the two.

This position is supported in part by Cornell University’s FIRST program (Cornell FIRST), a grant from the NIH’s Common Fund’s Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Program, to recruit early-career faculty who have a demonstrated commitment to inclusive excellence.

To Apply:

For more information, please contact Sienna Torbitt,


Postdoctoral Associate, Hybrid Body Lab

The Hybrid Body Lab at Cornell University is seeking an exceptional Postdoctoral Associate to conduct cutting-edge research in on-skin interfaces, electronic textiles, and digital fabrication. The Postdoc will work closely with Prof. Dr. Cindy-Hsin-Liu Kao, director of the Hybrid Body Lab. In addition, the Postdoc will have opportunity to frequently interact with faculty & researchers in the College of Human Ecology, Computing and Information Science, and the College of Engineering, all based on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY, as well as Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell Tech in New York City.  We offer a fully funded Postdoctoral position for one year with possibility for renewal for a second year. The position is located in-person in Ithaca, NY.

Our lab specializes in the research, design, and invention of Hybrid Skins: conformable interfaces that can sit at all scales of the human experience.  We have a strong research focus and present our work at top-tier ACM computer science venues in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Wearable Computing. Example projects and publications from our group: Hybrid Body Lab Projects; Publication List

Specific to this postdoctoral position, we are seeking candidates for the following topics:

  • Topic A: digitally knit textile interfaces for health and well-being.
  • Topic B: sweat and bio-fluid sensing wearable interfaces.

Qualifications for a successful candidate include:

  • PhD degree in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Information Science, Mechanical Engineering, Human-Computer Interaction, Textile Engineering, Fiber Science, and  Apparel Design, or related field.  Proof that all PhD requirements have been fulfilled before the start date is required.  
  • Strong and independent hands-on implementation skills.  Please note your implementation skills in your cover letter.
  • For Topic A Only:  applicants must demonstrate prior experience with manual and/or digital machine knitting.  Pleae note your level of experience in your cover letter.
  • Strong track record of publications in high-quality venues related to HCI, functional textiles, material science, soft robotics, or wearable computing.
  • A team player with excellent communication skills, and willingness to collaborate across disciplines.
  • Independent, creative, and strongly motivated to conduct research in HCI and Wearable Computing.
  • (Preferred) Design-related interest or experience.

Your role will involve:

  • Iterative hands-on design, prototyping and evaluation of new user interfaces and fabrication techniques related to on-skin interfaces and electronic textiles.
  • Publishing research results in top conferences in HCI and Wearable Computing.
  • Lead ongoing projects while also spearheading new ones based on your unique expertise.
  • Contribute to writing proposals for applications of external funding.
  • Supervise graduate and undergraduate students in the lab.
  • Support undergraduate and graduate teaching related to the lab.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Note: We have an immediate slot to fill for August 2024, so applications before April 1, 2024 are especially encouraged.

Apply via:

For more information, please contact Sienna Torbitt,


Postdoctoral Associate, Responsive Apparel Design (RAD) Lab

The Responsive Apparel Design (RAD) Lab at Cornell University is seeking a highly motivated and talented postdoctoral researcher to join a collaborative team focused on the development of optically functional fibers and fabrics (OFFs) in an effort to make the world better off. 

Department of Human Centered Design:

The Department of Human Centered Design (HCD) enriches people and their environments through transdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach. We integrate analog and digital knowledge, tools, methods and creative processes from design, humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences to address real-world challenges. Faculty and students conceptualize, prototype and evaluate products and processes that enhance human potential, well-being and community. Our graduates possess the tools, skills and strategies to become industry leaders, visionary academics and pioneering practitioners.


  • Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, or a closely related field.
  • Strong background in materials science, polymer chemistry, and/or fiber/textile engineering.
  • Demonstrated experience in the design, fabrication, and characterization of functional materials.
  • Experience with optical characterization techniques (e.g., spectroscopy, microscopy) is highly desirable.
  • A strong publication record in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a collaborative team.

Desired Skills:

  • Experience with metamaterials and their design principles.
  • Knowledge of fiber spinning techniques (e.g., electrospinning, melt spinning).


  • Participate in all aspects of the research project(s), including design, fabrication, characterization, and modeling of metamaterial fibers and textiles.
  • Develop and optimize fabrication processes for fibers and textiles.
  • Conduct optical characterization of the developed materials and analyze the results.
  • Contribute to the preparation of research manuscripts and presentations.
  • Assist with the supervision of graduate and undergraduate students.

Apply via 

For more information, please contact Sienna Torbitt,