Morgenstern Brenner

Cornell Institute for Public Affairs

MVR Hall 151



Rebecca is a Lecturer and Teaching Faculty at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. Rebecca's primary concentration is in Environmental Policy.

Rebecca is an Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future Faculty Fellowa 2017-1018 Faculty Fellow in Engaged Learning, a 2018-2019 Faculty Fellow in Engaged Scholarship at Engaged Cornell, and a Faculty Affiliate of the Mario Einaudi Center's Working Group on Disasters

In addition to her teaching role, Rebecca is a Faculty Advisor. She also serves as the CIPA student advising coordinator and is a central point for CIPA faculty advising.

As an added role, Rebecca prepares students to compete in public policy competitions. In one recent event, Rebecca worked with CIPA students to compete in February 2018 World Government Summit Global Universities Challenge in Dubai. The World Government Summit is an incredible global knowledge exchange aimed to shape the future world government. Then in March 2018, Rebecca acted as Technical Lead to host the competition. CIPA will be one of sixteen global sites for NASPAA’s global student simulation competition: Pandemic Crisis Management and Global Security. Rebecca has also coached students to compete in the Fels National Public Policy Competition in 2017 at University of Pennsylvania and the NYU Policy Case Competition in 2017 and 2018. 

Rebecca has held multiple roles translating values into practice and policy. She works with communities to reduce vulnerability and build resilience and has several projects underway.  Rebecca believes understanding shared goals and bridging disparate disciplines we can find common ground and build effective policy for a sustainable future. 

Rebecca’s academic research objective remains to bridge the gap between policy and science and is a member of the Vulnerability, Adaptation and Resilience in Practice (VARIP) Project. The results of the VARIP project is in the 2011 Earthscan book, Integrating Science and Policy: Vulnerability and Resilience in Global Environmental Change. Rebecca authored a chapter on the critical review of empirical studies in the vulnerability, adaptation and resilience literature that focuses on the gap between science and policy. 

Rebecca Morgenstern Brenner brings experience working with environmental policy. Rebecca has more than twenty years of experience in New York and California as a professional consultant working with government agencies, business, and nonprofit organizations. Her consulting experience focus is environmental but also extends to reorganization, budget management, and building consensus among diverse stakeholders with disparate interests such as community partners, non-profits, industry, and local, state, and federal officials.  Projects include analyzing the socioeconomic and environmental impacts, assessing potential impacts, and how to mitigate them. Her work also includes implementing environmental policy such as the National Environmental Policy Act, The New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, and the Clean Air Act.

Teaching Statement: As a global community, we know we are changing. Our climate is changing and disasters are becoming more intense and frequent. We can either purposefully lead the change, or continue to react to it. My goal is to teach students the skills and tools they need to direct a more resilient future.

 PADM 5734 Policy Issues in Disaster Recovery and Preventions: This graduate-level seminar course addresses some of the key topics in disaster prevention and recovery. The focus is on developing an understanding of problems and trends, discussing challenges and likely outcomes. Students will become familiar with some of the most important themes in disaster prevention and recovery. Students will conduct vulnerability and resilience assessments and learn what to do with that information for disaster prevention and planning recovery. Students will discuss the lessons to be learned from academic research and past experiences to ensure more effective management of natural and manmade disasters. 

PADM 5499 Meeting the Policy Challenge: This hands-on course is designed to provide students with practical experience in developing an innovative solution to a local community problem. Working intensively with faculty, team members, and the local community, students will listen to and learn from community leaders and literature about problems and needs in the region. The skills and tools in the class can translate to any community. Students will select and frame a policy to address need, design a solution, and develop community engagement, marketing, funding for implementation. Students engage in a Public Policy Challenge (modeled after business school competitions) that builds real-world skills as team members work together on a policy proposal and civic campaign to address a real problem in the community with an innovative solution. Students completing this course may have the opportunity to compete in a public policy competition.

PADM 5730 Comparative Environmental Regulations: How can you build successful environmental regulations both internationally and in the US? This course focuses on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), and the Clean Water Act (CWA) as a foundation for US environmental policy. We will explore these major environmental policies in the US as a basis of comparison and then apply those mechanism domestically or internationally to address climate change and improve other environment conditions.

PADM 5900 Consulting for Government and Non-Profit Organizations: This course provides students with opportunities to put into practice the skills they have learned in their coursework and professional experience to address policy or management problems for real-world clients in government or nonprofit agencies. Students will work directly with clients in small consulting teams with instructor supervision and guidance to answer a well-defined policy or management problem posed by their client. 

PADM 1734 Disasters: Policy, Prevention, and Recovery: The focus of the course is on developing an understanding of problems and trends in disaster policy, disaster planning, and disaster management. The class will discuss challenges, think through likely outcomes of innovative policy interventions, and discusses key topics in disaster prevention and recovery. To understand disasters, students will also learn about climate change, as well as the fields of vulnerability, resilience, and adaptation.  



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