New College leadership appointments announced

Collage of  Casasola, Wells, Burrow, and Hall

Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs and Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education

Marianella Casasaola, professor in the Department of Human Development (HD), will begin a five-year term as Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs on July 1. She replaces Margaret Frey, the Vincent V.C. Woo Professor in the department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design, who will continue her innovative research on micro and nanofibers.

Casasola previously served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Human Development and currently serves as the Dean’s Fellow for Program Development in the College, where she leads the College’s work to assess student learning outcomes. She also served as a faculty-in-residence in a north campus residence hall for six years, giving her a unique insight into the undergraduate experience.

“Marianella brings a wealth of expertise to this role,” Dunifon said. “She will be a wonderful asset to the College’s leadership team.

“I also want to thank Margaret for the numerous contributions she made during her time as senior associate dean, including launching new first-year success courses for and developing an innovative academic reporting tool,” Dunifon said.

Casasola said she looks forward to collaborating with students and faculty members to strengthen the undergraduate experience in Human Ecology.

“My interactions with our undergraduate students are one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching and conducting research at Cornell,” she said. “I care deeply about creating a strong community that allows our students to excel academically, explore their passions, and forge professional and interpersonal connections that enrich their time at Cornell and beyond.”

In addition, Nancy Wells, Professor in the Department of Design + Environmental Analysis (DEA), will begin a five-year term as Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education on July 1. She replaces Karl Pillemer, who served a two-year term in the position. Pillemer will transition to the role of Dean’s Fellow for Research Development, where he will oversee grant development activities and oversee the Cornell MRI facility.

“Nancy, too, brings an exceptionally strong set of expertise to this role,” Dunifon said. “In addition, I want to thank Karl for the many contributions he made during his time as senior associate dean, including expanding resources for faculty seeking external funding, developing a new partnership between the Cornell MRI facility and Weill Cornell Medicine, and updating our tenure and promotion processes.”

Wells currently serves as Director of Graduate Studies in DEA. She is also a member the Graduate School’s Professional Development Council and the University Appeals Panel. Her research focuses on humans’ relationship to the built and natural environment.

“I’m honored to take on this new role in the College leadership,” Wells said. “I hope to facilitate opportunities for scholarship across disciplines and advance the research missions of our faculty. I’m also delighted that graduate education will be a component of my responsibilities because I am passionate about graduate education. I look forward to working with colleagues in all our departments to promote our excellent graduate programs.”

BCTR welcomes incoming director Anthony Burrow

Anthony Burrow, associate professor of human development and associate dean for extension and outreach in the College of Human Ecology, has been named director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR).

Burrow, who will begin his new role at BCTR on July 1, succeeds Christopher Wildeman, professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, who is moving to a new position at Duke University.

Established in 2011, the BCTR brings together researchers with health and human service organizations to expand and strengthen the connections between research, policy and practice. The goal is linking research with real-world concerns to improve the health and well-being of families and communities.

“In 2011, the year I arrived at Cornell, two distinguished and cherished centers merged to form what we now observe as the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research,” Burrow said. “For the duration of my time at Cornell, the BCTR has served as a beacon for aligning my research with the College of Human Ecology’s mission to improve lives by exploring and shaping human connections,” said Burrow.

“The chance to serve as director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research is a genuine honor,” he said. “In this role, I see a tremendous opportunity – and perhaps one made more urgent by the particular moment our world is experiencing – to discover and share actionable insights with the communities we serve.”

Burrow directs the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE), which links science and service by involving 4-H communities in research projects to promote positive youth development. His research focuses on two main areas: how notions of race are incorporated into self-identity and perceptions of everyday encounters; and the benefits of having a sense purpose in life as a psychological resource.

Burrow has earned Cornell’s Engaged Scholar Prize, serves as a provost’s fellow for public engagement, and in January was one of two recipients of Cornell’s inaugural Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, Teaching and Service Through Diversity.

“Anthony exemplifies the type of publicly engaged research and teaching that we value in the College of Human Ecology,” said Rachel Dunifon, dean of CHE. “As director of PRYDE, he draws upon his expertise in positive youth development to partner with 4-H and other organizations to develop programs designed to enhance youth well-being. I am excited to partner with Anthony as we further increase the impact of our extension and outreach mission.”

“I also want to thank Chris Wildeman for his leadership of the BCTR, during which time he increased the BCTR’s focus on policy impact in numerous ways,” Dunifon said.

Wildeman served as director of the BCTR for two years. Over this time, he increased the BCTR’s focus on policy impact, teaching and training, hosted the Doing Translational Research podcast and developed important new programs in the center. He also served as the co-director of the National Data Archive for Child Abuse and Neglect, a database that advances research in child maltreatment, youth development and family dynamics.

“Directing the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research has truly been the greatest privilege of my career,” Wildeman said. “The work that comes out of the center, true to the center’s namesake, is both of the highest scientific quality and has the potential to truly transform our increasingly-precarious society. There is not a doubt in my mind that Anthony is the perfect leader for the center and will guide it for many years to come.”

Burrow said he looks forward to building on the BCTR’s strengths and creating new research partnerships with faculty, students and community stakeholders.

“I aim to generate a broader platform for studying positive youth development,” he said. “Through such an initiative, I believe we can capitalize on so many wonderful projects and programs already housed within the center, while also formalizing a more far-reaching agenda for translating what is known about what helps young people thrive and enables them to contribute to the world around them.”

“It is clear to me that successfully navigating present day challenges demands inclusive, collaborative and rigorous translational science,” Burrow said. “At the BCTR, striving to conduct research with impact underlies our collective purpose – and what could be more enjoyable than having a clear aim and a talented team of people heading towards it together?”

The center was named for the late Urie Bronfenbrenner ’38, who taught at Cornell for more than 50 years and whose research helped to inspire the federal Head Start program.

Today, more than 40 Cornell faculty affiliates of the BCTR work with practitioners to design, implement and evaluate projects and programs focused on nutrition, youth development, parenting, health care, aging and related issues.

Demographer Matt Hall takes over as head of Cornell Population Center (CPC)

Demographer Matt Hall takes over as the head of the Cornell Population Center with plans to bring in additional grant money, further develop demographic analysis with policymakers, and expand training opportunities for students at all levels – all to help researchers across the university better understand shifting population dynamics and their social and policy implications.

Hall, an associate professor of Policy Analysis and Management, succeeds Kelly Musick, professor and chair of the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, who directed the center for four years.

The CPC brings together 150 scholars from fields of study across Cornell to foster collaboration in academic, extension and applied policy research. The center includes four main focus areas: families and children, health behaviors and disparities, poverty and inequality, and immigration and diversity. It offers graduate and undergraduate training in cutting-edge population topics and data analysis, hosts visiting researchers and lecturers from across the globe and offers grants and research support to researchers in fields including economics, policy, planning and sociology.

“The next stage for the Cornell Population Center presents many exciting opportunities to simultaneously build on the enormous successes and initiatives of the Center’s leadership and history, as well as to expand and innovate in ways that can make CPC an international leader for demographic research and a hub of training for the next generation of population scientists,” Hall said.

Hall previously served as the training director for the Cornell Population Center. He is also a faculty board member of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs and an affiliate of the Center for the Study of Inequality. His own research focuses mainly on immigration, including the economic and social impacts of unauthorized migration, the consequences of intensified immigration enforcement, and the emergence of Latino boomtowns throughout the country. Hall also devotes considerable attention to understanding the changing nature of racial inequality in housing and neighborhoods, with a focus on the social and behavioral forces that maintain segregation.

One of Hall’s goals is to expand the Cornell Program in Applied Demographics, New York State’s contracted unit for population estimation and forecasting, and one of the premier applied demographic groups in the country. He also plans to help provide researchers with access to innovative types of demographic data and seed collaborative research with data scientists.

“The CPC will benefit greatly from Matt’s expertise and leadership, and I am very grateful for his existing and future contributions to population research at Cornell,” said Rachel Dunifon, interim dean of the College of Human Ecology.

“I’m also grateful for the exceptional leadership of Professor Kelly Musick, who led many innovative efforts that enhanced and strengthened CPC and its contributions on and off campus,” Dunifon said. “These include launching the Grant Development Program for new investigators, bringing demography scholars in New York together through the Upstate Population Workshop, enhancing the CPC’s external visibility through its website and social media presence, and developing mentorship and professional development opportunities that benefit graduate students and postdocs from across Cornell.”

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