Friday, December 14, 2012

Report From Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove On Academic Goals And Vision For Roosevelt Island Campus - Video Presentation Of Project At CB 8 Land Use Committee Hearing With Questions And Comments From Residents Including 9 Year Old Girl Asking For Cornell's Help

Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove

Image of Ms. Dove at December 12 CB 8 Land Use Committee Public Hearing

sends this report to the Roosevelt Island community.
It was almost exactly one year ago – December 19, 2011 – that Cornell was chosen to build the applied sciences graduate campus on Roosevelt Island that we have now named Cornell Tech. For everyone at Cornell Tech, and for me personally, it has been a whirlwind year as we’ve worked hard to create an innovative new academic program and plan an open, sustainable physical campus here on the Island.

So for this week’s column I wanted to take a step back and share some thoughts about why Cornell is so committed to this campus and the impact it will have on economic development and higher education in New York and beyond. Over time we estimate that the impact from this campus alone will create thousands of jobs and have a huge impact on New York’s economy. Our mission is important and so we wanted to share some details of our approach with you.

First, though, let me share a quick update on our conversations with the Roosevelt Island community that are occurring right now as part of the official land use review process (ULURP). It has been wonderful to see so many people attend each of the meetings we’ve held with Community Board 8. We’ve heard a clear and consistent message from the community: Roosevelt Island strongly supports Cornell Tech but wants to make sure that the construction and operation of the campus are handled in a way that protects, respects and welcomes the rest of the Island.

We’ve been working hard to fully answer every question that we’ve received, and we’re pursuing potential solutions on some of the most commonly raised issues, including barging of materials to reduce the impact of construction. As I’m writing this column we’re preparing for a Community Board hearing on December 12, and I hope to see many of you at future meetings throughout this process.

But my goal for this column is to provide a deeper understanding of the academic goals and vision for the new campus, which can sometimes get lost in all of the vital conversations going on about the details of planning the physical campus.

Cornell Tech is designed to address two significant issues slowing innovation and economic development in New York and around the country. The first issue, identified by the City, is that the enormous growth of our tech sector is being held back by a shortage of top-level tech talent in New York. The second, broader challenge is that the way we innovate and commercialize research ideas in this country is changing, and universities and companies both need to adapt to remain at the forefront of technology innovation. It is time for new thinking about how industry and academia work together.

Cornell Tech is being designed with these challenges in mind. It is a graduate- level campus focused on the applied sciences and engineering, particularly those areas related to the information economy that play such a central role in New York City. With a burgeoning tech sector, the City is increasingly home to local technology firms as well as offices of national and global technology companies. In addition, almost every NYC-based industry is highly reliant on technology to drive its business. Cornell Tech is creating the academic environment to help power these companies, grow new companies, and develop whole new industries driven by technology and information.

We’re creating a distinctive approach to graduate education and research in technology. Our campus will foster the development of technologies that are rooted in the latest academic research and address real-world problems. We will create a campus culture that blends academic excellence and commercial impact together with societal good. Students and faculty – in close collaboration with industry experts – will learn and work together. And, befitting New York City’s role as the “capital of the world”, Cornell has forged an academic partnership with the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Together the two universities will be offering dual degrees and innovative programs on the campus.

Research and education at Cornell Tech will be undertaken with potential commercial and societal outcomes in mind from the outset. The campus will be highly interdisciplinary, bringing both deep disciplinary excellence in core technology fields such as computer science and electrical engineering, and creating cross-cutting focal areas that we term “hubs”. Initially three hubs are planned, in Connective Media, Healthier Life, and the Built Environment.

The hubs serve as focal points for the research and educational mission of the campus, bringing together particular sets of disciplines that are most relevant to domains of particular commercial relevance in New York City. Thus all three initial hubs focus on areas where information technology is rapidly affecting large industry sectors in the city – the advertising, media and entertainment industries for the Connective Media hub, the health care and insurance industries for the Healthier Life hub, and the building, architecture and urban planning industries for the Built Environment hub. As technology and its relation to particular industry sectors changes, so will the interdisciplinary focal areas; thus the lifetime of hubs is expected to be from a few years to a decade or two.

In addition to conducting research that addresses real-world problems, the campus will offer a number of graduate degrees. The State of New York has approved five one year professional degrees including Masters of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Operations Research, a Master of Professional Studies in Information Science, and an Accelerated MBA for students with technical backgrounds. We are launching the first of these – the M.Eng. in Computer Science, in January 2013 on our Chelsea campus. In addition to these Cornell degrees, with Technion we anticipate offering three unique two- year dual degrees focused on the hub areas, which will result in both a Cornell and Technion diploma. Finally we will also have a number of Ph.D. students on our campus.

This is a new approach and a rare opportunity to create a new campus and curriculum from scratch. We’re extremely excited about the possibilities and so grateful to be creating this campus in a community with a history of innovation.
Below is video from the December 12 Community Board 8 (CB 8) Land Use Committee meeting referenced by Ms. Dove. During the meeting a motion was approved to vote on Cornell NYC Tech's ULURP application at the December 19 CB 8 Full Board Meeting. Also, here's a 40 page question and answer sheet on the Cornell NYC Tech Project and a letter from Ms. Dove setting forth the benefits of the project to Roosevelt Island and the rest of NYC.

The December 12 CB 8 Land Use Committee meeting began with a young Roosevelt Island girl asking for Cornell's help and continued with Ms. Dove and other Cornell NYC Tech representatives presenting their plan

followed by questions and statements
from Roosevelt Island residents

and Community Board

8 members.


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