Friday, March 8, 2013

Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove Introduces Faculty Members Deborah Estrin, Rajit Manohar and Dan Huttenlocher - Video Presentation To NYC Planning Commission On Academic Goals And Everything Else

Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove Presentation To Feb 6 NYC Planning Commission Public Hearing

Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove sends this report to the Roosevelt Island community.
As winter slowly transitions to spring, the Cornell Tech team continues to work on both our campus development plans as well as our academic program. Regarding the formal land use review process (ULURP), in January Borough President Stringer echoed the Community Board in supporting the approval of the campus plan. The plans are currently under review by the City Planning Commission, which is expected to vote later this month. The next and final step in the City’s land use review process is consideration by the full City Council, and we look forward to working with Council Member Lappin and her colleagues to continue what has been an excellent and serious discussion that has included many members of the Roosevelt Island community. We remain on track for groundbreaking early next year.

Regarding our academic programs, at the last time of writing we had just welcomed our inaugural “beta” class of computer science master degree students to the temporary campus in Chelsea. It’s been an exciting and rewarding couple of months as both the students and faculty jumped right into exploring the new academic model that we’re introducing at Cornell Tech. The students have already established close contact with a number of industry partners, learning about various facets of entrepreneurial life at the practicum sessions held each Friday. Sessions have included presentations from a wide array of disciplines, including architects, tech entrepreneurs and even a group of attorneys who helped the class understand the intricacies of tech transfer and intellectual property. The students are also working in teams on semester-long projects in direct collaboration with private companies. It is terrific having active students, faculty and community partners interacting at our site.

In the long term, as in any organization, the success of our campus is dependent on the people we attract – faculty, students and staff. Today I want to highlight our early faculty hires. We have been gratified to see the amazing level of faculty talent that has been attracted to Cornell Tech. Currently we are interviewing faculty in six fields that span areas as diverse as computer science to operations research to marketing. We are looking for a very special kind of faculty member – someone with established academic credentials in an area that is compatible with our campus, together with entrepreneurial/commercialization interests, and a demonstrated commitment to societal good. We want faculty that want to make an impact. Our first two full-time,tenured faculty members,Rajit Manohar and Deborah Estrin, are great examples, as is Dan Huttenlocher, founding Dean of Cornell Tech.

Dean Huttenlocher has been on the faculty at Cornell since 1988, most recently serving as Cornell’s Computing and Information Science (CIS) Dean, but it is his mix of academic and industry experience that makes him the perfect fit for Cornell Tech. He has worked at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and served as CTO of Intelligent Markets, and serves as a Trustee of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He has taught in both the Department of Computer Science and the MBA program at Cornell, and has won recognition as the New York State Professor of the year, a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator and a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.

While Dean Huttenlocher is an outstanding academic and entrepreneur in his own right, it is unlikely he will be able to spend much time teaching and conducting research, as he is quite busy serving as the chief academic officer of the campus. Thus, our first full-time “true” faculty member is Professor Estrin, a pioneer in networked sensing, which uses mobile and wireless systems to collect and analyze real time data about the physical world. Deborah joins Cornell Tech from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where she was a professor of computer science and the Founding Director of the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS). Her work has shown how the data streaming from networks of devices such as smartphones and cameras can enrich our understanding and management of complex problems – from personal and public health, to traffic patterns and civic engagement.

Professor Estrin brings an award-winning pedigree to Cornell Tech, as the winner of the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame Award, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and one of CNN’s “10 Most Powerful Women in Tech”, among many honors. She is also a co-founder of Open mHealth, a non-profit organization working to create an open-source infrastructure for the growing field of mobile health, which uses the wealth of live data made possible by mobile technology to revolutionize patient care. Professor Estrin is already lending her expertise not only to our students but to clinicians from Weill Cornell Medical Center, as we all work together in an effort to use technology to improve healthcare. She has also shown a commitment to K-12 education, spearheading a groundbreaking internship program for Los Angeles high school students in mobile technologies and data.

Professor Manohar is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs on the campus, and he joins us from the main Cornell campus in Ithaca, where he served as the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in Engineering. Professor Manohar is the recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation Career award, five best paper awards, seven teaching awards, and was named to MIT technology review's top 35 young innovators under 35 for contributions to low power microprocessor design.

In addition to being an outstanding teacher, Professor Manohar is a great fit at Cornell Tech due to his experience partnering with private industry and building companies. He is currently part of a team with engineers from IBM that has worked to create microchips that help computers think more like the human brain. He has also created his own start-up firm: Achronix Semiconductor.

These amazing faculty are among the team that is shaping the academic program for the campus. Many of us will be on Roosevelt Island this year for some special programming, and we all look forward to joining you at our permanent campus in 2017, but in the meantime I hope you enjoyed “meeting” a few of the key members of our team. I’ll be back next month to provide another update on the review process and everything that’s happening with Cornell Tech.
Below is Academic presentation by Dean Dan Huttenlocher to the February 6 NYC Planning Commission Pubic Hearing.


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