Engaged LEARNING: Human Ecology Faculty Receive Grants for Research and Curriculum Development

By Hall, Olivia M. | Human Ecology, Spring 2017 | Go to article overview

Engaged LEARNING: Human Ecology Faculty Receive Grants for Research and Curriculum Development


Hall, Olivia M., Human Ecology


Human Ecology faculty members have been awarded Engaged Cornell grants for curricular and research work that furthers the university's mission through community-engaged learning. Showcasing the breadth of the College's disciplines, the projects range from design to public health and from innovative departmental curricula to cross-disciplinary international partnerships.

Global and Public Health Partnerships

A Division of Nutritional Sciences team led by David Pelletier, Professor of Nutrition Policy, received an extension of its Engaged Curriculum Grant, intended to help faculty enrich Cornell curricula by integrating elements of community engagement.

Pelletier is working with Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition Julia Finkelstein, Lecturer Jeanne Moseley, Assistant Professor Rebecca Seguin, and Research Scientist Kate Dickin to develop domestic, sustainable, and mutually beneficial research partnerships for the new Global and Public Health Sciences (GPHS) major.

The supervised engaged learning experience connects the theory and practice of addressing public health issues and the well-being of communities. Students working with the Skorton Health Center at Cornell, for example, will participate in ongoing initiatives in mental health, alcohol and drug use, sexual violence, and hazing.

"Establishing such partnerships is a major hurdle that departments face when embarking on experiential learning," says Pelletier. "The Engaged Curriculum Grant helps us prime the pump."

Design + Environmental Analysis Applications

With an Engaged Curriculum Advancement Grant, Professor Nancy Wells, Associate Professor So-Yeon Yoon, Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor Gary Evans, and Professor Mardelle Shepley--all in the Department of Design + Environmental Analysis (DEA)--are expanding the Department's engaged learning programs.

"DEA has a long tradition of community-engaged projects," says Wells. "I think they bring academic content to life--literally and figuratively. They allow students to apply their knowledge to real issues."

Last year's grant supports four courses in which DEA majors explore the power of design and environment to improve people's health, functioning, and well-being. While Wells has her students conducting a health impact assessment in anticipation of the 15-month shutdown of the New York City L-Train planned for 2019, Yoon has had her Designing User Experience Studio class outline a plan to help Ithaca Community Recovery provide a warm, inspiring meeting environment for people in recovery and their families.

Local organizations will also benefit from the work Evans has planned with Tompkins County Action, where students will evaluate a Head Start Center, and Finger Lakes ReUse, where they will explore factors influencing reuse behavior. …

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