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Excellence in Education

Prison education to expand with Mellon grant

The Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP) plans to expand to provide classes and degree programs in four regional prisons, establish a consortium of regional colleges and universities participating in prison education, and create a model college-in-prison network in the region with support from a $1 million, three-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“Our vision would see all prisons in the area with a college presence facilitated by Cornell University,” said Vice Provost Judith Appleton, who prepared the proposal to the Mellon Foundation with CPEP Director Rob Scott.

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Message from the Provost

A Cornell sophomore in a neurobiology laboratory working shoulder-to-shoulder with a professor who is a world leader in the field. A groundbreaking scholarly article authored by a doctoral student. Students helping to harvest crops in Ecuador and tutor elementary students in Elmira or students soaking up the knowledge and wisdom of our world-renowned faculty in lecture halls in Ithaca, Rome, Qatar, and New York City. When I observe these kinds of interactions, I know that I am seeing educational excellence in action.

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Our Strengths

A Cornell education is challenging and rigorous. Students push themselves as well as the boundaries of their fields of study. They are exposed to new technologies and ideas, within a dynamic mix of theoretical and applied studies, so they are able to envision—and apply—new solutions to complex problems.

  • The National Research Council reports that Cornell has more doctorate-granting programs ranked than any other private institution in the United States
  • Cornell’s 14,000 undergraduate students enjoy access to the most comprehensive courses of study in the Ivy League
  • On the Ithaca campus alone, there are more than 20,000 courses in 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools taught by 1,600 tenured and tenure-track faculty


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Our Plan

At Cornell, students discover and contribute to a community of scholars known for intellectual rigor, a university that creates opportunity, New York’s land-grant institution to the world, and a vibrant place for learning.

The university’s Strategic Plan—developed by Cornell’s own faculty, staff, administrative leadership, alumni, students, and volunteers—is a clear step toward continued and increased educational excellence for Cornell’s second 150 years. Supported teaching, a more unified educational experience for all undergraduates, increased cross-college opportunities, diversity, public engagement, service learning, and strengthened international opportunities—all of these essential elements make up Cornell’s vision for its future.

Our Priority Areas

We seek to raise $55 million in private support for efforts across colleges, schools, and units. Our priorities are:

The Center for Teaching Excellence: Established in 2008, the Center for Teaching Excellence offers an array of research-based programs and services that support teaching and reflective practice. It offers workshops for departments and individual teachers alike, and provides syllabus construction review, guidance on course planning, effective techniques for lecturing and learning-assessment, and the documentation of teaching and peer reviews. The center is also a steady source of helpful, research-based videos and papers on various...

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Jon Denison
Associate Vice President for Colleges & Units