New hires, new focus enhance academic initiatives at Einhorn Center
By Aaron Goldweber

The David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement has launched a newly reorganized Academic Initiatives team, consisting of five staff and two post-docs. The team focuses on the center’s Engaged College Initiative, faculty development and global engagement programming, and research examining the institutional impacts of community-engaged learning at Cornell. 

The Einhorn Center’s academic initiatives team builds on years of collaborations across Cornell’s community-engaged learning (CEL) network — veterans and those new to the field — to support a range of opportunities that fit all disciplines and modes of research, teaching and engagement. Two provost’s fellows for public engagement, Professor Julia Fellippe (College of Veterinary Medicine) and Associate Professor Anthony Burrow (College of Human Ecology), further augment the team.

Richard Kiely, Ph.D. ’02, who was recently named associate vice provost for engagement and land-grant affairs, is the inaugural director of academic initiatives for the center.

“I am thrilled to serve in this new leadership capacity and to work with an incredibly talented team,” says Kiely. “We will continue to collaborate with colleagues across campus and build on the well-established academic programs and resources in the Einhorn Center to support faculty, staff, students and partners in advancing and sustaining high quality community-engaged learning in coursework, research and co-curricular endeavors.”

The Einhorn Center’s academic initiatives range from individual consultations with faculty interested in learning more about CEL to the Engaged College Initiative, which is focused on undergraduate schools making CEL a central part of their curricular, co-curricular and research programs. Currently there are four schools partnering with the Einhorn Center, with more on the way. Jake Dillabaugh joined the team in April as assistant director for the Engaged College Initiative.

Beyond the engaged colleges, the Einhorn Center’s faculty development efforts include grants, workshops and the Faculty Fellows program, with cohorts in teaching and in scholarship. Each year, around 20 Cornell faculty participate in the program, building skills and contributing to Cornell’s CEL network. To help provide faculty with tools to teach CEL, the center is launching a new online course in spring 2023 that features Kiely as the lead instructor in partnership with eCornell. Soon, the center will be launching a search for a new faculty development and undergraduate research expert to join the team as assistant director.

With an increasing number of faculty and students looking to engage with the world, Amy Kuo Somchanhmavong, associate director of global community-engaged learning programs, works with partners on and off campus, including the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and their VinUni program, the Laidlaw Leadership and Research Program out of the Einaudi Center, the Global Engagement Survey and other CEL opportunities. 

To investigate the effects of Cornell’s CEL initiatives, the center has partnered with Einhorn Collaborative to support a post-doc position focused on the scholarship of engagement. Katie Fitzgerald, who arrived in Ithaca in January, will analyze, publish and disseminate insights from Cornell’s embedding of CEL throughout the undergraduate experience with the goal of inspiring and informing other higher-education institutions to do the same.

“I couldn’t be more excited about our growing academic initiatives team and the elevated leadership position that Richard is taking on,” says Basil Safi, the Einhorn Center’s executive director. “Together with the rest of our university-wide programming, the Einhorn Center is better prepared than ever to support students, faculty, staff and partners to create a better world together.”