Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cornell University College of Human Ecology

The New York State College of Human Ecology (HumEc) is a statutory college at Cornell University. The college is a unique compilation of studies on consumer science, nutrition, health economics, public policy, human development and textiles, each components of the discipline of human ecology that comprise what Ian McHarg described as “human ecological planning”.

Students at the College of Human Ecology delve into biology and chemistry, economics, psychology, and sociology, applying their expertise in fields such as health, design, nutrition, public policy, and marketing. Studies done by professors and students vary from studying the financial impacts of tax legislation to designing safer workplaces and facilitating healthy growth of premature infants.

For 2007-2008, HumEc has a total budget of $73 million, with $33 million from tuition and $9 million from state appropriations.

The beginnings of the College appeared in the year 1900, when a reading course for farm women was created. In 1907, the Department of Home Economics was created within Cornell's New York State College of Agriculture. In 1919, the Department of Home Economics became a school within the Agriculture College. In 1925, the school was converted to the New York State College of Home Economics, the first state-chartered college of Home Economics in the country.

The focus of the college at the turn of the 20th century was home economics. The field was a critical pathway for women to obtain higher education. From its inception, home economics was multidisciplinary and integrative with an emphasis on science applied to the real world of the home, families and communities. The on-campus program developed in conjunction with Cornell's cooperative extension program that placed extension agents in every county of New York State to teach scientific principles of agriculture and home economics.

Eleanor Roosevelt played an integral role in the development of the College of Home Economics from the 1920s to the 1940s. As the wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the governor of New York from 1928 to 1932, and later as America's First Lady, from 1933 to 1945 (during her husband's tenure as President of the United States), she employed her fame and influence in ways that resulted in greater financial support for home economics programs and increased publicity for the College. It was with Eleanor Roosevelt's support that in February 1925, that the New York State legislature passed a bill, which made Cornell's School of Home Economics the New York State College of Home Economics.

From 1922 until 1950, Cornell's hotel administration program operated as a department within the college, until it spun off into a separate endowed unit.
In 1949, the College was one of four Cornell statutory colleges included in the State University of New York to reflect on-going state funding. The New York Legislature changed the College's name in 1969 (coinciding with an administrative reorganization of the College) to its present name — the New York State College of Human Ecology — to reflect a more "modern" focus of the College beyond "domestic arts." The college remains a unit of the State University of New York.

The college enrolls approximately 1,200 undergraduates and 200 graduate students and has approximately 300 faculty members.

Admission is extremely competitive. Applications for the College of Human Ecology usually run around 1200. About 89% of the entering students are ranked in the top 10% as compared to the average of 85% for Cornell.

The College of Human Ecology comprises several departments:

    Human Development (HD)
    Policy Analysis & Management (PAM)
    Division of Nutritional Sciences (DNS)
    Design & Environmental Analysis (DEA)
    Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD)

Cornell’s interior design program in the DEA department is highly ranked on the undergraduate and graduate levels by DesignIntelligence. In its annual edition of "America's Best Architecture & Design Schools" the journal has ranked Cornell’s Bachelor of Design and Environmental Analysis (Option I: Interior Design) program as fourth in the nation in 2010, fourth in 2009, third in 2008, second in 2007, and third in 2006. Cornell’s Master of Art in Design program was ranked as third in 2010, fourth in 2009, fifth in 2008, second in 2007, and third in 2006. In 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked Cornell's Sloan Program in Health Administration 14th in the nation.


Since 1933, the college has been housed in Martha Van Renssalaer Hall (MVR), a 171,648 sq ft (15,946.6 m2) Georgian Revival style brick building designed by William Haugaard located between the Ag Quad and Beebe Lake. In 1968, a dramatic, cantilevered wing designed by Ulrich Franzen was added to the North side of MVR overlooking Beebe Lake. However, the building was declared structurally unsafe in 2001 and abandoned. In the meantime, a west wing was built to house the human nutrition labs as a link between the main MVR and the north wing, but it opened in 2002, after the north wing was closed. The North wing was demolished in 2006, and construction began in 2008 to replace it with an 88,228-square-foot (8,196.6 m2) teaching and laboratory building atop a 290 car parking garage. The lead architect is Darko Hreljanovic, a 1977 graduate of Cornell's architecture college. The new building will open in 2012.

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