Statement on proposed College of Business

Planning is underway around a significant new commitment to the excellence of business education at Cornell — the creation of a unified College of Business, which, pending approval by the Board of Trustees, will include Cornell’s three accredited business schools: the School of Hotel Administration (SHA), the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. We expect that the new College of Business will elevate Cornell as a leading university in the study of business at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and each school will maintain its unique identity and mission.

Over the next several months, the deans/director of the three schools and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will work with faculty to develop the academic processes that will be critical to achieve our aims of faculty integration and individual school identity. This process will also engage students, our alumni, and the Board of Trustees, which will consider establishing a College of Business in Cornell’s bylaws at its January meeting.

Within the new College of Business, the distinctive nature and excellence of each school, brought together with the other accredited business schools to take advantage of integration for the benefit of students and faculty, will be the defining feature of the business program at Cornell. Each school will be presided over by a school dean, who will have responsibility for that school’s academic program and work closely with the deans of the other schools and the dean of the College of Business.

SHA will maintain its position as the top-ranked hotel school in the world, with a unique student experience and a focus on particular key economic sectors, especially the hospitality industry and real estate. Students will benefit from increased interactions with other faculty and departments, as well as an expanded focus on entrepreneurship across campus. The school will have the opportunity to work more closely with Johnson to build and strengthen its graduate education programs and new, emerging programs in both New York City and China. The unified structure will enable the next dean of SHA to recruit exceptional faculty within hospitality and real estate, as well as the most outstanding business school faculty, to the school. SHA will further enhance real estate business education and will be in a strong position to be the focus of campus-wide entrepreneurship training, including, potentially, a new undergraduate minor.

The Dyson School will remain within CALS and also join the new College of Business. Faculty and staff will continue to be part of CALS, and all Dyson students who are New York state residents will continue to enroll at the New York state contract college tuition rate. Integrating Dyson with the two other schools in a College of Business promises to increase the breadth and depth of the instruction and research available to all Dyson students, forge important faculty research collaborations, engage Dyson faculty and students in exciting programs developing at Cornell Tech, and add value to our unique partnership with New York state. The Dyson School has a long history within CALS, a world leader in education, research and extension. We are determined that the Dyson School’s continued ties to CALS will strengthen CALS’ world-renowned ability, including through its extension programs, to deliver knowledge with public purpose even more powerfully around the globe.

This reorganization will accelerate Johnson’s strategic plan to build connections to other programs in Ithaca, New York City, and abroad through access to faculty in areas beyond its current capabilities. Graduate and executive education programs will benefit from deep interaction with specialty areas of business currently located in other schools, such as real estate finance. Recruitment of faculty will be enhanced through academic reorganization, similar to our experience in the now cross-college Department of Economics. Faculty development and retention will become easier as faculty have different teaching and research possibilities. And Johnson will be able to attract more Cornell undergraduates to its MBA programs.

We envision that undergraduate students will apply to one of the two accredited undergraduate business programs, either to the School of Hotel Administration or to the Dyson School, which have different approaches to admissions and work to find the right students to fit their unique programs. Additionally, all gifts designated for a particular school, including scholarships, will stay so designated, and future gifts can be similarly designated. As this initiative moves forward, the leadership and faculty of each school and CALS will be fully engaged in the critical implementation of decisions such as these.

We shared this news internally with SHA, CALS and Johnson faculty, staff and students on December 14 to allow for more formal planning to proceed. We are now engaging the broader Cornell community to gather input over the coming weeks and months as we work to realize the full scope of opportunities for business study at Cornell. As we realize the numerous benefits of integration, while maintaining and enhancing the individual strengths and special character of our stellar business programs, the new College of Business will have a unique profile in and impact on the world.

Elizabeth Garrett

Michael Kotlikoff