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CALS: Knowledge with Public Purpose

Knowledge with Public Purpose

Faculty, students, and staff of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) discover, integrate, disseminate, and apply knowledge about food & energy systems, the life sciences, the environmental sciences, and economic & community vitality as a basis for sustainable improvement in the lives of people throughout New York, the nation, and the world. From the university’s only accredited undergraduate business program to innovative research in communication, development sociology, landscape architecture, the biological sciences, and other fields, CALS offers a broad spectrum of programs that extend past the traditional definition of an agricultural school. And yet, with outstanding initiatives in the food, animal, and plant sciences as well as in a broad scope of biological sciences, CALS clearly illustrates the urgency and relevance of agricultural research to creating a world that can nourish and support its inhabitants. Because of this portfolio of diverse expertise and resources, CALS is regarded as the best college of its kind in the nation, if not the world.

Informed by discoveries from our broad spectrum of expertise, CALS’ research, educational, and extension programs:

  • Advance knowledge of the unity and diversity of life;
  • Impart to our students a world-class education and passion for life-long learning and discovery;
  • Promote wise stewardship of the environment and natural resources, and create economical, sustainable energy strategies;
  • Develop agricultural systems to establish and maintain safe, nutritious food supplies for current and future generations, and;
  • Foster economic vitality and individual and community health and well-being.

Challenges confronting the global community are growing in complexity for many reasons, including the increasing human population and climate change in the context of finite natural resources. Establishing sustainable societies through sound policies, strategies, and technologies that improve the health and well-being of present populations without compromising the needs of future generations is among the greatest challenges facing humanity.

Solutions to today’s global challenges will require novel insight into the dynamics of coupled human and natural systems. Many of these solutions will be found at the intersection of the four interdependent and interacting areas of focus [see image] that inform and support CALS’ mission and shape the college’s commitment to advancing the land grant mission. From the social sciences to the life sciences, in fundamental and applied disciplines, CALS has the broad and deep expertise needed to affect real change in the world.

Through our curriculum and experiential opportunities, CALS develops leadership ability, civic responsibility, and curiosity in its students. Through our research, CALS makes invaluable contributions to an ever-increasing knowledge base. Through Cornell Cooperative Extension and other outreach mechanisms, we serve the public directly, sharing knowledge and improving lives around the world. In all facets of our mission, CALS honors the past, is engaged in the present, and helps shape the future.