Connect Through Courses

Dilmun Hill, adjacent to the Ithaca campus, offers hands-on, experiential learning opportunities to Cornell students. We host a flow of classes during the academic year, allowing students to learn more about our operations and our community. Placing their classwork into the context of a working farm, often fuels diverse class project ideas that inspire and enrich our community. We welcome classes and invite student projects across any topic that you can imagine would fit your goal and the farm. Be prepared for a tour from one or more of our student farm managers. 

Contact dilmunhill [at] (dilmunhill[at]cornell[dot]edu) to share your course interests and project ideas.


Courses at Dilmun Hill

These courses typically rely on the farm for part of their curriculum:

  • PLSCI 1900 – Sustainable Agriculture: Food, Farming and the Future 
    Instructor: Matt Ryan
    Fall, 3 credits
    Introduction to agronomy and agroecology and an exploration of environmental, economic, and social factors that influence agriculture. Students participate in interactive discussions about food systems and food security. Labs include field trips to a variety of field crop, vegetable, and dairy farms and experiential activities designed to enhance understanding of important themes in sustainable agriculture, including multifunctionality and resilience.

  • PLSCI 1300/GDEV 1300 – Just Food: Exploring the Modern Food System
    Instructor: Rachel Bezner KerrFrank Rossi
    Fall, 4 credits
    This course provides a comprehensive review of the modern food system from the green revolution to the industrialized model of today. It offers a critical perspective on existing paradigms and insights into alternative approaches for producing food security, environmental stewardship, and equity in an era of climate change. The course is taught by an interdisciplinary team of instructors who bring insights from both the biophysical and social sciences and will ask students to consider their food using a systems-thinking lens.

  • PLSCI 2600/PLSCI 5600 – Soil Science
    Instructor: Jonathan Russell-Anelli
    Fall, 4 credits
    Designed for undergraduate and graduate students interested in a comprehensive introduction to soil science from both an environmental and management perspective as well as graduate students who wish to advanced their understanding of the biogeochemical (biologic, hydrologic and mineral) interfaces and linkages underpinning and controlling the soil, plant and atmospheric continuum. This course examines the dynamic relationship of soils with the environment and will place particular focus on both the larger landscape as well as site specific implications of this relationship. The course is flipped with online lectures, in-class homework, projects and activities as well as a weekly laboratory and is presented in three components.

  • PLSCI 2940 - Introduction to Agricultural Machinery
    Instructor: Chris PelzerToni DiTommaso
    Fall, 2 credits
    Overview of agricultural machinery used in the production of field crops. Information is presented in a lecture and field laboratory format stressing “hands-on” equipment demonstrations and use, particularly of tractors. Tractor safety is emphasized during the initial three weeks of tractor instruction where the students practice learning to competently drive a tractor. Successful completion provides a broad understanding of agricultural machinery operation and design rationale.

  • GDEV 3030/5030 - Food Cycle: Systems Thinking Towards Circular Economy for Organic Resources
    Instructor: Rebecca Nelson
    Fall, 3 credits
    In seeking to understand issues and opportunities at the nexus of agriculture, sanitation, water, health and the natural and built environments, students will gain skills in systems thinking, participatory design and innovation towards systems change. Through individual and collective work, students will conduct general and specific systems analysis and construct systems models to identify opportunities to reduce carbon pollution, improve system health. Students will seek to learn from cases and literature from diverse national and international contexts. The Cornell campus will be considered a “living laboratory” for an inquiry into how organic resources flow through our facilities, and how waste flows might be utilized to produce energy, fertilizer, food, building materials and/or other valued products. Students will engage with local entities (facilities, organizations, farms and other enterprises) to gain specific information that will inform our analysis. Students will engage in hands-on work to learn about ways in which organic resources can be up-cycled.