Barbara McClintock Professor, School of Integrative Plant Science Plant Biology Section
Dr. Chelsea Specht is the Barbara McClintock Professor of Plant Biology and Associate Director for Faculty Development, Equity, and Inclusion in the School of Integrative Plant Science and serves as the elected Associate Dean of Faculty for Cornell University. She is a faculty member in the graduate fields of Plant Biology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a faculty fellow of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. She is also a member of the L.H. Bailey Hortorium and affiliated with the Cornell University Herbarium.
Since 2017 she has served as the president of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, Board member and Director for Diversity and Inclusion for the Botanical Society of America, as the inaugural Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion for CALS from July 2019-2022. She is very interested in the role of institutions of higher education and scientific societies as agents of change, and in the role of Biodiversity Science in building a more sustainable future for our people and planet. Dr. Specht is currently the Associate Dean of Faculty, elected by Cornell’s Faculty to support the Faculty Senate and Faculty Governance.
Chelsea’s research and teaching focuses on plant diversity and the evolution of plant form and function. She and her students and postdocs use traditional morphological and developmental techniques combined with molecular genetics, comparative genomics and phylogenetics to study the natural diversity of plants and to help understand the forces creating and sustaining this diversity. Her lab uses living and museum collections to advance their research in systematics, biogeography, population genetics, developmental evolution, and conservation. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation since 2006 and includes an NSF CAREER award as well various collaborative awards with researchers nationally and internationally. She has an active lab with 5 current graduate students and 4 postdocs, all of whom engage in innovative research and demonstrate inclusive excellence through their commitments to fostering a diverse and inclusive academia.
Chelsea moved from the University of California, Berkeley to join the Cornell faculty in July 2017. At UC Berkeley she served as a Faculty Equity Advisor for the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology and served as Chair of the Academic Senate Committee on Diversity, Equity and Campus Climate. She was also part of the University of California-wide task force on Transforming Graduate Admissions. Since 2017 she has served as the president of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists and is currently the Director for Diversity Equity and Inclusion for the Botanical Society of America. She is very interested in the role of scientific societies as agents of change. Chelsea was named the inaugural Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion for CALS in July 2019 and has been working to define the role of this position and the mission for the CALS Office of Diversity and Inclusion ever since...
Awards & Honors
- Grady Webster Award (2016) Best Publication in Plant Systematics for 2014-2015
- Fellow (2015) California Academy of Sciences.
- Kayli Fellow (2011) National Academy of Sciences.
- Hellman Faculty Fellow (2009) UC Berkeley
- Presidential Chairs Fellow (2009) UC Berkeley
- PLBIO 2480: Vascular Plant Systematics
- PLBIO 7490: Graduate Research in Botany
- BIOG 4990: Independent Undergraduate Research in Biology
- PLSCI 4990: Independent Undergraduate Research in Plant Science
- PLSCI 4925: Plant Sciences Senior Portfolio
502 Mann Library
Ithaca, NY 14853
cds266 [at] cornell.edu
Chelsea in the news
Humidity is as important as scent in attracting pollinators to a plant, new Cornell-led research finds, advancing basic biology and opening new avenues to support agriculture.
- Neurobiology and Behavior
- School of Integrative Plant Science
- Plant Biology Section
Benjamin Z. Houlton, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean, has announced the appointment of Corrie S. Moreau as the inaugural senior associate dean of diversity and inclusion for CALS. Her three-year appointment is effective Jan. 2, 2023, and will run through Dec. 31, 2025.
- Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
- Department of Entomology