Catalyzing innovative research and instruction on global development.

The Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Institute for Global Development supports theoretical and applied social science research. We fund projects and working groups that address issues ranging from economic inequality to discursive politics, contributing to Cornell’s leadership in global development. 

Established in 2001, the Polson Institute has enhanced and extended the efforts of the department members, creating space for collaboration within and between Global Development, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Cornell University community. Through seminars, workshops, and grants we not only plant seeds for research and academic collaboration but contribute to educational opportunities for students outside of the classroom.

Since its inauguration in 2001, the Polson Institute has been helmed by a Director and Steering Committee drawn from the Department of Global Development. It works to support the research of faculty in the Department of Global Development and to help them build collaborations across and beyond the university through a series of programmatic initiatives that include, among others, a Small Grants Program, Research Working Groups, and a Visiting Faculty Program. 

 

Our Team

Mildred Warner headshot
Mildred Warner

Professor, City and Regional Planning, AAP

Professor

Department of Global Development

Director, Polson Institute for Global Development

Department of Global Development

Mildred Warner
Kelly Merchan headshot
Kelly Merchán

Communications Specialist

Department of Global Development

Kelly Merchán
Communication
Conflict Resolution
Latin America
Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman headshot
Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman

Senior Extension Associate

Department of Global Development

Director, Education Minor

Department of Global Development

Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman
Community development
Civic engagement
Engaged learning and research
Terry Tucker headshot
Terry Tucker

Professor of the Practice

Department of Global Development

Co-Director, Graduate Field of Global Development

Department of Global Development

Terry Tucker
International agriculture & rural development
Participatory research & extension
Higher education & development
Jack Zinda headshot
John Zinda

Assistant Professor

Department of Global Development

John Zinda
Environmental sociology
Risk and disaster
Political ecology

Program Background

About Ruth & Robert Polson

The Polson Institute for Global Development was named for Robert Polson (PhD, Wisconsin) and Ruth Polson (PhD, Cornell), former faculty of Cornell University and active community members. Robert Polson served as faculty member and Chair of the Rural Sociology department at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences during his 40-year Cornell career. During this time he acted as one of the founders of Cornell's International Agriculture Program. He was a respected leader in the Rural Sociology Society, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the American Sociological Association. Ruth Polson taught English and Music at Ithaca High School while completing her MS and PhD in English Literature. The establishment of the Institute reflects the commitment of its benefactors: to the community and international connections forged through collegial research, teaching, and the study of social change.

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Polson Institute for Global Development

240 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: 607-255-1682
Fax: 607-254-2896

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The latest news, highlights and events with the Polson Institute

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News

Polson Institute projects drive advancement in global development
Seven new grants funded by the Polson Institute for Global Development will advance Global Development’s signature strengths in wellbeing and inclusion; environmental sustainability; and food and nutritional security. The collaborations have a...
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Group conducts fieldwork in Ghana

News

Gretchen Hanson , MPS ‘23 came to Cornell hoping to build on her international development implementation experience in agriculture and education. When the opportunity arose to spend a summer in Ghana, she did just that. With support from the...
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News

The Polson Institute for Global Development welcomed urban geographer Nik Heynen as its inaugural Distinguished Speaker in the Fall 2023 semester. A Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Georgia...
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News

The Polson Institute for Global Development announced its new Spring 2023 grants to support research at the intersection of Global Development’s signature strengths in wellbeing and inclusion; environmental sustainability; and food and...
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  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
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News

The Polson Institute for Global Development announced its fall 2022 grants to support research at the intersection of systemic inequality and social-environmental justice.
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