Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs

Katherine McComas

The Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs is responsible for a broad range of relationships, programs, and initiatives that further Cornell’s public engagement mission globally, locally, and across New York state, where Cornell serves as the state’s land-grant university.

Katherine McComas has been the Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant affairs since July 2018. She is a professor of risk communication in the Department of Communication in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, where she previously served as department chair. She is a fellow and former president of the Society for Risk Analysis.

As Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs, McComas oversees the following areas and offices:

Institutional Stewardship of the Land-Grant Mission

Given Cornell’s role at the land-grant university for New York state, McComas works to maximize the positive impact of the university on New York residents and beyond. This includes monitoring and collaborating on responses to the governor’s initiatives in higher education and economic development, as well as seeking out new collaborations and partnerships with other public, private, and non-profit entities to advance the university’s public engagement goals.

Cornell’s Relationship with SUNY

As part of the land-grant mission, four of Cornell’s colleges — College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and College of Human Ecology — are directly connected to the State University of New York (SUNY) and referred to as “contract colleges” because of this relationship. These four colleges are not public or state-operated but very much a part of the one private university that is Cornell. In her role, McComas represents these four contract colleges in the university’s relationship with SUNY and collaboratively responds to a variety of SUNY’s budgetary, academic, and administrative inquiries and initiatives.

Community-Engaged Learning and the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement

McComas co-leads, with the Vice President for Student and Campus Life, the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement. The Einhorn Center seeks to grow and develop opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to work with community partners to solve problems and create a better world together. This effort includes overseeing a 10-year community-engaged learning initiative, launched in 2014, with the goal of having every Cornell undergraduate student complete a high-quality community-engaged learning experience by the time they graduate.

Cornell Prison Education Program

McComas oversees Cornell’s Prison Education Program (CPEP), which provides college courses leading to college degrees for incarcerated students in upstate New York prisons. Through the dedicated work of staff, faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and volunteers, CPEP focuses on helping incarcerated students build meaningful lives inside prison as well as prepare them for successful re-entry into civic life.

Cornell Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and Military Community

Cornell has been educating military leaders since its founding and is proud of its military community. Cornell established ROTC in 1917, and today, McComas supervises the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force programs that Cornell hosts. In addition to ROTC, McComas supports a broad range of efforts aimed at helping Cornell’s military community, including its many veterans, thrive at the university.

Contact Information

Office of the Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs
449 Day Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
Tel: 607-255-9970
Email: Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs