New College leadership appointments announced, Spring 2020

By: Sheri Hall,  College of Human Ecology
Thu, 04/23/2020

College of Human Ecology Interim Dean Rachel Dunifon announced two new appointments of faculty members that will broaden their roles to support the College’s mission in the years to come.

Marianella Casasola, professor in the Department of Human Development (HD), will begin a five-year term as Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs on July 1. She replaces Margaret Frey, the Vincent V.C. Woo Professor in the department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design, who will continue her innovative research on micro and nanofibers.

Casasola previously served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Human Development and currently serves as the Dean’s Fellow for Program Development in the College, where she leads the College’s work to assess student learning outcomes. She also served as a faculty-in-residence in a north campus residence hall for six years, giving her a unique insight into the undergraduate experience.

“Marianella brings a wealth of expertise to this role,” Dunifon said. “She will be a wonderful asset to the College’s leadership team.

“I also want to thank Margaret for the numerous contributions she made during her time as senior associate dean, including launching new first-year success courses for and developing an innovative academic reporting tool,” Dunifon said.

Casasola said she looks forward to collaborating with students and faculty members to strengthen the undergraduate experience in Human Ecology.

“My interactions with our undergraduate students are one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching and conducting research at Cornell,” she said. “I care deeply about creating a strong community that allows our students to excel academically, explore their passions, and forge professional and interpersonal connections that enrich their time at Cornell and beyond.”

In addition, Nancy Wells, Professor in the Department of Design + Environmental Analysis (DEA), will begin a five-year term as Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education on July 1. She replaces Karl Pillemer, who served a two-year term in the position. Pillemer will transition to the role of Dean’s Fellow for Research Development, where he will oversee grant development activities and oversee the Cornell MRI facility.

“Nancy, too, brings an exceptionally strong set of expertise to this role,” Dunifon said. “In addition, I want to thank Karl for the many contributions he made during his time as senior associate dean, including expanding resources for faculty seeking external funding, developing a new partnership between the Cornell MRI facility and Weill Cornell Medicine, and updating our tenure and promotion processes.”

Wells currently serves as Director of Graduate Studies in DEA. She is also a member the Graduate School’s Professional Development Council and the University Appeals Panel. Her research focuses on humans’ relationship to the built and natural environment.

“I’m honored to take on this new role in the College leadership,” Wells said. “I hope to facilitate opportunities for scholarship across disciplines and advance the research missions of our faculty. I’m also delighted that graduate education will be a component of my responsibilities because I am passionate about graduate education. I look forward to working with colleagues in all our departments to promote our excellent graduate programs.”

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