Cornell University College of Human Ecology

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New York State College of Human Ecology
DeanAlan Mathios
Academic staff
105 professors
Location, ,
AffiliationsCornell University
State University of New York

The Cornell University College of Human Ecology (HumEc) is a statutory college in the State University of New York (SUNY) system located on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York.[1][2] The College of Human Ecology is a compilation of area of study, such as consumer science, nutrition, health economics, public policy, human development and textiles, each through the perspective of human ecology.[3]

New York State residents and out-of-state residents are eligible to attend College of Human Ecology and in-state residents attending the college pay a reduced rate compared to the tuition rates for their out-of-state counterparts. In 2007-2008, the HumEc total budget of $42 million included $33 million in tuition revenue and $9 million in state appropriations.[4]


The New York State College of Human Ecology enrolls approximately 1,250 undergraduates and 458 graduate students, and has approximately 105 professors and lecturers, and 70 research associates. Human Ecology provides a liberal arts foundation supporting career-specific preparation in a small college environment. The admitted freshman profile is in the middle 50th percentile. In 2005, the Cornell Alumni Magazine reported males represented 25 percent of College of Human Ecology 2005–06 student body.[5]

Five academic departments comprising the New York State College of Human Ecology are Design and Environmental Analysis, Fiber Science & Apparel Design, Human Development, Policy Analysis and Management, and Nutritional Sciences, which offer the following undergraduate majors: Design and Environmental Analysis;[6] Fiber Science and Apparel Design, with possible options in Apparel Design, Fashion Design Management, or Fiber Science;[7] Global and Public Health Sciences; Human Biology; Health and Society; Human Development;[8] Nutritional Sciences; and Policy Analysis and Management. Thirty-five to forty percent of Human Ecology students continue in professional or graduate degree programs following the completion of undergraduate degree programs.


Deans of the College of Human Ecology
Martha Van Rensselaer and Flora Rose 1924–1932
Flora Rose 1932–1940
Mary F. Henry (Acting) 1940–1941
Sarah Gibson Blanding 1941–1946
Elizabeth Lee Vincent 1946–1953
Helen G. Canoyer 1953–1968
David C. Knapp 1968–1974
Jean Failing 1974–1978
Jerome M. Ziegler 1978–1988
Francille M. Firebaugh 1988–1999[9]
Patsy M. Brannon 1999–2004
Lisa Staiano-Coico, aka Lisa S. Coico 2004–2007
Alan Mathios 2007–Present

The home economics movement emerged toward the end of the nineteenth century. Pioneers such as Ellen Swallow Richards and Mr. and Mrs. Melvil Dewey championed home economics as a field in higher education.[10]

From 1903 to 1907 Martha Van Rensselaer, and American nutritionist Flora Rose (1874-1959),[11] and Anna Botsford Comstock taught early home economics courses at New York State College of Agriculture.[12][13][14] and later co-directed the fledgling department of Home Economics.[15] In 1914, the United States Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act to establish a system of cooperative extension services provided by land-grant universities for the purpose of educating American farmers, youth, and other groups, about developments in the fields of agriculture, home economics, 4-H and other related domains. Van Rensselaer and Rose advocated for the state chartered of 1925 for the New York State College of Home Economics - the first unit of its kind in the United States.[16][17] In 1929, Eleanor Roosevelt lent political influence to assist the College to obtain public funds to construct a building, later completed in 1933. In 1969, the College was renamed New York State College of Human Ecology. The term human ecology refers to methodology to sudy relationships between people and natural and constructed environments.[18]

The New York State College of Human Ecology has remained under the management and control of the State University of New York, and the College is therefore subject to the supervision and oversight of the SUNY trustees.[19]

Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, home of The College of Human Ecology
The 89,000-square-foot dedicated Human Ecology Building, opened in 2011.


In 1933, the New York State College of Human Ecology was housed in Martha Van Rensselaer Hall (MVR), located at 116 Reservoir Avenue in Ithaca, New York. The Georgian Revival style brick building was designed by architect William Haugaard of the New York State Dormitory Authority (DASNY).[20] The building was named after Martha Van Rensselaer (1864-1932) - pioneer in the field of home economics.

In 1968, architect Ulrich Franzen designed an addition on the north side MVR Hall. The expansion provided studio and laboratory space for faculty and students. In 2003, Dean Patsy Brannon presided over the completion of a west wing addition to MVR Hall, providing space for the Division of Nutritional Sciences, including a human metabolic research unit as well as an interactive distance-learning classroom.[21] In 2001, MVR Hall's north wing was urgently evacuated due to structural problems, and demolished in 2005.[22] In 2011, a new 89,000-square foot facility designed by Gruzen Samton and IBI Group was completed to provide a parking garage, a three-story building, and a commons adjacent to the existing building.[23][24] In 2015, the Green Parking Council certified the parking structure a green garage.[25]

Notable Alumni[edit]

Notable Faculty[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "NYS College of Human Ecology at Cornell". SUNY. The State University of New York.
  2. ^ "Attend SUNY". SUNY. State University of New York.
  3. ^ "human ecology". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. Retrieved 2016. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ p. 31 Retrieved 2007-09-12.
  5. ^ Tregaskis, Sharon (September 2006). "Any Person: With the education gap widening between rich and poor, Cornell and its peers struggle to increase the economic diversity of incoming classes". Cornell Alumni Magazine. Ithaca, New York: Cornell Alumni Federation. 109 (2): 44–52. ISSN 1070-2733.
  6. ^ Caplan, Bill (December 2, 2013). "Design Students conceived hub for College of Human Ecology". Architect News.
  7. ^ Jadran, Farah. "Fashion meets function with 'smart' fabrics". WSYR-TV ITHACA. Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  8. ^ Segelken, H. Roger (January 17, 2014). "Robert Sternberg joins Human Ecology faculty Feb. 1". Cornell Chronicle.
  9. ^ Bardaglio, Wrexie (July 2005). "Overtime". Cornell Alumni Magazine. Ithaca, New York: Cornell Alumni Federation. 108 (1): 49. ISSN 1070-2733.
  10. ^ Stage, Sarah; Vincenti, Virginia Bramble (1997). Rethinking home economics : women and the history of a profession. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. pp. xii, 347 pages : illustrations, 24 cm. ISBN 0801429714.
  11. ^ Cook, Blanche Wiesen (2000). Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 2: The Defining Years, 1933-1938. Penguin. ISBN 978-1101567456. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
  12. ^ Thompson Craig, Hazel (1946). Stover, Blanche Margaret, ed. "The history of home economics". New York: Practical Home Economics. OCLC 4179508.
  13. ^ Percival, Caroline M.; Alumnae Association of the New York State College of Home Economics (1957). "Martha van Rensselaer". OCLC 688392789.
  14. ^ Eisenstadt, Peter R; Moss, Laura-Eve (2005). "The Encyclopedia of New York State". Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press: 728. OCLC 57506556.
  15. ^ Steiner, Frederick R (2016). Human ecology : how nature and culture shape our world. Washington [District of Columbia]: sland Press. pp. xvii, 237 pages : illustrations, 23 cm. ISBN 9781610917384.
  16. ^ New York State College of Human Ecology. "Annual report of the New York State College of Human Ecology". Ithaca, N.Y: The College, 1970-1983: 14 v. : ill., 23–28 cm. OCLC 21074534.
  17. ^ NYS Education Law § 5714.
  18. ^ Bruhn, John G. (1974). "Human ecology: A unifying science?". Human Ecology. 2 (2): 105–125. doi:10.1007/bf01558116. ISSN 0300-7839.
  19. ^ "2013 New York Consolidated Laws, EDN Education, Title 7, 5714 - New York state college of human ecology". Justia US Law.
  20. ^ "1015A-Martha Van Rensselaer Hall Facility Information". Cornell University.
  21. ^ "The West Wing : More Space in MVR". Cornell Alumni Magazine. Ithaca, New York: Cornell Alumni Feder. 105 (4): 14. January 2003.
  22. ^ "Franzen, Ulrich, 1921- . The Architecture of Ulrich Franzen: An Inventory". Harvard University Library. Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. Retrieved 2005. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  23. ^ "School Of Human Ecology / Gruzen Samton • IBI Group". Arch Daily : the worlds most visited architecture website. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  24. ^ "Feature of the Month: Gruzen Samton * IBI Group designs new 87,000 s/f Human Ecology Bldg. at Cornell". nyrej. New York Real Estate Journal. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  25. ^ Wheeler, Simon. "Green certification for garage". ithacajournal. USA Today Network. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  26. ^ New York State College of Human Ecology. "Human ecology". Ithaca, New York: Human Ecology. ISSN 2163-520X.
  27. ^ New York State College of Human Ecology.; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. (1991). "American clothing : identity in mass culture, 1840 to 1990". Human ecology forum. 19 (3). Ithaca, NY: New York State College of Human Ecology, 1991: 36 pages : illustrations (some color), 28 cm. OCLC 24155356.
  28. ^ New York State College of Human Ecology. "Report of the New York State College of Human Ecology". Ithaca, N.Y.: The University, 1989-: v. : ill., 28 cm. OCLC 215224255.
  29. ^ New York State College of Human Ecology. Family Life Development Center. "Some ways to find out about child abuse and neglect, child welfare, adoption of children with special needs, troubled adolescents". Ithaca, Ny: Family Life Development Center, Region II Resource Center on Children and Youth,1984. OCLC 12819185.
  30. ^ New York State College of Human Ecology. Television, Radio, and Film Media Services. (1981). "Television advertising for children : buy it or ban it?". Ithaca, N.Y: [Television, Radio, and Film] Media Services [New York State College of Human Ecology]. OCLC 10068010.
  31. ^ New York State College of Human Ecology. "Annual report of the New York State College of Human Ecology". Ithaca, New York: The College, 1970-1983: 14 v. : ill., 23–28 cm. OCLC 21074534.
  32. ^ New York State College of Human Ecology. Community Service Education Department. "Expanding adolescent role expections : information, activities, resources for vocational educators". Ithaca, N.Y.: The College, 1978. OCLC 5380305.
  33. ^ New York State College of Human Ecology. "Human ecology historical photographs". Ithaca, N.Y.: College of Human Ecology, 1999-2003. OCLC 52503966.

External links[edit]