The Chronicle of Higher Education
November 24th, 2014
When Kathryn J. Boor became a dean at Cornell University, change was at the center of her agenda from the very beginning.
She began leading the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in
2010, when the Ivy League institution—like colleges everywhere at the
time—was in the midst of streamlining operations and cutting costs. Just
four months into Ms. Boor’s tenure, the college announced
that its department of education would close. Cornell administrators
said they didn’t have the money it would take to raise the small
department’s national profile.
Since then, Ms. Boor has overseen a steady stream of change. In the
spring, for example, she grouped five departments to create the new
School of Integrative Plant Science, with the goal of showcasing the
university’s strengths in plant and soil sciences and attracting federal
grants, more students, and more top faculty.
"This took reorganizing people and getting people excited about a new
structure and a new way of thinking," says Ms. Boor, a food scientist.
"This is a way to ensure our pre-eminence five and 10 years down the