Sustainable preservation certificate launches to address climate concerns

Whether living in urban centers or rural farming towns, people are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of climate change on their lives. That concern is accelerating the growth of “green” building and energy efficiency initiatives. But Katelin Olson, Ph.D., visiting lecturer in Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, says communities may be overlooking an equally important climate solution: sustainable historic preservation. By reusing the existing built environment, sustainable preservation is an essential tool for meeting climate goals.

“The greenest building continues to be the one already built,” says Olson, who is a certified planner. “As we seek greater energy efficiency, it is tempting to think we can build our way out of our environmental crisis. But that’s not a financially possible or reasonable solution.”

Read the full story on the Cornell Chronicle website.

How to get people to follow the rules: lessons from the pandemic’s ‘great experiment’

When a deadly global pandemic broke out, compliance — the act of following rules — became critical. Yet many people didn’t adhere to the rules.

On May 9th, lawyer and compliance expert Richard John, adjunct professor at Cornell Law School, held a live webcast through eCornell to explore the COVID-19 pandemic as a global compliance experiment, applying its lessons to the daily challenges organizations encounter in maintaining rule systems.

“When it comes to compliance, businesses usually have far more time, they’re looking at a much smaller subset of people than the entire nation and they have the advantage of paying its employees for leverage,” said John, answering questions from an audience of over five hundred listeners around the world. “But the pandemic was such an experiment — the ‘Great Experiment.’ Suddenly, you needed the whole country to pay attention, figure out what the rules are, and follow them — and do it in an incredible hurry. And while this has been a tremendous tragedy…to some extent our rules worked.”

Read the full story on the Cornell Chronicle website.

NASA engineer is Alabama’s first certified Black woman winemaker

Rada Griffin works long days as a senior software engineer and subject matter expert for NASA, providing support to the project that’s going to put the first woman on the moon in 2024.

“It’s a big responsibility for us to ensure that everything goes perfectly,” she said. “And then, whenever I can find the time, I do my thing with wine.”

Griffin, based in Huntsville, Alabama, juggles three lives in one. On weekdays, she’s a contractor for NASA. On weekends she hosts wine and food pairings – and sometimes flies to Napa Valley, California, to check the progress of her first vintage. In 2019, after honing her wine skills in a series of online classes authored by an instructor in the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration, she launched Anissa Wakefield Wines, becoming the first certified Black woman winemaker in Alabama.

Read the full story on the Cornell Chronicle website.

New Equitable Community Change Certificate Launched

2020 was a year of widespread unrest in the United States, with an estimated 15 to 26 million people protesting income inequality and racial injustice in more than 3,000 distinct locations according to the New York Times. Two years later, faced with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and new national priorities, millions of Americans who participated in demonstrations are wondering: What comes next?

At Cornell University, the ILR School has developed an answer using the expertise of its ILR Buffalo Co-Lab (ILR Buffalo) and community-based think tank Partnership for the Public Good (PPG). In January 2022, ILR Buffalo and PPG launched an online certificate through eCornell entitled Equitable Community Change to provide practical training for individuals working in all sectors of society to build more equitable, just, and sustainable communities.

Read the full story here.

Sustainable Business certificate tackles much more than environmental issues

In recent years, many companies have acknowledged the impact their business has on climate change and other environmental issues. Often, there is the belief that a technical solution will solve the problem, allowing companies to avoid negative consequences in the future. But what’s in the rearview mirror is closer than it appears.

To help managers think more holistically about the social and environmental impacts of their business and take action, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business faculty recently launched an online certificate in Sustainable Business through eCornell.

Read the full story on the Cornell Chronicle website.

S is for scarce

Alex Colvin PhD ’99, Kenneth F. Kahn ’69 Dean of the ILR School, hosted “Supply Chain in Chaos” on April 14. Dean Colvin interviewed two manufacturing leaders with decades of experience working to source, produce, and deliver apparel to clients around the world.

Read the full story here.

Cornell’s revamped External Education unit broadens its reach

(CORNELL CHRONICLE) — Paul Krause ’91 is the university’s vice provost for external education and leads eCornell. His role as vice provost is part of an effort that recently brought together eCornell and the university’s various external education programs into a new external education initiative unit under the academic leadership of the provost’s office to expand Cornell’s reach and impact.

The new unit also supports faculty who develop and design learning experiences to strategically extend the reach of the university. The initiative also includes expanding executive education programs tailored to the needs of companies, governments and nonprofits.

The full conversation is available at

What are Cornell’s external education goals?

Paul Krause: President Martha E. Pollack and Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff have a vision to expand Cornell’s reach and impact through external education offerings. They’ve brought together eCornell and other external education units under the provost’s office as part of an effort to better integrate and expand our efforts.

In practical terms, we expand our reach and impact by launching new educational programs that people will enroll in. We work with Cornell faculty to design and produce these learning programs and events that may be online, in person or live, or in a blend of formats.

Of course, we also need to make sure that the world knows about Cornell’s programs and their unique value. So we have a number of goals related to driving enrollment. We do not focus primarily on traditional college-age students, but rather working professionals and lifelong learners. We have goals for both reaching individual students and for establishing long-term relationships with nonprofit organizations and industry partners to integrate Cornell programs into their employee development plans.

What are some of the programs this unit offers, and how many people does it reach?

eCornell is well known for its online certificate programs, which are considered noncredit microcredentials. Cornell was a pioneer with this type of online program, launching a significant initiative more than 20 years ago. Over the past couple of years, Cornell has really expanded its offerings further, and today we are a leader among our peers for these small-cohort, high-impact online programs.

We offer more than 80 programs that are typically completed in a 3- to 6-month period. We expect more than 80,000 unique students this year. These programs often support learners who wish to develop their professional skills in topics ranging from business and leadership to hospitality, human resources, healthcare, marketing and technology. We also offer successful programs on lifelong learning topics such as photography and nutrition.

Our team also collaborates closely with multiple academic units to launch new online and blended master’s degree programs that target working professionals. These have been quite successful in terms of enrolling impressive cohorts of individuals, offering high-quality programming, and garnering great overall feedback.

The next program we are launching, this month, is an online master of science in legal studies [MSLS] through Cornell Law School. It is a degree for working business professionals who work with lawyers and need a solid grounding in legal language and concepts. We intend to launch many more online and blended master’s programs for working professionals.

Of course, education also can happen in very small bites. To support this type of learning, Cornell offers something we call interactive keynotes. Keynotes are bite-sized, one-hour, engaging live events such as panels or interviews. These provide an opportunity for people to hear from faculty on current events and recent research, or just to engage in a topic they find interesting. In one recent week we held keynote events ranging from “Guiding our Children through Crisis” and “Racism in America” to “Innovations for COVID-safe Hotels.”

What are some of the most popular offerings, and what partnerships have enhanced them?

In the category of professional online certificate programs, one of our top program areas is diversity and inclusion, which is certainly relevant in the national discussion right now. Other popular programs include leadership, digital marketing, project management and women in leadership.

One of our biggest social-impact partnerships is with Bank of America. The Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell offers a free women entrepreneurs certificate that is a high-impact, robust online program for aspiring entrepreneurs. They recently announced plans to more than double its total enrollment, adding 30,000 slots with an emphasis on diversity.

What has been the impact of the recent organizational changes?

While the changes are all still a work in progress, this new structure has already enabled Cornell to build a more comprehensive, strategic approach to external education. For example, now when we meet with a Fortune 500 company, we have a more integrated message on how Cornell can support their internal employee development initiatives. In a recent example, a large organization was looking for support in diversity and inclusion, and we were able to assemble a broad, multipart solution that included live executive education, online certificate courses, and learning paths with on-demand lesson videos.

This unique set of capabilities really does resonate – the idea that we can provide solutions to multiple levels of an organization. This might include live faculty interaction for the executive-level managers within a company, online certificate programs for targeted “high potential” managers and on-demand lessons that are scalable and can be pushed out to more than 20,000 employees.

For the university community, being structured in this way means we are better able to align programs and facilitate collaboration among faculty to expand the number of programs and events offered.

Have you built relationships with other institutional partners?

We’re looking to launch additional social-impact programs. For example, just this year, Steve Carvell, professor of finance, facilitated a pilot collaboration between various units at Cornell and the National Education Equity Lab, a nonprofit organization, and the potential impacts are very exciting. It’s a way to give high school students in underserved communities the opportunity to develop critical business skills while excelling in, and ultimately completing, a for-credit course at a top university like Cornell.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Cornell’s external education initiative?

As with everyone, the coronavirus pandemic has had profound impacts on us. While we played a relatively minor role, we did mobilize our resources required to support Cornell’s all-hands-on-deck effort to get classes online last spring. We also have accelerated opportunities to reuse eCornell-produced online learning assets in any course that needs them.

With respect to the external education efforts, traditional in-person executive education had a fairly abrupt pause, and our focus has been to migrate these programs online where possible. As you might expect, certain market segments, such as hospitality, have really been hit hard. Beyond these challenges, the pandemic has only accelerated interest in online programs and we’ve seen significant enrollment growth.

What qualities do you and your team bring to this external education unit?

I’m fortunate to have a very strong team with a lot of complementary skill sets and many years of collective experience in this space. We have great instructional design professionals, media production professionals, digital marketing experts, professional enrollment counselors, learning consultants, partnership account managers, operations experts, and so much more. Our team is passionate about creating great programs and sharing their enthusiasm about them with the world. And, importantly, we have the support of amazing Cornell faculty – an indispensible part of this entire initiative.

What really drives all of us is being able to deliver a growing and renowned program that reflects well on Cornell University and that has a real and lasting impact on people’s lives – a crucial part of Cornell’s mission and “any person … any study” ethos.

Bank of America expands the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell

CHARLOTTE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As part of Bank of America’s $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, today – Women’s Entrepreneurship Day – the company announced a further expansion of the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell. Due to the program’s success, Bank of America will add 30,000 seats – bringing the total enrollment of small business owners to 50,000 – and will work with Cornell to develop a Spanish language curriculum and hire Spanish-speaking teaching assistants to more effectively support Hispanic-Latino entrepreneurs.

The Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell is the only Ivy League program offering a certificate in women’s entrepreneurship, and at no cost. Since its launch in 2018, the institute has enrolled more than 20,000 individuals, primarily women, of whom 86% identify as women of color. Registration is open to anyone worldwide, regardless of gender, educational background or business stage.

As part of the program expansion, Bank of America will partner with several nonprofits, including the National Urban League, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders and Prospera, to create more enrollment opportunities for Black and Hispanic-Latino entrepreneurs.

The challenges that women entrepreneurs face have multiplied over recent months. According to a recent McKinsey study, while women made up 46% of U.S. employment pre-coronavirus, they account for 54% of overall job losses year to date – with women of color the hardest hit.

“With women bearing much of the economic brunt of the pandemic – and particularly women of color – our further investment in the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell has never felt more important,” said Anne Finucane, vice chairman at Bank of America. “Amid the unforeseen challenges and events this year, we must continue to invest in women entrepreneurs to drive economic growth, because when women-owned businesses thrive, our communities flourish.”

“We at Cornell are extremely proud of the impact the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship is having on aspiring entrepreneurs,” said Martha E. Pollack, president of Cornell University. “The institute builds on Cornell’s commitment to the public good and on the strength of our faculty in providing practical, focused, accessible education.”

Through coursework that draws on curricula from across Cornell’s schools, the instructor-led classes and limited class size provide women the opportunity to learn new skills, connect with a vibrant network of entrepreneurs and social innovators, and access the resources they need to manage and scale a successful business. These courses include Creating Your Venture; Laying the Legal Building Blocks; Assessing and Obtaining Financial Resources; Growth Leadership for Women Entrepreneurs; Product Development and Digital Marketing; and Communication, Negotiation and Persuasiveness.

Investing in women

Bank of America’s investment in women as they make meaningful contributions within the company and in communities around the world includes a focus on being a great place to work for its female employees, improving the financial lives of female clients, and advancing women’s economic empowerment worldwide. The company has several long-standing partnerships, through which it has helped more than 30,000 women from 85 countries grow their businesses, including:

  • Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program: Since 2014, Bank of America has committed $100 million in capital to the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program, helping women business owners gain access to affordable loans. To date, more than 3,400 women have received nearly $57 million in loans through community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to help them grow their businesses.
  • Global Ambassadors Program: A partnership between Bank of America and Vital Voices, the Global Ambassadors Program pairs women entrepreneurs with senior women executives for a week of one-on-one mentorship and workshops designed to build business acumen. To date, the program has impacted more than 400 women from 85 countries – helping mentees grow their businesses and organizations through more than 8,000 hours of training and mentorship.
  • Cherie Blair Foundation: Since 2013, Bank of America has partnered with the Cherie Blair Foundation on its Mentoring Women in Business program, which has matched more than 2,700 women in developing and emerging countries to online mentors, including more than 500 mentors from Bank of America.
  • Kiva: Through a partnership with Kiva, Bank of America has committed more than $2 million in funds to women business owners, assisting more than 17,200 women entrepreneurs from 45 countries.

Recent Bank of America announcements focused on racial equality, diversity and inclusion, and economic opportunity include:

Bank of America Environmental, Social and Governance
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).

For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom and register for news email alerts.

Eliza Murphy, Bank of America
Phone: 1.347.603.6845