Ansys ushers in a new era of online learning with Cornell Engineering

/ Key Highlights

Ansys is transforming engineering curricula through a partnership with Cornell University to develop simulation courses, supplementing online learning
Cornell’s SimCafe tutorials will now be accessible on the Ansys Innovation Courses platform
Ansys and Cornell University’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering are transforming online engineering curriculum with new simulation-based online courses. The collaboration satisfies the increased demand for remote learning and brings simulation software to the forefront of teaching.

As graduating engineers and young professionals face demanding positions and high expectations in the workplace, Cornell and Ansys are arming them with access to world-class simulation education. Through this collaboration with Cornell, Ansys lowers the barrier for simulation education and equips a new era of engineers to succeed within advanced engineering teams, who increasingly leverage simulation to solve complex engineering problems.

Faculty from Cornell’s College of Engineering will design and develop courses with eCornell, the university’s external education unit, while Ansys provides support for the inclusion of real-world application examples and detailed technical write-ups of problem formulations, engineering assumptions, simulation approaches and results interpretation. The courses’ flexible format enables participants to complete the curricula on their own timelines. Courses will be offered for both students and professionals seeking to bolster their skillsets. Additionally, Cornell has chosen the Ansys Innovation Courses platform to host their existing SimCafe tutorials. Cornell will work closely with Ansys to migrate all of their tutorials to the Innovation Courses learning structure, resulting in more than 50 new Cornell courses, adding to the more than 75 existing Ansys Innovation courses.

“Simulation is a disruptive technology that can be used to transform engineering curriculum at the university level,” said Rajesh Bhaskaran, Swanson director of engineering simulation at Cornell University’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “As simulation becomes a standard feature of curriculum for teaching physics and applications, nearly every engineering graduate should be able to use simulation software effectively. Together with Ansys, we look forward to preparing engineers with the simulation skillset they need.”

“Through our continued collaboration with Cornell University, we are helping students and professionals engineer what’s ahead throughout every stage of their career,” said Prith Banerjee, chief technology officer at Ansys. “As simulation continues to revolutionize how engineering is done, the eCornell courses, supplemented by our Ansys Innovation Courses, will ensure that participants gain the experience needed to excel in the ever-changing industry.”

The Cornell courses are now open for registration. To learn more or to sign up, please visit https://ecornell.cornell.edu/certificates/engineering/fluid-dynamics-simulations-using-ansys/. Ansys Innovation Courses are available at https://courses.ansys.com/.

/ About Ansys

If you’ve ever seen a rocket launch, flown on an airplane, driven a car, used a computer, touched a mobile device, crossed a bridge or put on wearable technology, chances are you’ve used a product where Ansys software played a critical role in its creation. Ansys is the global leader in engineering simulation. Through our strategy of Pervasive Engineering Simulation, we help the world’s most innovative companies deliver radically better products to their customers. By offering the best and broadest portfolio of engineering simulation software, we help them solve the most complex design challenges and create products limited only by imagination. Founded in 1970, Ansys is headquartered south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Visit www.ansys.com for more information.

Ansys and any and all ANSYS, Inc. brand, product, service and feature names, logos and slogans are registered trademarks or trademarks of ANSYS, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States or other countries. All other brand, product, service and feature names or trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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Cornell launches online fluid dynamics simulation certificate

Cornell University is partnering with software company Ansys to create a new certificate program that allows engineers from across the world to master simulation of fluid dynamics.

The Fluid Dynamics Simulations Using Ansys Certificate program will be globally available through the eCornell online learning platform beginning July 7, and will offer a number of courses that teach students and professionals how to create and validate simulations, such as flows over a car body, cooling fan and airplane body.

While commercial software is becoming easier to use for non-experts, simulation is still complex and requires a deep understanding of mathematical models and physical principles. The new courses aim to bridge the gap between theory and real-world simulation applications, and offer a self-paced format that allows participants flexibility in going through the course content.

Ansys develops, markets and supports engineering simulation software used to predict how product designs will behave in real-world environments and has a long history with Cornell. John Swanson ’61, M.Eng. ’63, founder of Ansys, is a long-time supporter of the university. He endowed the Swanson Director of Engineering Simulation position in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering—which is held by Senior Lecturer Rajesh Bhaskaran.

“Rajesh has been very effective in using online learning to provide practical simulation education to a broad audience within and outside Cornell,” said Swanson, who is the recipient of the 2021 Cornell Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award. “I am happy to see his impact expand further through the eCornell simulation courses.”

Simulation is increasingly being used in the workplace to solve complex engineering problems and is becoming an important aspect of an engineer’s skillset. Bhaskaran has helped introduce industry-standard simulation tools into Cornell courses covering fluid mechanics, heat transfer, solid mechanics, and numerical analysis. This has shown students how theoretical concepts can be used to solve practical problems involving complex geometries while also helping them secure jobs and internships.

“We are increasingly leveraging the power of engineering modeling and simulation, seamlessly, in the development, delivery and support of our products and services,” says Dan Newman ’83, chief engineer of advanced vertical lift at Boeing. “We rely on our knowledgeable and motivated workforce of well-rounded system-level thinkers to maximize the capability of engineering simulation to ensure and enhance quality, safety and affordability for all stakeholders throughout the product life cycle.

The new eCornell simulation certificate builds on Cornell’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), A Hands-on Introduction to Engineering Simulations, which recently surpassed 200,000 enrollments. The course is one of the most popular free MOOC’s offered by Cornell and was developed by Bhaskaran pre-COVID-19, when online learning wasn’t as common as it has become today. He saw online learning as a good platform to learn a tech-centered skill and wanted to reach a wide audience.

“Simulation is a disruptive technology that can be used to transform engineering curriculum at the university level,” said Bhaskaran. “As simulation becomes a standard feature of curriculum for teaching physics and applications, nearly every engineering graduate should be able to use simulation software effectively. Together with Ansys, we look forward to preparing engineers with the simulation skillset they need.”

Center for Virtual Care expands digital health training

Digital health and the tools for patients to virtually reach their health care providers have quickly become a mainstay of medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Weill Cornell Medicine’s Center for Virtual Care is positioned at the leading edge of this health care delivery transformation. Leveraging their years of experience with video visits, the center’s experts train providers how to best use it to give their patients comprehensive, compassionate care.

Since its formal launch in early 2020, the center has hosted 30 sessions with more than 500 health care providers across the continuum – physicians, residents, medical students, physician assistants and physician assistant students, nurses, care managers and other practitioners – teaching them “web-side” manner, how to examine patients and make treatment-related decisions remotely, and other fundamentals through live courses and simulations. Trainings began in person, but quickly transitioned to remote learning in March 2020 with the emergence of COVID-19. The center’s latest offering is a two-week online course, developed in collaboration with eCornell, that provides strategies practitioners can use when meeting remotely with their patients.

“Our physicians have been delivering digital health care since 2016 and have seen firsthand the power of the virtual doctor’s office in reaching our patients, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Rahul Sharma, chairman of Weill Cornell Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine, which operates the center. “The Center for Virtual Care strives to train our health care colleagues on digital health best practices and drive national dialogue about the value of this new clinical medium in delivering the finest patient care.”

The new eCornell course, which features a curriculum in-line with the Association of American Medical College’s Telehealth Competencies, offers instruction on how to harness the digital health medium to effectively create a therapeutic patient-provider encounter. Students learn essentials including verbal and nonverbal communication strategies to convey empathy and compassion, how to overcome technical challenges, and how to conduct remote patient exams.

“As physicians, providing high-quality care is the bedrock of our work, regardless of whether that care happens in-person or on a screen,” said Dr. Peter Greenwald, director of telemedicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine and an assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. “The work we are doing at the Center for Virtual Care is helping establish a new patient provider space that, like the office exam room, has its own set of rules, practices and tools of the trade. The material we teach at the center allows practitioners to become proficient in this new space in order to make their digital health care a practice of excellence.”

The digital medium offers patients the opportunity to connect with providers at a time and place that’s convenient for them. But telemedicine practice can create new communication barriers and may even expose providers and institutions to risk. The Center for Virtual Care tackles these issues to ensure that digital health offers its very best therapeutic benefits at the lowest medical-legal risk.

“The center’s goal is to empower physicians and provide them with the tools they need to become proficient in the digital space,” said Dr. Neel Naik, the director of simulation education for the Department of Emergency Medicine and an assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. “The pandemic has accelerated a shift toward virtual patient encounters and has underscored just how important these skills are in fostering a positive health care experience.”

Megan Burke is chief marketing officer for eCornell and Alyssa Sunkin-Strube is newsroom manager for Weill Cornell Medicine.

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 news.cornell.edu/PaulKrauseQA.

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.

Women’s entrepreneurship institute set for major expansion

Two years ago, the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell launched their certificate program delivered through eCornell. Demand for the program was so strong that the original goal of providing free online education to 5,000 entrepreneurs quickly increased to 20,000 – thanks to a follow-on grant from Bank of America – and seats in the program were filled as soon as they were added.

On Nov. 19 – Women’s Entrepreneurship Day – the bank announced an additional grant that will allow another major expansion, more than doubling total enrollment. The institute in the coming months will add another 30,000 seats – for a total of 50,000 – while continuing to emphasize diversity, including the development of a Spanish-language component.

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

Bank of America will partner with nonprofits – including the National Urban League, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders and Prospera – to increase opportunities for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. Those partners will offer their members access to the certificate program beginning in January 2021.

Already, more than 80% of the institute’s roughly 22,000 enrolled students identify as women of color. Registration is open to anyone worldwide, regardless of gender identity, educational background or business stage.

Students take a series of two-week online courses designed by Cornell faculty to help women develop and grow businesses, access resources and join a network of fellow entrepreneurs.

Instructors support students and moderate discussions in the six classes:

  • 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.

“A human instructor is present in each course, so the students are receiving feedback on their course projects and in their discussion forums, as well as engaging and networking with each other,” said Kirsten Barker ’92, program director for the institute.

Upon completing all six courses, students earn a certificate in women’s entrepreneurship – the only one of its kind offered by an Ivy League university. To date, students have completed nearly 21,000 courses and earned nearly 2,400 certificates.

Citing a study by the consulting firm McKinsey and Company, Bank of America noted that the coronavirus pandemic has more adversely impacted the careers of women, who accounted for 46% of U.S. employment before the pandemic but 54% of job losses this year.

At the same time, the institute’s leaders say, women, and specifically women of color, represent the fastest-growing segment in entrepreneurship, but historically have lacked access to training, resources and networks.

“We’ve been amazed by our students’ resilience throughout COVID-19,” said Deborah Streeter, the institute’s faculty director and Professor Emerita in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, part of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.

Responding to an institute survey about their transitions to working from home, students reported dealing with caregiving challenges that have disproportionately fallen on women, as well as disrupted businesses, longer hours in essential jobs and fatigue. Some also said they had found opportunities to bond with family and friends, expand their businesses online and improve efficiency.

After completing the program, one student proudly posted an image of her certificate to her LinkedIn page and stated “COVID-19 season has had a silver lining. I feel equipped and empowered.”

Having launched as an online certificate program serving students from across the nation – and a small international contingent representing dozens of countries – program leaders say the institute is well-positioned to grow and support more students despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

“This expansion will allow us to improve the chances that these entrepreneurs will be successful,” said Stewart Schwab, the Jonathan and Ruby Zhu Professor of Law at Cornell Law School and executive director of the institute. “That’s our goal, to give our students the tools for success.”

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 about.bankofamerica.com, 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.

www.bankofamerica.com

Contacts
Eliza Murphy, Bank of America
Phone: 1.347.603.6845
eliza.murphy@bofa.com

eCornell gives high school students an analytic edge

A collaboration between eCornell and the nonprofit National Education Equity Lab is giving high school students in underserved communities the opportunity to develop skills in business analytics while also gaining the confidence to recognize they can excel in college, even in the Ivy League.

The partnership has resulted in eCornell’s first certificate course aimed at high school students. Pre-college Analytics and Spreadsheet Modeling is a four-week pilot course that launched June 24 with a class of 132 students, who are learning how to organize and analyze data in Excel and use that information as a decision-making tool.

This course follows a “buy one, give one” model, whereby 60 students recruited by eCornell each pay $150 to enroll, which helps offset the costs of 72 students selected from Equity Lab’s network of partnering underserved high schools across the country. All of these schools receive Title 1 federal funding because of their high concentrations of poverty and families in need.

“Highly talented, motivated students in our lowest income communities – who tend to be largely students of color and first-generation students – are often unable to demonstrate that they’ve got what it takes to be a successful college student,” said Leslie Cornfeld, founder and CEO of Equity Lab. “Research shows that current college admissions metrics can mask talent, particularly for low-income students. Education, we know, is the number one lever for social and economic mobility, and the future success of our country.”

Equity Lab works to advance educational and life opportunities for highly talented, low-income students and students of color by collaborating with philanthropic, nonprofit and academic institutions such as the Common Application, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and Harvard University. Equity Lab and eCornell were brought together by Steven Carvell, vice provost for external education strategy, at a crucial time. COVID-19 has created an enormous surge in the need for innovative online education models, especially in communities that the Equity Lab targets, which have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

“These are the families that are on the front lines in our country right now. They are not only the essential workers. They are suffering the highest levels of unemployment, food and housing insecurity, and illness,” Cornfeld said. “And in the midst of this crisis, these students leaped at the opportunity to take this course.”

While some teenagers might blanch at the idea of spending a month of their summer vacation learning about spreadsheets, most of the slots Cornell made available to the Equity Lab students were filled within 24 hours of posting.

“These students don’t get opportunities like this very often, and they are determined to take full advantage of it,” said Cornfeld, a former federal civil rights prosecutor who served as an adviser on education equity issues for former President Barack Obama’s administration.

Knowledge of data analytics is essential for anyone hoping to join the 21st-century workforce, and it’s also a practical tool for managing personal finances, according to Donna Haeger, professor of practice in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, who created and teaches the course.

“I always tell students that understanding how to make decisions with data is becoming just as important as reading and math,” said Haeger. “Businesses are really challenged right now to find qualified individuals who know how to model and make decisions using data. It doesn’t matter what industry you choose to enter. Data is everywhere.”

Haeger previously created a professional development certificate course in business analytics for eCornell. She modified those materials for a high school audience by simplifying the terminology and using age-appropriate examples. Rather than investing in a diversified portfolio, students solve problems like organizing a bake sale or buying clothing for a sports team. Haeger worked with eCornell to develop explanatory videos that are incorporated into the modules. And she added a weekly hourlong synchronous group session, so students can ask her questions directly and feel more connected.

“This course is a great equalizer. Everybody is able to jump in and try it for the first time. And it’s low risk for them,” Haeger said. “I think people are really intimidated by terms like ‘big data’ and ‘business analytics.’ I try to demystify all of that and make sure the students have a really positive experience. They realize, ‘Wow, I can do this.’”

The Equity Lab team has also been meeting with the students in weekly sessions to track their progress. Their feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, Cornfeld said. While the material is difficult, it has given them a chance to prove to themselves, and to higher education institutions, that they are able to meet the challenge.

For Donovan Blount, a rising senior at Rockaway Collegiate High School in Queens, New York, the certificate course is potentially life-changing.

“Opportunities like this are important for students like me because most students who grow up in low to average income neighborhoods cannot afford prestigious classes,” he said. “So a free, informative class like this can open up doors of opportunity that we did not know were even possible.”

Certificate program examines winemaking in the U.S.

Interested in enhancing your knowledge of wines produced in the United States?

Cornell’s new Wines certificate program, guided by Cheryl Stanley, lecturer at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, takes an in-depth look at the wines produced in the U.S.’s four major wine-producing states: California, Washington, Oregon and New York.

Ideal for current and aspiring hospitality professionals, wine distributors, retailers and wine enthusiasts, this online program offers participants the opportunity to develop a more nuanced knowledge of and appreciation for wine by exploring the winemaking process from grape to glass. Participants will learn how to interpret wine labels and navigate wine selection.

They will also connect grape varietals with the influences of geography effects and production factors to anticipate expected flavors and aromas.

“There is so much to be learned about wine,” Stanley said. “This program will build a foundation for professionals and enthusiasts alike to expand their knowledge of regions and varietals to ultimately prepare them to make better selections and pairings.”

This program consists of three three-week courses:

Wine Essentials;
Grape Varietals of California, New York and the Pacific Northwest; and
Experiencing Wines of California, New York and the Pacific Northwest.
Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate from Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and 60 professional development hours. Visit the eCornell website to learn more about this program.

Bailey Karfelt

Cornell launches online entrepreneurship program

To bring a startup business to market, an entrepreneur needs to assess the viability of their concept, develop a strategic framework and navigate the due diligence required to finance it.

On Nov. 19, National Entrepreneurs Day, Cornell launched a new Entrepreneurship certificate program, designed to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to take a new idea from theory to realization.

“Ideas are easy to come by, but the real challenge comes in getting them off the ground,” said Tom Schryver, program author, visiting lecturer in the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, and executive director of the Center for Regional Economic Advancement. “This program will help students understand how startups raise capital to execute on their plans, both from the perspective of an entrepreneur seeking to raise money as well as from the point of view of an investor looking to make an investment in a startup.”

The program will enable participants to structure a business model to protect their interests, assign fair valuation to an opportunity and secure funding. Participants will also explore many types of funders, from equity and angel investors to venture capitalists, crowdfunders and grant programs. Courses in this program include:

  • Assessing Startup Viability and Funding Options
  • Pitching Your Business Opportunity
  • Protecting Your Interests
  • Financial Planning, Valuation and Dilution
  • Company Structure and Due Diligence
  • Post-Investment Best Practices

After completing the six courses, participants will receive an Entrepreneurship certificate and 60 professional development hours. Visit the eCornell website to learn more about this program.

Bailey Karfelt

Certificate course helps develop front-end web design skills

For organizations large and small, having a great website is no longer a novelty – it’s a requirement. And building a website with a standout design and user-friendly digital experience has become increasingly critical to success.

In response to this need, the Faculty of Computing and Information Science and eCornell have developed an online certificate program, Web Design and Development. This front-end web development certificate focuses on designing and building websites that focus on the need of users, striking the optimal balance between form and function.

“Too often, we encounter websites developed to achieve a specific purpose, but without the end user in mind,” said Kyle Harms, program faculty author and lecturer in information science. “The goal of this program is to meet the needs of the end user with a web experience that is attractive, functional and accessible.”

This certificate program establishes a framework for success in front-end web development, and is designed to adapt to the ever-evolving digital world. Its courses are tailored toward aspiring programmers and web designers, but ideal for any self-taught individuals or entrepreneurs looking to design static websites.

Courses in this program include: Framing Front-End Web Development; Structuring Content with HTML; Styling Web Content with CSS; Composition and Responsive Design; Improving User Experience with Interactivity; Collecting Data with Forms.

After completing the six courses, students will earn an executive web design and development certificate. Visit the eCornell website to learn more about this program.

Bailey Karfelt