Faculty-Elected Trustee Candidate Profiles - Spring 2020

Faculty-Elected Trustee 

  • 1 seat; 4-year term

Abby Cohn, Professor; Director of the Southeast Asia Program

Spring 2020 Faculty-Elected Trustee candidate Abby Cohn

Abby Cohn is Professor of Linguistics (Arts and Sciences) and Director of the Southeast Asia Program at Cornell University. She was an English major at Cornell and then completed a masters in Linguistics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a PhD in Linguistics at UCLA before returning to Cornell to join the faculty. Her research interests include the study of the Austronesian languages of Indonesia, with a particular focus on their phonetics, phonology, and morphology.  Recently she has focused on the sociolinguistic situation in Indonesia as more and more young people switch from using a local language as their first language to using Indonesian, the national language.  In 2012-13, she was a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar, at Atma Jaya Catholic University in Jakarta Indonesia, focusing on issues of language choice, language shift, and language endangerment. She is co-editor-in-chief of a new online only journal Linguistics Vanguard, published by de Gruyter Mouton.  She really enjoys teaching and advising both undergraduate and graduate students and has been involved in efforts to strengthen academic advising in Arts and Sciences.  She has served as Linguistics department chair and as Director of Undergraduate Studies. She served two terms on the faculty senate and has served on a wide range of college and university level committees, currently serving on the University Faculty Library Board.
Candidate Statement:
As a faculty member in Linguistics (A&S) and the Southeast Asia program (Einaudi Center for International Studies) for over 30 years, I have been engaged in many facets of teaching, advising, research, and service at Cornell.  As a former department chair and current director of the Southeast Asia program, I understand the complexity of the faculty and administration working together to support Cornell’s dynamic learning community and to achieve our shared educational and scholarly goals.  As a member of the CU Library Advisory Council (which I serve on both as an alumna and faculty member), I have learned more about the Board of Trustees and the role the Board and alumni play in our rich, dynamic, and complex community.  I believe that as a faculty-elected trustee, I could foster deeper understanding between the faculty and Board of Trustees, working toward our shared goals of continuing our longstanding traditions of teaching and scholarship, while innovating to meet the challenges we face.  These include making education accessible to a diverse community of students, supporting faculty as they engage with traditional and innovative modes of teaching and scholarship, engaging globally, and educating the public about the value of the work we do.  I would be honored to represent the faculty in the important work of the Board of Trustees.

Christopher Ober, Francis Bard Professor of Materials Engineering

Spring 2020 Faculty-Elected Trustee candidate Christopher Ober

I am the Francis Bard Professor of Materials Engineering at Cornell University.  My research focuses on polymer materials.  I came to Cornell from Ontario, Canada, where I grew up and where I worked in industry at the Xerox Research Centre.  Beginning at Cornell as an assistant professor more than 30 years ago, I have served as department chair, and, during the financial crisis of 2009, as interim Dean of Engineering.  I am now Director of the Cornell Nanoscale Facility, one of the university's uniquely capable centers for research infrastructure.  Outside Cornell, I am a member of the Executive Committee of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). IUPAC, the “United Nations of Chemistry,” is the organization that, among other responsibilities, names the elements. I am a fellow of the American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. I have been the recipient of various research awards for my work with the microelectronics industry.
Candidate Statement:
Cornell University is a wonderfully unique institution. In my various roles and field memberships at Cornell I have come to marvel at and greatly appreciate the complexity, diversity, and buoyant multiculturalism evident in its many colleges and departments here in Ithaca, in New York City, and in its other sites across the state. The next few years are going to be exciting, even tumultuous, as we at the University collectively consider the future national and international roles of the university in society, how best to teach the next generation of students, how to fulfill the enormous potential of our new Cornell Tech campus, and deal with the societal and financial challenges and constraints that face every institution of higher learning. The Board of Trustees plays an essential role in setting a collective direction for Cornell, while reflecting its culture and spirit and thoughtfully dealing with both expected and unforeseen institutional hurdles as they arise. I would be honored to contribute to this effort as the University deals with these all-important issues.

Tracy Stokol, Professor

Spring 2020 Faculty-Elected Trustee candidate Tracy Stokol

I am a veterinarian and clinical pathologist in the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). I obtained my veterinary degree and PhD from the University of Melbourne in Australia, before joining Cornell University, where I have spent most of my professional career (20+ years). In my current position, I run a research laboratory with a focus on the intersection between hemostasis and cancer or thrombotic disorders in humans and animals. I also perform professional diagnostic service as a clinical pathologist, interpreting changes in blood and tissue samples from animals for the CVM and veterinarians throughout the USA, who submit such samples to the Animal Health Diagnostic Center. My main teaching responsibility is in the veterinary curriculum, where I teach clinical pathology to professional students and advanced trainees. I believe in the power of education and that education should not only be available to those that can afford it. For this reason, I established a website on veterinary clinical pathology, eClinPath.com, to make knowledge in clinical pathology accessible to all. Within the CVM, I have served on several committees, including being a member and chair of the General Committee and Committee for the Status of Faculty Women. At the University level, I am currently serving two consecutive terms on the Committee for Academic Freedom and Professional Status of the Faculty and as faculty senator for my department. I am also on the University Appeals committee. I have received two nominated awards for faculty service, including a 2013 Constance E and Alice H Cook Award for contributions to improving the climate for women at Cornell University and the 2015 State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. In 2018, I received the Educator of the Year Award from my professional association, the American Society of Veterinary Clinical Pathology.
Candidate Statement:
I am standing for Faculty Trustee because I strongly believe in academic freedom and faculty governance. I believe in and am dedicated to this institution and would like to contribute to its future through participation on the Board of Trustees. I would be a strong advocate and conduit for the concerns of the faculty. If elected, I would be the first Faculty Trustee from the College of Veterinary Medicine and believe that I would bring a valuable perspective of the land grant and professional colleges to the Board of Trustees.