University Faculty Committee Candidate Profiles-Spring 2020

University Faculty Committee (UFC)


Alan Mathios, Professor

Spring 2020 University Faculty Committee candidate Alan Mathios

Alan Mathios is a Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University and served as Dean of Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology from 2008-2018.  He currently serves as a Commissioner for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.  From 2004-2006 he served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Undergraduate Education for the College of Human Ecology and then served as Interim Dean of the College in 2007.  Prior to that he served as Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Policy Analysis and Management.  He is co-editor of the Journal of Consumer Policy and on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Consumer Affairs and the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing.  His research has focused on the impact of government regulation of advertising and labeling on consumer health outcomes.  This includes the regulation of health claims for food products, the regulation of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising, the regulation of warning labels on cigarette packaging, and most recently the regulation of vaping and e-cigarette promotions.  His research has received millions of dollars of sponsored support and has been funded by a variety of sources including the National Cancer Institute, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Merck Foundation Co.   He has successfully taught courses at the undergraduate and graduate level and has been the recipient of a number of teaching and advising awards including the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Cornell University Kendall S. Carpenter Advising Award.  His service to Cornell includes co-chairing the steering committee that oversaw the re-accreditation of Cornell in 2011, co-chairing (with the President) the search committee for the selection of the provost, and serving on a wide number of committees focused on, among other things, financial aid, administrative cost savings, student mental health and well-being, and the construction of the new Cornell Health Center. He came to Cornell in 1992 following six years of employment at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where he served as a staff economist and was recognized with the Outstanding Scholarship Award, the Excellence in Economics Award, and the Award for Superior Service to the FTC.
Candidate statement:
Institutions, corporations, or organizations that have thrived for over 150 years are far and few between.  I believe that the long standing success of institutions like Cornell is linked to the relatively unique shared governance model that has been established in the higher education sector. Consequently, I see shared governance as a crucial element in shaping how Cornell can maintain its excellence and continue to successfully evolve.   I would bring significant experience to the University Faculty Committee: as an educator, as a researcher, as a former Dean of the College of Human Ecology, as a faculty member that has served on a large number of committees spanning a wide variety of topics, and as a Commissioner for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).  I am especially enthusiastic about using what I have learned from serving as a Commissioner for MSCHE to help guide Cornell.   The Commission oversees the accreditation of over 500 colleges and universities ranging from community colleges to the major research universities such as Cornell, New York University, Columbia, and Princeton.  One of the key factors that the MSCHE evaluates for granting accreditation is the quality and robustness of the governance process.   Few faculty have had the opportunity to be exposed to such a broad scope of experiences relating to governance and I look forward to bringing this perspective to the University Faculty Committee.


Rosemary Avery, Professor

Spring 2020 University Faculty Committee candidate Rosemary Avery
Rosemary J. Avery is a Professor in Department of Policy Analysis and Management and House Professor and Dean, Flora Rose House on West Campus. Her research, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) focuses on the impact of health warning labels on tobacco and e-cigarette product packaging and in commercial advertisements on perceptions of the risk of using the products, and intentions to quit. Her research funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) focuses on the impact of prescription drug (Rx) advertising in prime-time television and in print media for chronic health conditions among the elderly (heart disease, osteoarthritis) and non-elderly (diabetes and depression) on drug adherence, health behaviors, and use of over-the-counter (OTC) substitute products.
In addition to an active research agenda, Professor Avery served on the Cornell University Board of Trustees as a faculty-elected trustee during the 2008-2012 financial crisis. Furthermore, she is an award-winning teacher: a Weiss Presidential Fellow, a Carpenter Award winner, a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Panhellenic Council Outstanding Faculty Member Award, and she has been recognized seventeen times as a recipient of the Merrill Scholarship Teacher Recognition Award.  Her university leadership experience includes: Faculty Senate, FACTA Committee, Educational Policy Committee, University Appeals Panel, West Campus Research Committee, Faculty Advisory Committee on Athletics and Physical Education (FACTA), University Library Board, and the Fraternity and Sorority Advisory Council. In addition, she served on the Executive Committee planning Cornell’s sesquicentennial celebrations in 2015. She was appointed Dean and House Professor of Flora Rose House as part of the West Campus House System in August 2018
Candidate Statement:
If elected, I will strive to continue to be an effective voice for the Faculty Senate to the administration as they navigate priorities related to the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Having served on the Cornell University Board of Trustee during the last financial crisis in 2008-2012, I will strive to protect and uphold the concerns of our faculty, staff, and students as decisions are made about cost cuts and priority initiatives during the COVID-19 recovery. Furthermore, I will strive to be an active voice for the faculty during the implementation of the Social Sciences initiatives announced this spring. I will strive to bring before the administration issues that impact excellence of the research and educational components of our mission.

Courtney Roby, Associate Professor

Spring 2020 University Faculty Committee candidate Courtney Roby

Courtney Roby is Associate Professor and Stephen H. Weiss fellow in the Department of Classics. She obtained her Ph.D. from Stanford in 2011, and arrived at Cornell that fall. Her research focuses on science and technology in Greco-Roman antiquity, bringing work in contemporary philosophy of science and cognitive science to bear on her study of the ancient world. As a teacher, she works to bridge the gaps between the sciences and humanities, using hands-on activities to teach topics like ancient pharmacology, astronomy, and mathematics. She is Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Classics and the department’s faculty senator, as well as serving on the Humanities Council and the Academic Integrity Hearing Board.
Candidate Statement:
I have served as my department’s faculty senator for the past year, and in that time I have already learned a lot about the challenges of balancing the diverse interests that make shared governance possible. As a senator, I have been a co-sponsor both of Richard Bensel’s resolution to require more transparency from the central administration in retroactive grade changes, and Caroline Levine’s resolution to request that the Board of Trustees divest Cornell’s endowment of fossil fuel investments. I have a strong passion for undergraduate education, and I also serve as a Faculty Fellow at Risley Residential College, following a stint as a Faculty Fellow at Donlon College. My research and teaching bridge the humanities and sciences (my first career was as an electrical engineer), and I have collaborated in research and teaching with faculty and staff in CALS, the Botanic Gardens (where I am also a Faculty Fellow), and other groups at Cornell. I would welcome the chance to bring the same perspective of interdisciplinary collaboration to the UFC.

Michael Thonney, Professor

Spring 2020 University Faculty Committee candidate Michael Thonney

Mike Thonney grew up on his great-grandfather’s homestead between Pullman, WA and Moscow, ID. After graduating from Washington State University in 1971, he earned MS (1973) and PhD (1975) degrees in nutrition at the University of Minnesota before joining the faculty at Cornell. His research has included the effect of potential mature size on growth and body composition of sheep and cattle, biological control of long-bone growth, genes that affect differential muscle growth, genetics of seasonality of sheep reproduction, vaccination against diseases in sheep, and dietary effects of potentially-fermentable fiber in growing lambs and lactating ewes. A recent addition focuses on management of sheep to control vegetation on solar farms. He teaches ANSC 3500 (Meat) with Jessica Waltemyer in fall semesters. His spring semester courses alternate between ANSC 3800 (Sheep) and ANSC 3600 (Beef Cattle). He has been involved in both beef cattle and sheep extension and directed the Cornell Sheep Program since 1998. He currently advises 22 undergraduates and two graduate students and is the advisor for two undergraduate organizations.
Mike represented the Department of Animal Science as an alternate university faculty senator from 2012 through 2017 and senator since 2018. Previous faculty governance service included membership on the CALS policy committee from 1995 through 1998 (chair in 1996-1997), which created the CALS Faculty Senate on which he was a member from 1997 through 2000 and secretary in 1997-1998. Other university committees on which he has served include the Academic Users Screening Group for Director of Cornell Computer Services (1980), the Decentralized Academic Computer Support Ad¬visory Committee (1980), the Animal Welfare Committee (1986-1991 during which he de¬signed an electronic replacement for the paper University Animal Use Protocol form, Chairman, 1990 to 1991), the Research Policies Committee (1986-1987), the University Hearing Board (1999-2004), the Faculty Advisory Board for Information Technologies (FABIT, 2007-2010), and the University Appeals Panel on Tenure (2011-2016). Since 2013 he has been the Director of Graduate Studies for the Field of Animal Science with a current faculty of 32 members and a graduate student population of 48 students.
Candidate Statement:
I am honored to have been nominated to serve on the University Faculty Committee. Faculty are the core of the university, and individual faculty programs drive its mission. This reality is too often diluted by our relatively large and complicated university bureaucracy. With the comparatively recent advent of the need to respond to a continuous stream of email messages and to create and update social media presences and course sites, the work that faculty are expected to do has increased exponentially compared with 40 years ago. Faculty time needs to be protected from the bureaucracy so that we actually have time for scholarship.
I’m passionate about effective and efficient faculty governance. The University Faculty Committee provides a vital bridge between the faculty and the administration. As the executive committee of the University Faculty Senate, the committee has a major role in making university policy. As member, I would be committed to:
  • Ensuring that decisions of the faculty are incorporated into university policy
  • Improving efficiency of Senate meetings by encouraging the effective use of parliamentary procedures
  • Encouraging policies that protect faculty time
If elected to the committee, I will represent all faculty to the best of my ability.

Charles Walcott, Professor Emeritus 

Spring 2020 University Faculty Committee candidate Charles Walcott

Charles Walcott is Professor Emeritus of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University.  Dr. Walcott received his AB from Harvard and his PhD from Cornell. He served on the faculties of Harvard, Tufts and The State University of New York at Stony Brook before coming to Cornell as Director of the Laboratory of Ornithology in 1981. He retired as the Louis Aggasiz Fuertes Director in June of 1995 to return to teaching and research. He taught  the Introductory Biology Course for majors for five years and served 8 years as Associate and then Dean of the University Faculty. He now serves as University Ombudsman.
In addition to research on the hearing of spiders, the navigational ability of homing pigeons, magnetoreception in bees and vocal communication in Loons, Dr. Walcott has taught undergraduate courses in animal behavior, human physiology and evolution. He has also participated in projects designed to interest the public in science. These have included a television series for in-school  use, Exploring Nature,  The Elementary Science Curriculum Study, NOVA and 3-2-1 Contact. In retirement he is making short videos of faculty research to post on CornellCast, still teaching, advising students, and participating in departmental and university affairs.
Candidate Statement:
I am a strong believer in shared governance, and I’ve been involved in it in many different capacities over my 39 years at Cornell. I am currently a member of the University Faculty Senate and been speaker in past years. I’ve chaired the University Assembly and the University Hearing Board and am currently a member of the Financial Policy Committee and the ROTC committee. As the University Ombudsman I try to help faculty, students and staff with a wide variety of issues and that experience would help me bring general issues to the University Faculty Committee.