Faculty Trustee

Charles Brittain, Professor, Classics and Philosophy (College of Arts and Sciences)


Charles Brittain is a professor of Classics and Philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the current holder of the Susan Linn Sage Chair of Philosophy and Humane Letters. Brittain works in the field of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, with a focus on the study of Hellenistic epistemology, ancient Platonism, and philosophy in Latin from Cicero to Augustine. He came to Cornell in 1996 as an assistant professor. He is a recipient of the Carpenter Advising Award, the Apell Teaching Fellowship, the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship, and the Alice & Constance Cook Award for commitment to empowering women. 
   Brittain served as Chair of the Classics Department from 2007 to 2014. During this period the department’s mission to diversify kicked off with a radical correction of its gender balance, the appointment of a Diversity Postdoctoral fellow, and a broadening of the department and field to include colleagues from related fields such as Near Eastern Studies. He has also served CAS as an elected member to the council for the Society of Humanities in 2000-03 and 2014-16; and as a member of the Dean’s committee on appointments in 2012-15, which drew up a set of recommendations aimed at making the college’s tenure requirements more transparent and so fairer to junior faculty. 
   Brittain has been a longstanding member of college and university committees that serve undergraduates, including the Academic Records Committee, for CAS, and the Rhodes-Marshall committee and the HCEC, for the university; he has also been a constant advocate for the University Library, including stints on the Humanities Research committee and the University Library Board. He has served as a faculty senator and alternate senator and as a member of a faculty senate investigative committee in 2016 that called for a new framework for community oversight of the Cornell Police.

Candidate Statement:

Cornell is a great research and teaching university with a unique mission as both a land-grant and an Ivy-League university. As such it always faces a range of challenges that have the potential to impact its research and teaching missions, including worldwide disasters, such as the COVID pandemic, as well as national changes, such as Black Lives Matter. We are fortunate in the immediate responses of the university leadership in those cases: setting up a successful health regimen and restructuring the Cornell Police. 
   However, the university also faces many local challenges to which its response is more completely under its own control, especially in the cases of managing our resources and increasing our income. In these cases, I think, we have been less fortunate in the autonomous responses of our leadership: the administrativization of Cornell, collaborations with autocratic regimes, and the failure to support core constituents of our intellectual missions, such as the University Library. 
   One reason for these failures, I believe, is that the major stakeholders in the university as a center of teaching and learning, the people who really know how to realize its missions — the faculty — have not always been properly consulted and heard by the university leadership. 
   If elected as a faculty trustee, I would work to promote sustained and direct communication between faculty and trustees on the effects of past and future decisions on teaching and research in order to ensure that our input on these issues is taken into full account. 

Websites of Interest:



Laurent Saloff-Coste, Professor, Mathematics (College of Arts and Sciences)


Laurent Saloff-Coste is the Abram R. Bullis Professor of Mathematics and a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences. He received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship (2006-2007), a Simons fellowship (2022-2023), and is a fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, the American Mathematical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Saloff-Coste was educated in Paris, France, where he earned a Ph.D. (1983) and a Thèse d’État (1989). Before joining the Cornell Faculty in 1997, he taught high school mathematics as a French civil servant for 4 years, spent a year as a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served as Directeur de Recherche at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Toulouse. His research interests include Analysis, Partial Differential Equations, Probability Theory and Geometry, and he pursues collaborations with mathematicians around the world. His research is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation. Saloff-Coste is a member of the Center for Applied Mathematics (CAM) and of the graduate fields of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. He has supervised 22 Ph.D. theses. He enjoys interacting with students and colleagues and teaching mathematics from entry-level service courses to graduate seminars. He served on the Academic Integrity Hearing Board and the Diversity and Equity Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences, on the University Senate, on the advisory board of the Faculty Development and Diversity, and as the Chair of the Department of Mathematics 2009-2015 (two terms).

Candidate Statement:

I am honored to stand for election as a faculty trustee. My experience as Chair of a large department serving the entire university has taught me a great deal about some of the key challenges we face: to offer a rich and exciting experience to our students, to attract and retain outstanding faculty, to balance our core missions of education and research, and to foster a diverse, open, and supportive community. Long-term solutions must be based on an understanding of the aspirations of students, staff, and faculty; an awareness of the strengths and specificities of Cornell as an institution; recognition that different fields have different needs and priorities; and a strong collective sense of purpose in support of Cornell’s mission. The Board of Trustees plays a key role in sustaining, over the long term, Cornell’s ambitious mission to offer and support education, scholarship, research, discovery, innovation, engagement, and service in so many different fields of study. I would be delighted to have the opportunity to serve and participate in such an important effort. If elected, I will work hard to represent the Cornell faculty and share with the Board my international experience, my perspective as a member of the faculty (and a Cornell parent), and my enthusiasm for Cornell’s extraordinary academic diversity and wide-ranging mission.

David Lee, Professor, Applied Economics and Management (College of Business); Department of Global Development (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)


David R. Lee is Professor in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, and International Professor in the Department of Global Development in CALS. He joined the faculty in 1982, after receiving his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prof. Lee has conducted research and published extensively on topics at the intersection of economic development and natural resource management, including sustainable agriculture, technology adoption, rural economic development, climate adaptation, and participatory development. He teaches a popular undergraduate course on “International Trade and Finance” that over the past two decades has enrolled more than 5,000 students from all of Cornell’s undergraduate colleges.

Prof. Lee served as Provost’s Fellow in the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs in 2015-2018, where his work focused on promoting global education initiatives among Cornell’s undergraduates. Other administrative responsibilities at Cornell have included serving as Director of the International Relations Minor in the Einaudi Center for International Studies, Director of Graduate Studies in the Dyson School, and Co-Director of the Latin America Program of the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development. He has conducted or advised research and served as technical advisor in more than 30 countries in Latin America, East Africa, the Middle East and Central Europe, including mentoring the research of more than 100 Masters and PhD students. He has served as visiting professor at universities in the Netherlands, Italy, Slovakia, and Venezuela, and has been a technical advisor to numerous governments and international organizations, including the World Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations Development Programme, and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.  

He has also served on many committees and task forces at the department, college (both College of Business and CALS) and university levels. These include election as an at-large member of the University Faculty Committee (2019-current), service as Dyson School Faculty Senator (current), on the University Hearing Board (current), as CALS Faculty Senator, Cornell representative to the SUNY Faculty Senate, Co-Chair of the Global on Campus Committee, on FACTA, the Plant Sciences Task Force, Language Education Council, and as ex officio member of the International Council and Provost’s Working Group on Public and Global Affairs. Most recently (2021 and 2022), he served on the Provost’s committee to study the feasibility of a Part-time Bachelor’s Degree for Non-traditional Students, and on the Area Composition and Governance Review Committee (College of Business). 

Off-campus, he has been an active community volunteer, including election to, and President of, the Board of Education of the Ithaca City School District,  and more than a decade on the Board of Directors of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI).

Candidate Statement:

I believe strongly in shared governance. The faculty are the heart of the university. It is essential that we have a strong and effective voice at the levels of decision-making – university administration and Board of Trustees – that influence the academic policies that affect us all. My belief in this core principle was shaped during my service on the Faculty Senate Committee to Review Faculty Governance in 2006-2007, whose report recommended a strengthened role of the faculty in university governance. We faculty must continue to work collaboratively and constructively with the administration and Trustees in promoting a better understanding of faculty concerns and interests.    

Faculty trustees must represent the breadth of interests of a large and diverse faculty. I am a faculty member in two colleges – one endowed (College of Business) and one land-grant (CALS). I’ve been engaged in interdisciplinary research my entire career, and recently spent four years working across the university as Provost’s Fellow in International Affairs. We faculty have many shared goals and convergent interests, including fostering the success of our students. The last two years have brought unprecedented challenges to the university, to us as faculty members, our students, staff and the community. As we emerge from the COVID crisis, the university will need to reassess its budget, programs and long-term priorities. I will serve as a proactive link between faculty and Trustees, promoting communication both ways. It is important that we make the most of our “seats at the table” on the Board of Trustees.  

Shirley Samuels, Professor, Literatures in English (College of Arts and Sciences)


I have taught at Cornell since 1986 as a professor in Literatures in English, while serving in several administrative roles in other departments and programs. These include service as a department chair, director of undergraduate studies, and program director, in addition to work as the Flora Rose House Professor on West Campus. I am now the Director of American Studies while continuing as a Professor of Literatures in English and an affiliated faculty member in FGSS and History of Art. My Ph.D. and my other degrees are from the University of California at Berkeley. My research areas include American literature and visual culture, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American fiction, feminist criticism, and American studies. So far I have written and edited seven books in these areas. For example, I edited the Cambridge Companion to Abraham Lincoln and am now writing a monograph, currently titled “Haunted by the Civil War,” that is under contract. I have been fortunate to receive fellowships from organizations such as the American Council of Learned Societies and the Huntington Library and have taught in other universities such as Brandeis and Princeton.

Candidate Statement:

I have taught at Cornell for more than three decades. During that time I have been privileged to have fantastic students and colleagues. I have also been encouraged to engage with several departments and programs, including American Studies (I am currently the director), FGSS, Literatures in English, and History of Art. Throughout my time at Cornell I have been committed to promoting the work of students who involve themselves in interdisciplinary approaches to the cultures of the United States. My experience with possible futures for the humanities includes engaging with the rural humanities initiative and the (Mellon funded) humanities corridor. Through these different projects I have enjoyed representing students and faculty who seek to keep Cornell connected with the world beyond Ithaca. 

If elected faculty trustee, I will be interested in furthering conversations about Cornell’s past and future. The university has made extraordinary efforts in the tumultuous years of the pandemic to keep students, staff, and faculty safe and to maintain focus on academic possibilities. Opening avenues for innovation while celebrating and extending past accomplishments will require balance, energy, and interconnection; I am eager to contribute in this new era of creativity.