The Dean's Letter

January 22, 2024

"Knowledge At Its Best"

Dear AAP community—

I would like to welcome our faculty, staff, and students back to AAP with the hope that the break was restful and restorative for all. As we begin a new semester and year, we do so renewed in our commitment to building community across our modes of knowledge and collective values. Tireless educator and author Angela Davis shared, "Knowledge at its best is about transforming our world." Davis' powerful observation reminds us of the importance of what we do in our classrooms, studios, and labs to the advancement and transformation of our disciplines and, indeed, our world and future.

This spring, the college welcomes leading voices who not only advance their specific fields but whose work underscores the fundamental interconnectivity between our disciplines and their impact on communities, culture, and society the world over. In March, prolific scholar, historian, designer, and Cornell A.D. White Professor-at-Large Mabel O. Wilson, who focuses on cultural and spatial histories of race and racism and their impact on built environments, will visit Cornell to deliver a university-wide keynote address, engage in student activities and classes, and meet with colleagues across multiple departments. The Cornell Mui Ho Center for Cities welcomes Joseph Kimani, Executive Director of Slum Dwellers International Kenya, as part of the center's Just and Equitable Cities Initiative to advance partnerships around research and teaching on informal settlements. In parallel, with a National Science Foundation planning grant, the Center for Cities and collaborating faculty are leading a multi-institutional team proposal for applied research and action to address urban climate risks in New York City.

Through critical and creative practices, research, and scholarship across the college, we continue to open lines of inquiry and lay the groundwork for new knowledge. For example, this semester's Preston Thomas Memorial Symposium in the Department of Architecture, "Labor Un:Imagined," organized by Assistant Professor María González Pendás, brings forward scholarship on the often understudied and underrepresented role of labor in architectural histories. In CRP, Senior Fellow Andrew Rumbach and Principal Research Associate Sara McTarnaghan of the Washington, DC-based think tank Urban Institute will present "A Planner's Guide to Designing Impact-Oriented Research on Disasters, Climate Change, and Community Resilience." The Department of Art welcomes artist Glenn Ligon, who has been widely recognized for his incisive artworks that explore ambiguity and challenge dominant cultural and historical narratives, for this year's John A. Cooper Lecture.

These are but a few of the many engagements we have to look forward to this semester. I encourage everyone to read more about the breadth of activity planned for the months ahead in AAP's highlights article, with more to come — more possibilities, and more opportunities to convene around the knowledge, imagination, creativity, care, and profound sense of humanity that continue to bring out the best in us and our community to transform our world and build better tomorrows, beginning today.


J. Meejin Yoon
Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of Architecture, Art, and Planning


Contact Office of the Dean

129 Sibley Dome
Phone: (607) 255-9110
Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Previous Letters from the Dean

"Knowledge At Its Best"

January 22, 2024

Sharing Gratitude

December 14, 2023

Hope for the Possible

August 21, 2023

Close overlay