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University and College Mission, Vision, and Values

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Cornell University's Mission and Values

"I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."
Ezra Cornell, 1868

Cornell is a learning community that seeks to serve society by educating the leaders of tomorrow and extending the frontiers of knowledge.

In keeping with the founding vision of Ezra Cornell, our community fosters personal discovery and growth, nurtures scholarship and creativity across a broad range of common knowledge, and engages men and women from every segment of society in this quest. We pursue understanding beyond the limitations of existing knowledge, ideology, and disciplinary structure. We affirm the value to individuals and society of cultivation and enrichment of the human mind and spirit.

Our faculty, students, alumni, and staff strive toward these objectives in a context of freedom with responsibility. We foster initiative, integrity, and excellence, in an environment of collegiality, civility, and responsible stewardship. As the land-grant university for the state of New York, we apply the results of our endeavors in service to our alumni, the community, the state, the nation, and the world.

College of Engineering Undergraduate Programs Mission

The College of Engineering is dedicated to the transformation of its excellence in research and design to a correspondingly outstanding educational experience in engineering and applied science for a diverse group of baccalaureate students.

Specific missions are to:

  • enroll and graduate a highly qualified and diverse undergraduate student body and enable their success.
  • continuously improve the quality of the undergraduate education by ongoing evaluation of the common curriculum, assessment of teaching and learning, and implementation of improvements to the program based on those results.
  • infuse the results of ongoing research, the capabilities of technology, the excitement of hands-on learning, and the experience of design projects into the undergraduate curricula.
  • provide high-quality information and guidance to undergraduate students about the college, about curricula, and about future employment possibilities.
  • oversee the educational progress of all students and encourage and enhance their success, both prior to affiliation with a Major and within the Major.
  • collaborate with the faculty and administration of other Cornell colleges and organizations external to Cornell to efficiently provide the best possible undergraduate education.


Cornell Engineering will utilize the world-class intellectual resources and interdisciplinary opportunities of the college and university to prepare its undergraduate students for lifelong creation of knowledge and solutions to complex real-world problems.


We believe that all students who enroll in the engineering college undergraduate program are capable of successfully graduating with a B.S. degree. We understand that young people in the typical undergraduate age range are maturing rapidly and therefore may change their professional and personal aspirations and may struggle with adjustments to campus life and academic expectations. It is our responsibility to maintain a curricular schedule that allows students to change directions and services to assist them in making informed decisions. We respect the variability of learning styles spanned by our students and faculty. We embrace the responsibilities of Cornell faculty members for preeminent research as well as for excellent undergraduate education. Furthermore, we highly value the need of everyone in our college community to balance workload and personal life. We prize an inclusive, respectful college environment in which community bonds and community responsibility exceed competitiveness.

Educational Objectives

College of Engineering graduates will demonstrate early in their careers an ability to:

  1. apply their general educational experience and specific knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering to a wide variety of careers including industry, advanced engineering study, nontraditional engineering-related career paths, and graduate study.
  2. perform in a modern diverse working environment in which they will work in multidisciplinary teams and communicate effectively with both professional colleagues and the public.
  3. lead design processes that include consideration of the impact designs have on people, societies, and nature.
  4. model, analyze, and solve complex problems from a systems perspective.
  5. recognize contemporary global issues and their professional and ethical responsibility to contribute to solutions for the social, economic, and environmental challenges faced by humanity.
  6. engage in self-directed learning, including the pursuit of graduate study and professional development activities.

Student Learning Outcomes

In terms of their general abilities, our graduates will

  1. Have a broad education, including liberal studies.
  2. Be proficient in oral and written communication.
  3. Be proficient in information literacy, i.e. be able to locate, evaluate, and effectively interpret claims, theories, and assumptions in science and engineering.
  4. Have experience with teamwork.
  5. Be aware of professional and ethical responsibilities.

In terms of their discipline, students will be well grounded in the mathematical, scientific, and engineering skills that are the basis of their discipline. More specifically, our graduates will have:

  1. The ability to design experiments, analyze the data, and interpret the results.
  2. The ability to design, model, and analyze engineering systems.
  3. The ability to formulate and solve problems.
  4. The ability to use the techniques and tools necessary for the practice of their discipline.