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Return to the Classroom

One afternoon, three lectures, a lifetime of learning

New for spring 2017, the Return to the Classroom series touring the US.

- Immerse yourself in Cornell academics without traveling back to Ithaca.
- Learn from Cornell's amazing faculty without doing the homework.
- Spend a weekend afternoon learning about new research and ideas.
- Connect with other Cornellians.

Programs will vary by city. Explore the course catalog below for course descriptions and professor bios.

Each session includes:
- Three 50-minute lectures by brilliant Cornell faculty members
- Breaks between classes – like you're back on campus

Your ticket includes:
- A seat in all lectures
- Snacks and beverages
- A Cornell notebook

New York City

Join us!
Saturday, February 18, 2017 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Your local classroom will be at the New York Marriott East Side on 525 Lexington Avenue (between East 48th and 49th Street) in New York, NY.

Tickets are $55 for General Admission or $45 recent graduates (0 – 10 years out).

Have questions? Contact Ilana Carlin about the event or Karen Barnes, if you need help registering.

Speakers and Lectures

Claudia Fischbach-Teschl

Claudia Fischbach-Teschl

Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Fischbach-Teschl's lab applies biomedical engineering strategies to study cancer, with the ultimate goal of identifying new mechanisms that may ultimately help to prevent and treat this disease. She serves on the National Institutes of Health Tumor Microenvironment Study Section and is an editorial board member of various journals, including the new American Chemical Society journal, Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Highlights of Breakthrough Cancer Research

There is a growing awareness among researchers that petri dish studies of cancer cells are not enough. Cancers exist in living tissue inside living creatures. In order to understand cancers better, researchers must figure out how to study cancer cells in settings that better mimic their physiological context. In her work, Fischbach uses engineering approaches to study the interplay between tumors and their environments. This lecture will cover the highlights of her breakthrough cancer research.

Gilly Leshed

Gilly Leshed PhD '09

Senior Lecturer and Director of the Master of Professional Studies Program, Department of Information Science

Dr. Leshed's teaching and research interests are in human-computer interaction. She designs technologies from the human perspective, helping people accomplish tasks, work, learn, and socialize. Recent projects include designing tools to calculate the cost of production for coffee farmers and designing e-mail systems for people with dyslexia.

Human-Computer Interaction Design

Every day we work, learn, socialize, play, shop, and get entertained with and through computers, applications, and devices. But when do people really work well and enjoy using interactive technologies? How do we make better, more informed decisions about designing such technologies to make them more usable, valuable, and experiential for their users? In this session, we will focus on designing technology from the human perspective toward better user experiences. We will discuss key aspects of the user-centered design process: understanding the user, exploring possible design solutions, crafting prototypes, and evaluating the usability of these prototypes.

Nick Salvato

Nick Salvato

Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Performing and Media Arts

Dr. Salvato is the author of Uncloseting Drama: American Modernism and Queer Performance (Yale University Press, 2010) and Obstruction (Duke University Press, 2016) as well as the pocket monograph Knots Landing (Wayne State University Press: TV Milestones series, 2015). His articles have appeared in Camera Obscura, TDR: The Drama Review, Theatre Journal, and others.


We are now teaching undergraduate students who have had no direct experience or personal memory of television as a twentieth-century phenomenon, well before the age of DVRs and online streaming of audiovisual material. Taking a cue from television's own infamous Doctor Who, we will consider what kind of time-traveling machine we will need to introduce our students to the television history that predates the twenty-first century. Where should that spaceship land, and what are the most interesting and important things we may see and hear when we emerge from it? With a focus on All in the Family as an exemplary case study, this talk explains how and why teaching television forms a vital part of undergraduate training in how to understand moving images, the artistic and industrial contexts in which those images appear, and the historical and philosophical approaches to such work that give it texture and depth.


Join us!
Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 2:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Your local classroom will be at the Sheraton Needham Hotel on 100 Cabot Street in Needham, MA. Free parking is available in the hotel garage.

Tickets are $50 for General Admission or $40 recent graduates (0 – 10 years out).

Have questions? Contact Calicia Mullings about the event or Karen Barnes, if you need help registering.

Speakers and Lectures

Glenn Altschuler

Glenn Altschuler PhD '76

Dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions
The Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies

Professor Altschuler has been an administrator and teacher at Cornell since 1981, including several years as vice president for university relations. In 2006, he was named a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, Cornell's most prestigious award for undergraduate teaching. His year-long survey course, "Popular Culture in the United States, 1900–Present" is one of the most popular courses at Cornell. He is the author or co-author of 11 books and more than one thousand essays and reviews. His latest book, co-authored with Faust F. Rossi, is Ten Great American Trials: Lessons in Advocacy.

Great American Trials: Lessons in Advocacy

We will take on four compelling twentieth-century trials to assess the advocacy techniques of prosecutors and defense attorneys: the defense of Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb in 1924; the 1948 espionage trial of Alger Hiss; the 1978 trial of Dan White, who was accused of murdering San Francisco mayor George Moscone and supervisor and gay activist Harvey Milk; and the case of O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted of murder in 1995.

Paulette Clancy

Paulette Clancy

The Samuel W. and Diane M. Bodman Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Director of the Cornell Institute for Computational Science and Engineering

Professor Clancy served two terms as the William C. Hooey Director of the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. She was the first female director of the school and the first woman to chair an engineering department in the College of Engineering. Her research laboratory is one of the leading groups studying atomic- and molecular-scale modeling of semiconductor materials. She has helped to spearhead the creation of an undergraduate minor and a graduate minor field in sustainable energy.

Determining Life on Other Planets

Taking a simultaneously imaginative and rigidly scientific view, Cornell chemical engineers and astronomers offer a template for life that could thrive in a harsh, cold world - specifically Titan, the giant moon of Saturn. Dr. Clancy is the lead on the initial proof of concept.

Janis Whitlock

Janis Whitlock

Research Scientist, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research in the College of Human Ecology
Director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery

Dr. Whitlock writes about non-suicidal self-injury in adolescence and young adulthood. Her research focuses include the development of early detection and intervention in mental health and wellbeing for youth in college and community settings, recovery from self-injurious behaviors, and the relationship between connectedness and self-injury and suicide behaviors. She is also pursuing a newer line of research related to the sexual health and development in the digital age and the interaction between mental health, development, and social media-linked behavior. In addition to research, she has worked in adolescent and women's health in a variety of clinical, administrative, and education-related capacities.

Adolescents and Social Media

In this talk, we will examine the effect of current technology and social media on adolescent mental health. In an era where young adults struggle with emotional and mental health challenges at some point in their adolescence, parental angst is understandable. What have we learned about the process of growing up, risk taking and maturing that can help parents cope with adolescent behavior? The research continues to emerge.