Key Messages

Scroll this

Taken as a whole, these messages will help define how we tell the story of CALS. They can be combined in different ways depending on the audience, and either be used verbatim or as starting points. However, they exist more to serve as the foundational core of the brand and as inspiration and guardrails for decision-making.


About CALS

One-liner

If you are writing for an audience who may be unfamiliar with CALS, it may be helpful to explain us in a short, focused way.

CALS is a premier institution of scientific learning, tackling the complex challenges of our time through purpose-driven science.


Short Form

A fuller description of CALS, but still succinct.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is a pioneer of purpose-driven science and home to Cornell University’s second largest population of students, faculty and staff. We work across disciplines to tackle the challenges of our time through world-renowned research, education and outreach. The questions we probe and the answers we seek focus on three overlapping concerns: natural and human systems; food, energy and environmental resources; and social, physical and economic well-being.


Long Form

A longer overview of what we’re all about.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is a pioneer of purpose-driven science and home to Cornell University’s second largest population of students, faculty and staff. We work across disciplines to tackle the challenges of our time through world-renowned research, education and outreach. The questions we probe and the answers we seek focus on three overlapping concerns: natural and human systems; food, energy and environmental resources; and social, physical and economic well-being.

Since our founding, we have evolved continuously to meet the changing needs of our world. Our top-ranked programs include over 20 majors in community and rural development, environment and natural resources, food and nutrition, communication, applied economics, agriculture, international programs and life sciences.

The excellence of our science is matched by the generosity of our spirit. We aim to leave the world better than we found it, so we seek out those not simply driven to master their discipline, but who are also passionate about doing so to serve the public good. CALS is fundamentally invested in improving the lives of people, their environments and their communities both in New York state and around the world.

The Cornell CALS experience empowers us to explore the boundaries of knowledge, supported by the leading minds of today and surrounded by the leading minds of tomorrow.


CALS at a Glance

These are the foundations that make us CALS. The content we create should live in service of our purpose and our mission.


Our Purpose

The charge that motivates us.

CALS tackles the challenges of our times through purpose-driven science that advances understanding and improves life.


Our Mission

Our objectives and how we accomplish them.

As a premier institution of scientific learning, we connect the life, agricultural, environmental and social sciences to provide world-class education, spark unexpected discoveries and inspire pioneering solutions.


Our Work (Short form)

The heart of what we do.

At CALS, we accelerate purpose-driven science by supporting inquiry that stretches from discovery to invention, and crosscuts different disciplinary boundaries. Today, we concentrate on three overlapping spheres of inquiry:

  • Understanding natural and human systems
  • Stewarding sustainable food, energy and environmental resources
  • Fostering social, physical and economic well-being


Our Work: (Long Form)

This is a new framework for understanding the broad interests that live beneath the roof of CALS.

The previous quadrant diagram was useful for designating the four academic divisions that we contain, and sorting our departments and units among them.

This new approach, however, serves to unify instead of divide. The spheres of inquiry are the motivating intentions behind our departments. They frame our departments as different ways of approaching the same questions.

Situating our work in the context of the spheres of inquiry allows us to emphasize big questions, demonstrate our interdisciplinary mindset and visualize initiatives that cut across traditional academic boundaries. They allow us to tell a coherent story about why Communication and Entomology sit at the same table.

The content we create, the campaigns we build and the thought leadership we provide should reflect one or more of our spheres of inquiry.

We accelerate purpose-driven science by supporting inquiry that crosses disciplinary boundaries and stretches from discovery to invention.

The world is complex and intertwined, and bringing global challenges into focus takes more than one lens.

That’s why we focus on three overlapping spheres of inquiry:


Our Tagline

The shortest, most memorable summation of what we’re all about.

Life. Changing.


The CALS Experience

When we describe the CALS experience, we focus on our differentiating attributes.

Intellectual Exploration

We work together to provide new answers and discover new questions.

Interdisciplinary Culture

We deeply believe that effecting meaningful change requires a holistic, systems approach to problem solving.

Meaningful Impact

CALS is fundamentally invested in improving the lives of people, their environments and their communities both in New York state and around the world.

Purpose-Driven Science

Pursuit of knowledge in the name of the public good.


Our Beliefs

Convictions that guide us.

Achieving next-generation scientific breakthroughs requires an understanding of the world’s complex, interlocking systems.

Understanding natural and
human systems

Having access to nutritious food and a healthy environment is a fundamental human right.

Stewarding sustainable food, energy and environmental resources

Ensuring a prosperous global future depends on the ability to support local people and communities everywhere.

Fostering social, physical and economic well-being


Our Values

What we expect from one another.

  • Promote Collaboration
  • Apply Rigor
  • Embrace Imagination
  • Spread Knowledge
  • Serve The Public Good


Talking Points

Why “Purpose-Driven Science?”

If you are applying for funding, speaking to a donor or stakeholder, or recruiting faculty or students, you may want to share more detail about the work that we do here at CALS.

The following will help you to explain the meaning and background of the CALS phrase “purpose-driven science.”

In the 20th century, the idea of basic versus applied research became a touchstone for distinguishing between curiosity-oriented science and more use-inspired science. This distinction was seen as a way to protect basic research from the practical attractions of applied work.

Today, science has become more restless, transcending and collapsing these traditional divides in the quest for deeper fundamental understandings of and bolder practical solutions to some of the world’s biggest, most pressing challenges.

At CALS, we’ve accelerated this more integrated approach by supporting spheres of interdisciplinary inquiry that stretch from discovery to invention and back again in the name of purpose-driven science. Some of the most important life-changing insights and impacts CALS has brought to the world have come from this approach.

For us, purpose-driven science is the pursuit of knowledge in the name of the public good. We are taking science where it needs to go in the 21st century.


The CALS Experience

When you are writing about the CALS experience, focus on what differentiates us from other Ivy League and agricultural institutions.

This language may be most useful when you’re writing for prospective faculty or prospective students.

Intellectual Exploration

Rather than one-track, rule-following brains, we look for curious, passion-driven minds who will work together to discover new answers and ask new questions.

The scope of our offerings allows students to customize their time at Cornell CALS and explore multiple paths for focusing their passion, curiosity and ambition.

A Cornell CALS education goes beyond the classroom and takes students into the field, greenhouses and labs. Students have frequent opportunities to apply what they learn in real-world settings. These experiences bring students not only a greater understanding of the world, but a greater understanding of what they want to add to that world.

Key Phrases: Ask new questions, passion-driven minds, multiple paths

 

Interdisciplinary Culture

The world is complex and intertwined. We deeply believe that effecting meaningful change requires a holistic, systems approach to problem solving.

With 15 departments and 2 schools across the life, social, environmental and agricultural sciences, Cornell CALS offers a breadth of perspectives that facilitate a culture of interdisciplinary understanding and collaboration.

At Cornell CALS, you are encouraged to enrich your work with support and advice from perspectives beyond your specialty.

Key Phrases: Defying disciplinary boundaries, systems approach to problem solving, more than one lens, holistic approach

 

Meaningful Impact

A critical piece of our commitment to purpose-driven science is putting our knowledge and research to work, to make a positive impact. Students and faculty go beyond the boundaries of campus, partnering with communities to explore ideas and solve difficult, complex problems.

Cornell CALS is home to several world-class outreach and extension programs that directly serve the public, sharing knowledge and best practices throughout New York state.

Key Phrases: Inspire pioneering solutions, spark unexpected discoveries, renew our world, improve lives, serve the public good


Spheres of Inquiry

If you are applying for funding, speaking to a donor or stakeholder, or recruiting students, faculty or staff, you may want to share more detail about the work that we do here at CALS.

Understanding natural and human systems

We believe that achieving next-generation scientific breakthroughs requires an understanding of the world’s complex, interlocking systems.

Life-changing advancements start with insights into fundamental life processes, so we strive to discover how ecosystems work and the interaction of organisms with each other and with other organisms. We then work to apply this knowledge to solve global problems for the benefit of society. We work not only to pioneer breakthroughs ranging from molecular and cellular biology to human and animal health, but also to explore the ethical and social aspects of scientific discovery.

 

Stewarding sustainable food, energy and environmental resources

We believe that access to nutritious food and a healthy environment is a fundamental human right.

The world’s population is expected to surpass 9 billion by 2050. To meet the challenges of the growing population, we are focused on innovative ways of strengthening and securing food and energy systems. CALS has been shaping environmental science since the college’s founding. Today, we continue to develop “greener” approaches to restoring our world, while enhancing the stewardship and sustainability of the its scarce resources.

 

Fostering social, physical and economic well-being

We believe that ensuring a prosperous global future depends on the ability to support local people and communities everywhere.

Building economic and community vitality has been a priority for us for more than a century. We explore how people learn, lead and connect, as well as how groups of people shape organizations and enterprises. We develop and apply these insights to improve the well-being of individuals, communities and economies around the world.


Messaging Use Cases

It is important to tailor your message about CALS to the medium in which you are writing. Start with “Primary Messages” for shorter formats and add supporting messages as appropriate.

Primary Messages

Our headlines. What we see in the mirror.


Supporting Messages

Points that develop the Primary Messages to tell a more nuanced story.


Talking Points

Deeper dives into the Supporting Messages.