Katherine McComas

Vice Provost, Engagement & Land-Grant Affairs at Cornell University

Katherine McComas

Katherine McComas

Vice Provost, Engagement & Land-Grant Affairs at Cornell University

Biography

Katherine McComas is the vice provost for engagement and land-grant affairs at Cornell University and a professor in the Department of Communication in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

McComas is the academic lead for the universitywide Engaged Cornell initiative, advocates for Cornell’s role as the land-grant university for New York state, monitors and collaborates on responses to the governor’s initiatives in higher education and economic development, and represents the university’s four contract colleges in dealings with the State University of New York. Her office supports the broader land-grant mission of the university in all Cornell schools and colleges. The ROTC programs on campus, the Cornell Prison Education Program and the Office of Engagement Initiatives report through Dr. McComas to the Provost. She co-chairs or charges public engagement–related committees, including the Public and Global Working Group, the Public Engagement Council, the Leadership Committee on Extension and Outreach, and the K-12 Working Group.

McComas received a Ph.D. in communication from Cornell, an M.A. in International Relations and International Communications from Boston University, and a B.J. in Advertising and B.A. in French from the University of Missouri. She joined Cornell’s faculty in 2003 and served as chair of the Department of Communication from 2013 to 2017. Her research program focuses on risk communication, examining how the ways we communicate about health and environmental risks influence people’s attitudes and behaviors. She also investigates motivations and barriers that impede or facilitate effective public engagement across a variety of decision making contexts. Her appointment as vice provost for engagement and land-grant affairs started on July 1, 2018.

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2026

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Provost at Cornell University

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Dean, Architecture, Art & Planning at Cornell University

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Rebecca Q. & James C. Morgan Dean at Cornell University - College of Human Ecology

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Founder at Cornell University

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Executive Director, Office of Engagement Initiatives at Cornell University

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Chief Investment Officer at Cornell University

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Senior Vice Provost at Cornell University

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Jack & Rilla Neafsey Dean & Vice Provost of Cornell Tech at Cornell University

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Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Cornell University

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Deputy Provost at Cornell University

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Katherine McComas
Vice Provost, Engagement & Land-Grant Affairs at Cornell University
Education
M.A. in International Relations & International Communications

Boston University (most commonly referred to as BU) is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. The university is nonsectarian, but is historically affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The university has more than 4,000 faculty members and 29,000 students,and is one of Boston's largest employers. It offers bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees, and medical and dental degrees through 18 schools and colleges on two urban campuses. The main campus is situated along the Charles River in Boston's Fenway-Kenmore and Allston neighborhoods, while the Boston University Medical Campus is in Boston's South End neighborhood. BU also operates 75 study abroad programs in over 33 cities in over 20 countries and has internship opportunities in 10 different countries (including the United States and abroad).

B.A. in French

University of Missouri was founded in 1839 in Columbia, Missouri. MU is a major land-grant institution and Missouri's largest public research university. It is one of only 34 public universities, and the only public institution in Missouri, to be selected for membership in the Association of American Universities. MU offers more than 280 degree programs including more than 75 online degree options and is designated as comprehensive doctoral with medical/veterinary by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Ph.D. in Communication

Cornell is a privately endowed research university and a partner of the State University of New York. As the federal land-grant institution in New York State, they have a responsibility—unique within the Ivy League—to make contributions in all fields of knowledge in a manner that prioritizes public engagement to help improve the quality of life in our state, the nation, the world.

Career History
Professor, Department of Communication
Current
Vice Provost, Engagement & Land-Grant Affairs
2003 - Current

Cornell is a privately endowed research university and a partner of the State University of New York. As the federal land-grant institution in New York State, they have a responsibility—unique within the Ivy League—to make contributions in all fields of knowledge in a manner that prioritizes public engagement to help improve the quality of life in our state, the nation, the world.

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