Martha E. Pollack named 14th president of Cornell University

Martha E. Pollack was elected Cornell University’s 14th president Nov. 14, 2016. She will begin her presidential duties April 17, 2017.

An expert in the field of artificial intelligence, Pollack, 58, will have tenured appointments in the Departments of Computer Science and Information Science.

Pollack was appointed provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan in May 2013, where she also was professor of computer science and engineering in the College of Engineering, and professor of information in the School of Information.

As the university’s chief academic officer and chief budget officer, she oversaw the public research university’s academic enterprise, which serves more than 43,000 students with more than 16,000 faculty and staff, has annual operating revenues of $3.4 billion, and includes 19 schools and colleges, several freestanding research units, libraries and museums, and an array of academic support units.

Prior to becoming provost, Pollack served the University of Michigan as vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs, dean of the School of Information, and associate chair for computer science and engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She has been on the faculty at Michigan since 2000.

As provost, Pollack launched several campus-wide, large-scale, interdisciplinary programs including initiatives in interprofessional health education, poverty alleviation research, and a humanities research collaboration center. She also began a realignment of the university’s sustainability academic programs, which currently is underway. She oversaw a faculty-hiring initiative that enhanced expertise in core academic areas while increasing the number of small classes for undergraduates, and she supported programs and the academic portion of a strategic plan to increase diversity on campus and to enhance the campus climate for diversity, equity and inclusion.

As provost, Pollack launched several campus-wide, large-scale, interdisciplinary programs including initiatives in interprofessional health education, poverty alleviation research, and a humanities research collaboration center.

 

She provided funding to projects that deploy “learning analytics,” the application of data mining techniques to student data, to develop new approaches to teaching, and she commissioned an academic innovation initiative that supports the development and deployment of programs and systems for engaged and personalized learning. Pollack also created the university’s first office of enrollment management, integrating the offices of admissions, financial aid and the registrar; supported global initiatives to improve the quality and consistency of support for students traveling abroad; and recruited and hired numerous deans, directors and vice provosts.

As vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs for the University of Michigan, Pollack was the provost’s senior staff member in setting budgetary policy and allocating resources across the campus. As dean of the School of Information at the University of Michigan, she was responsible for intellectual leadership, as well as budget, development and policy, for an interdisciplinary school offering a professional master’s and doctoral degree, and she launched an undergraduate major, the school’s first, in informatics, jointly administered with the university’s College of Engineering and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

Pollack is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). Her research has been in the area of artificial intelligence, where she has published widely on topics including automated planning, natural-language processing, temporal reasoning and constraint satisfaction. A particular focus of her work has been the design of intelligent technology to assist people with cognitive impairment, a topic on which she testified before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Aging in 2004. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Intel, DARPA and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

A particular focus of her work has been the design of intelligent technology to assist people with cognitive impairment, a topic on which she testified before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Aging in 2004.

 

In addition to receiving a number of awards for her research, Pollack has been honored for her professional service, for example, with the University of Michigan’s Sarah Goddard Power Award in recognition of her efforts to increase the representation of and climate for women and underrepresented minorities in science and engineering. She has served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, as president of AAAI, as a member of the Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering Division, and a member of the board of directors of the Computing Research Association.

Pollack has been a member of the Steering Committee of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, the academic partnership between Cornell and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology at Cornell Tech, since 2014. Also at Cornell, in December 2009 she visited the Ithaca campus as part of the Gerard Salton Lecture Series for the Faculty of Computing and Information Science, speaking on “Computing Outside the Box.”

Martha Pollack
Born Aug. 27, 1958, Martha E. Pollack was raised in Stamford, Connecticut

Before joining the University of Michigan, Pollack was a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, where she oversaw the Intelligent Systems Program, an interdisciplinary, freestanding Ph.D.-granting program serving as the center of advanced education and research on artificial intelligence at that university. She also was a member of the technical staff at SRI International.

Pollack received her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1979, completing a self-designed interdisciplinary major in linguistics. She earned her M.S.E. (1984) and Ph.D. (1986) degrees in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Born Aug. 27, 1958, Pollack was raised in Stamford, Connecticut. She is married to Ken Gottschlich, an engineer and jazz musician by training. They have two grown children, Anna and Nicholas.

At Cornell, Pollack will have tenured appointments in the Departments of Computer Science and Information Science.

Previous position: Pollack was appointed provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan in May 2013, where she also was professor of computer science and engineering in the College of Engineering, and professor of information in the School of Information. As the university’s chief academic officer and chief budget officer, she oversaw the public research university’s academic enterprise, which includes 19 schools and colleges, several freestanding research units, libraries and museums, and an array of academic support units.

Initiatives at the University of Michigan: As provost, Pollack launched several campus-wide, large-scale, interdisciplinary programs including initiatives in interprofessional health education, poverty alleviation research, and a humanities research collaboration center. She also began a realignment of the university’s sustainability academic programs, which currently is underway.

She oversaw a faculty-hiring initiative that enhanced expertise in core academic areas while increasing the number of small classes for undergraduates, and she supported programs and the academic portion of a strategic plan to increase diversity on campus and to enhance the campus climate for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Martha Pollack
Martha E. Pollack was appointed provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan in May 2013

She provided funding to projects that deploy “learning analytics,” the application of data mining techniques to student data, to develop new approaches to teaching, and she commissioned an academic innovation initiative that supports the development and deployment of programs and systems for engaged and personalized learning. Pollack also created the university’s first office of enrollment management, integrating the offices of admissions, financial aid and the registrar; supported global initiatives to improve the quality and consistency of support for students traveling abroad; and recruited and hired several deans, directors and vice provosts.

Prior to becoming provost, Pollack served as vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs, dean of the School of Information and associate chair for computer science and engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

As vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs, Pollack was the provost’s senior staff member in setting budgetary policy and allocating resources. As dean of the School of Information, she was responsible for intellectual leadership, as well as budget, development and policy, for an interdisciplinary school offering a professional master’s and doctoral degree, and she launched an undergraduate major, the school’s first, in informatics, jointly administered with the University’s College of Engineering and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

Academic honors: Pollack is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). She has served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, as president of AAAI, as a member of the Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering Division, and a member of the board of directors of the Computing Research Association.

Scholarly interests: Pollack’s research has been in the area of artificial intelligence, where she has published widely on topics including automated planning, natural-language processing, temporal reasoning and constraint satisfaction. A particular focus of her work has been the design of intelligent technology to assist people with cognitive impairment.

Pollack’s research has been in the area of artificial intelligence, where she has published widely on topics including automated planning, natural-language processing, temporal reasoning and constraint satisfaction.

 

Before joining the University of Michigan: Pollack was a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, where she oversaw the Intelligent Systems Program, an interdisciplinary, freestanding Ph.D.-granting program serving as the center of advanced education and research on artificial intelligence at that university. She also was a member of the technical staff at SRI International.

Distinctions: In addition to receiving a number of awards for her research, Pollack has been honored for her professional service, for example, with the University of Michigan’s Sarah Goddard Power Award in recognition of her efforts to increase the representation of and climate for women and underrepresented minorities in science and engineering.

Publications: Pollack is the author of more than 140 journal articles, conference papers, books and book chapters, reviews and reports. She has served as editor-in-chief and on the editorial board of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, as well as on the editorial boards of AI Magazine, the Artificial Intelligence Journal, the International Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, and the Computational Linguistics Journal.

She provided funding to projects that deploy “learning analytics,” the application of data mining techniques to student data, to develop new approaches to teaching, and she commissioned an academic innovation initiative that supports the development and deployment of programs and systems for engaged and personalized learning.

 

Education: Pollack received her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1979, completing a self-designed interdisciplinary major in linguistics. She earned her M.S.E. (1984) and Ph.D. (1986) degrees in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Personal information: Born Aug. 27, 1958, Pollack was raised in Stamford, Connecticut. She is married to Ken Gottschlich, an engineer and jazz musician by training. They have two grown children, Anna and Nicholas.