The BCTR and the Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI) have distinct and potentially complementary missions, approaches, and connections with communities and researchers. BCTR’s mission focuses on translational research that benefits human health and well-being across the lifespan while CaRDI’s work focuses on promoting community economic vitality. CaRDI is a multi-disciplinary social science institute, working as part of a collaborative national network of research and extension staff at land grant universities. CaRDI conducts applied research, provides training, publishes information, facilitates regional development initiatives, manages a student internship program, provides technical assistance, and supports communication and network development. CaRDI works to understand the determinants and consequences of societal development and to produce educational programs that address social problems while creating opportunities for improved well-being. CaRDI catalyzes and facilitates evidence-based dialogue on community and economic development issues at the local, state, and, to a lesser degree, national levels, with a primary focus on New York State. CaRDI works in partnership with Cornell faculty and staff, Cornell Cooperative Extension’s network of offices, and local, county, and state governments, governing agencies, professional associations, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations. Based in the Department of Development Sociology in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, CaRDI’s programs of applied research and outreach focus on three programming areas: Community and Economic Development; Agriculture and Food Systems Development; and Energy, Land Use, and the Environment.
The Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation (CORE) was formalized in 2008 as the organizational framework for research on evaluation conducted under the leadership of Professor William Trochim. With funding from NSF, NIH, and Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), CORE has developed and tested "systems evaluation" methods, measures, and tools. CORE aims to make evaluation an integral part of program planning, implementation, management, and dissemination, rather than a separate and sometimes externally-imposed activity. CORE works with the university’s extension and outreach activities in a number of ways. In its Evaluation Partnership project, CORE works with CCE county associations and programs to build their capacity for self-evaluation. BCTR staff work closely with CORE, including developing research and outreach projects, strengthening BCTR program evaluation efforts, and conducting research on the evaluation process itself.
The BCTR has developed a strong partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), building on CCE’s long history of translating research into practice, its active engagement of diverse stakeholders, and its established presence in communities throughout New York state. The strength of CCE lies in communicating research-based knowledge to people outside the academic community and in helping to identify important emerging needs that should inform research agendas. BCTR will work with CCE to enhance the use of research to design and improve CCE programs as well as to connect a wider range of faculty with the work occurring in CCE Associations. The Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program is now located in the BCTR, strengthening the 4-H program's academic base and connection to research. The BCTR's Director for Outreach and Community Engagement also serves as the College of Human Ecology's Associate Director for Extension and Outreach, further strengthening the partnership between BCTR and CCE.
With offices in Manhattan and Queens, Cornell University Cooperative Extension-NYC (CUCE-NYC) works to enable people in all five boroughs to improve their lives and communities. CUCE-NYC combines cutting-edge research with community-centered programs. It is integrated into the College of Human Ecology (CHE), working closely with the BCTR. In addition, CUCE-NYC leads the Community Engagement and Research initiative of Weill Cornell Medical College’s Clinical and Translational Science Center. The BCTR’s Director of Outreach and Community Engagement, Jennifer Tiffany, serves as the Executive Director of CUCE-NYC, providing a strong institutional foundation for the partnership.
CUCE-NYC/BCTR collaborative efforts around research (e.g., the Complementary Strengths Research Partnership) and program delivery (e.g., the ACT of Youth Center of Excellence) have a long and deep history. Each has been strengthened by new research and program delivery partnerships, such as the evaluation of the delivery of Parenting a Second Time Around (PASTA) workshops to inner city grandparents. A July 2012 retreat for CUCE-NYC leadership, the BCTR, and CHE outreach and extension staff has led to increased communication and coordination between the groups.