Cornell launches program to bring humanities skills into tech fields

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The new Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity aims to deliver a unique multidisciplinary curriculum through the combination of liberal arts and sciences education to develop 21st-century leaders and innovators who help address the world greatest challenges. 

Cornell University announced a new program that aims to deliver a unique multidisciplinary curriculum through the combination of liberal arts and sciences education to create "problem solvers who have 21st-century skills" who help address the world greatest challenges. 

The new Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity, a collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences and Cornell Tech, will deliver a new approach to developing 21st-century leaders and innovators, hoping to influence other universities and the future of higher education. 

“The new Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity will provide not only a foundation for students to develop the technical, intellectual and organizational skills they need to drive progress in the digital age but also a context and ethical framework that will equip them to shape society for the better,” said Cornell President Martha E. Pollack. 

According to the press release, the $20 million initiative is a vision from Howard Milstein and Michael Milstein. The Milstein Program looks to reinforce the importance of a broad liberal arts education for leaders in all fields and to develop a platform for multidisciplinary innovation at the university. 

“Technology is increasingly vital to all aspects of our society. Our leaders require a broader base of knowledge and context than ever before to succeed in this new reality,” said Michael Milstein. “Our tech leaders need to be able to communicate, understand and maximize the societal benefit of their work while leaders across all industries need the technical foundation to drive progress in every facet of our lives. I’m thrilled that Cornell is taking the lead in addressing this challenge.”

In the new program, students will select a major from the College of Arts and Sciences but will also develop computer science proficiency through a specialized curriculum that will also include summer sessions, internships and access to speakers and mentors as well.

“The combination of technological and humanistic education is increasingly important in modern society, and this program will be a magnet for outstanding undergraduates who understand the importance of combining these areas together. We are committed to creating a broad pipeline of tech talent, and that means reaching students at every stage of their education,” said Dan Huttenlocher, founding Dean and Vice Provost of Cornell Tech. 

A total of 100 students will comprise the first generation of the Milstein Program. The program will select students from diverse backgrounds, “reflecting the diversity of leadership that is needed to maximize the program’s potential.”