Cornell NYC Tech Launches Connective Media Degree at its Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute

Cornell NYC Tech was joined by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and leading media companies today to launch the first degree program to be offered by the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute (JTCII) at Cornell Tech. The two-year masters degree in Connective Media is designed to train the entrepreneurial engineers and technologists desperately needed in the media sector. The Connective Media program will produce the next generation of tech talent to respond to, and drive, the digital transformation of publishing, advertising, news and information, and entertainment. Graduates of this dual degree program will receive a degree from Cornell University and from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Corporate collaborators who will help shape the novel Connective Media hub include Hearst, Medium, Facebook, Betaworks, Tumblr, WordPress, and The New York Times.

“The Connective Media program we are announcing today is the first of the dual degree programs to be offered at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute at Cornell NYC Tech, the innovative collaboration between Cornell and the Technion,” said Daniel Huttenlocher, Dean of Cornell NYC Tech. “This novel program addresses the huge need for more tech talent in the media-related businesses that play such an important role in New York City.”

“The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute is organized around hubs focused on key New York City industries, and there is no better place to start than in the media space,” said Craig Gotsman, Director of the JTCII. “We are aware of the critical need for deep tech talent to lead the digital transformation within the traditional and new media companies and are proud to be working with many of them in educating a new generation of tech professionals in this space. Thanks to the exposure to the entrepreneurial world that these professionals will also receive as part of their experience at JTCII, they will be in an excellent position to start their own ventures within this space.”

“New York City is the world’s media capital, but we can’t take that position for granted because the way media is produced and consumed is changing dramatically,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Media creators and tech companies have a lot to gain from a strong, collaborative working relationship, and I am proud that Cornell and the Technion will be training the next generation of tech talent in New York City to work with the media industry. We will reap the benefits of that partnership in the form of job creation and global competitiveness.”

The JTCII – a key component of Cornell Tech – will offer a Master of Science degree in Information Systems, with a specialization in Connective Media. It is now accepting applications for a first class of students to begin studies in the fall of 2014.

The Connective Media program is aimed at meeting the growing need for technologists in media-related industries, to respond to, and to drive the digital transformation of publishing, advertising, news and information, and entertainment. The Connective Media degree combines technical, social science and media industry expertise in a broad interdisciplinary two-year program, with an immersive semester-long industry project and extensive engagement with digital media companies in New York City. The program will train a new generation of talent to develop technologies, applications and experiences that take advantage of the constant access to, and sharing of, online information in the digital and mobile world. Graduates of the program will be equipped to help lead the digital transformation of the city’s and the nation’s media industries, and will receive degrees from both Cornell and Technion.

The JTCII also announced a series of corporate collaborators who will help shape the Connective Media hub, including Hearst, Medium, Facebook, Betaworks, Tumblr, WordPress, and The New York Times. The collaborating companies will provide input and guidance this year to refine the curriculum for this novel new degree that combines technology expertise at the level of a software engineer, computer scientist or data scientist, with media industry expertise at the level of product manager, product designer, or editorial staff member. When the program launches next fall, companies in the Connective Media space will provide real-world projects, mentorship, and industry knowhow for students.

“As we re-imagine the media industry, one of our big obstacles is a shortage of skilled and experienced technologists who have deep technical expertise and also understand our industry,” said Philip Wiser, Chief Technology Officer at Hearst Corporation. “That’s why we are excited to work with Cornell Tech on the new Connective Media program. The campus’ close collaboration with industry in tackling pressing problems ensures that students are prepared to have a powerful impact on our future.”

JTCII recently hired its first full-time faculty member in the Connective Media hub, Mor Naaman. Professor Naaman exemplifies what the campus and Connective Media hub represent – he is an academic but also an entrepreneur. His startup, Seen (, helps make sense of the real-time Web by summarizing and organizing social media content. In his first year at Cornell Tech, Naaman will split time evenly between teaching and working on growing Seen.

This is another major milestone for Cornell Tech, which was created as part of the City’s Applied Sciences NYC initiative. The campus welcomed its first fall class last month to its temporary campus in space donated by Google at its headquarters in Chelsea. The Johnson MBA at Cornell Tech was announced over the summer and will welcome its first class in Summer 2014. Plans are moving forward for the permanent campus on Roosevelt Island, set to break ground next year and open in 2017. When completed, the Roosevelt Island campus will house approximately 2,000 full-time graduate students.

Building a Better Tech School

The New York Times’ Education Life weekend section looks at the beta class and educational roll-out of Cornell NYC Tech so far, a new graduate program in applied sciences that is not your typical Master’s program:

“In Ithaca, you take a bunch of classes and then you have your one master’s project — you work on it alone,” said Mr. Kopp, who transferred from a master’s program at Cornell’s main campus. “It typically doesn’t have a business aspect to it, or you might be working on something that a professor is doing. This has a very different feel to it.”

Read more.

First day of classes at Cornell Tech, via The New York Times:

Cornell NYC Tech, a new graduate school focusing on applied science, is a bold experiment on many fronts: a major expansion for an august upstate school, a high-impact real estate venture for Roosevelt Island, an innovative collaboration with a foreign university, a new realm of influence for City Hall. But the most striking departure of all may be the relationship it sets forth between university and industry, one in which commerce and education are not just compatible, they are also all but indistinguishable. In this new framework, Cornell NYC Tech is not just a school, it is an “educational start-up,” students are “deliverables” and companies seeking access to those students or their professors can choose from a “suite of products” by which to get it.

Photo credit: Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

Applications Now Open for 'Beta' Class

Mayor Bloomberg and Cornell University today announced that applications for admission are being accepted for the “beta” class of computer science students at Cornell NYC Tech, the new world-class applied sciences campus in New York City. This first class of full-time students will begin in January 2013, pursuing a one-year Cornell Master of Engineering degree in computer science. Applications for the small and highly selective beta class are due on October 1, 2012. The program will be housed at the temporary campus location in Chelsea, in space donated by Google. In 2017, the campus will move to its permanent home on Roosevelt Island. Information about the program and the application procedure for prospective students is available online at  

“We’re calling this the ‘beta’ class because these students will help shape the future of this new educational institution. Candidates for the beta class must be future tech leaders, with not only the highest academic credentials but also strong entrepreneurial interests, leadership skills and a passion for community engagement.”—Dean Huttenlocher, Dean of the tech campus

Find out more details in the press release.
In Bedroom Community, Birth of a Tech Center

Roosevelt Island will be transformed by the coming Cornell NYC Tech campus, via The New York Times: 

A canopy of solar cells, a nearly classroom-free academic center, cafes open to the public and even a hotel. The new campus of the Cornell University graduate school for technology is expected to transform Roosevelt Island from a sleepy bedroom community into a high-technology hothouse, and indeed, the plans to be formally unveiled for the campus on Monday bear little resemblance to anything that is there now.

Google, for one, is fully devoted to promoting STEM through many company initiatives, not the least of which is our support of the Cornell NYC Tech engineering school. We’re proud to be providing them with space in our building in Chelsea while their permanent home is being built on Roosevelt Island. The school is a place to cultivate a new generation of innovators, thinkers, doers — right here in New York.

Things we used to think were magic we now take for granted: the ability to get a map instantly, from our pockets; to work on a project with people a half a world away, at any time; to watch creative video content from anywhere on Earth, for free, or even to broadcast your own creation to the entire world. Maybe we couldn’t imagine these things five years ago. But, the point is, someone did.

—  Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, in an op-ed for New York Daily News: “Teach tech, win the future”