Demographics & Climate Assessment

The Center for Intercultural Dialogue promotes programs that cross the boundaries in Cornell's diverse student community.

Demographics & Climate Assessment

Demographics in 2016-2017

The Diversity Scorecards and Dashboards report Cornell’s current composition by constituent group and baseline information about the campus climate for engagement, inclusion, and achievement.

Undergraduate Students

  • 14,214 undergraduates, 49 percent male and 51 percent female.
  • More than 50 percent of undergraduate students are foreign nationals, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, African Americans, Asian Americans, or identified themselves in more than one racial/ethnic group.

Graduate Students

  • 7417 graduate and professional students, 56 percent male and 44 percent female.
  • More than 60 percent of graduate students are foreign nationals, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, African Americans, Asian Americans, or identified themselves in more than one racial/ethnic group.

Faculty and Staff

  • More than 1,600 tenured and tenure-track faculty members, 31 percent female and 69 percent male.
  • More than 22 percent of faculty are from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds.
  • Cornell’s staff workforce, more than 8,600 strong, is 56 percent female and 44 percent male, with a racial/ethnic minority representation of more than 16 percent. 

Cornell Community

  • An increased number of military service veterans are turning to Cornell, a Yellow Ribbon Program institution, for their education as well as for employment.
  • An estimated 8 percent of students and 6 percent of faculty and staff identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. A vibrant Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center supports this community.
  • Cornell United Religious Work, the university’s religious center, comprises 29 affiliated faith communities. Each weekend in Anabel Taylor Hall, Catholic Masses, Jewish Services (Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox), Muslim prayers, and Protestant worship services are held.

For almost 42 years, a report on the demographic representation of the university has been given to the Board of Trustees. In 2016, the Diversity and Inclusion Report to the Cornell University Board of Trustees provided information on Cornell’s representation of women faculty, students and staff, and faculty, students and staff of color. The report also presented a summary of progress achieved through the university’s Toward New Destinations institutional diversity framework.

Assessing the Campus Climate at Cornell

Cornell is committed to assessing progress in achieving a diverse and inclusive campus community. The university conducts studies of the climate for diversity for its various constituencies, and has created dashboards to monitor progress in the representation, engagement, inclusion and achievement of its students, faculty and staff. The studies shown below are all steps in an ongoing process of assessing and improving the Cornell experience.

Addressing Bias Activity

Since 2000, Cornell University has had a program to track bias that is occurring on all campuses in an effort to be proactive in creating an inclusive climate for all. Information about bias activity, including incident summaries and responses, is updated monthly in Reports and Responses to Bias Activity at Cornell University. In January and July of each year, aggregate data on the Reporting Bias System is collected and presented in Mid-Year and Annual Reports.

Quantitative Study of Climate for Diversity at Cornell

In 2013, Institutional Research and Planning, in consultation with the University Diversity Council, compiled a report to assess campus climate, highlighting selected survey results relating to two dimensions of the campus climate for diversity – engagement and inclusion – as reported by Cornell undergraduate and graduate students in recent surveys. While not intended as an all-encompassing assessment of diversity at Cornell, the report, Beginning to Assess the Student Climate for Diversity at Cornell: Preliminary Findings on Student Engagement and Inclusion from Student Surveys formed the basis for a more comprehensive examination of the student climate for diversity.

Qualitative Study of Climate for Diversity at Cornell: Student Experiences

To further explore themes identified in the 2013 study of student climate for diversity, Cornell engaged Sylvia Hurtado, a leading scholar of diversity in higher education, to provide an independent qualitative assessment of students’ perspectives on the campus climate for diversity. In fall 2013, Professor Hurtado and her research team from UCLA reviewed our survey data and existing documentation about campus diversity efforts; and conducted focus groups with students, and interviews with student affairs and academic administrators. Additional information and study results are provided below.

Report on the Retention of Undergraduate Black Men

In 2013, Cornell’s Student and Academic Services (SAS) unit focused one of its diversity initiatives on improving the retention and graduation rates for undergraduate Black men.  A team was created to develop and implement processes to evaluation attrition and recommend retention strategies.  Read an executive summary of the preliminary report here.