September 29, 2022
Dear Cornell Community,
As we settle into the new semester, we’d like to welcome those new to campus and welcome back all those who have returned. We extend a special welcome to Christine Lovely, our new Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, who joined Cornell late last month, as well as to our talented and diverse Class of 2026.
The mission of the Belonging at Cornell (BaC) diversity, equity and inclusion framework is to focus our collective efforts on creating a campus community where individuals from diverse backgrounds and life experiences can both contribute and thrive. As reinforced by President Pollack in her September 15 message, one of our core values is our commitment to being a community of belonging. All BaC initiatives are designed to support this commitment.
We are pleased to share a few of the many updates on these diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives across campus:
The Division of Public Safety has been working closely with members of the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) to develop alternative response models for our community. As part of that effort, the Community Response Team (CRT) was moved from Student and Campus Life to the Division of Public Safety and the search for a new Director of the Community Response Team has begun. The new director will incorporate best practices in crisis response with the valuable insights of the PSAC and community stakeholders.
Much progress has been made on the racial justice and equitable futures initiatives, initiated by the faculty senate, over the last academic year.
- A national search is underway for the inaugural director of the Center for Racial Justice and Equitable Futures. The inaugural director will “...be responsible for further developing the capacity of the center to serve as a central node that connects and amplifies scholarship on racism, indigeneity, ethnicity, and bias ….” The search committee is co-chaired by Brooks School of Public Policy Dean Colleen Barry and Deputy Provost Avery August, with search committee members drawn from across the university.
- A committee was formed to develop a process for implementing an educational requirement on racism, bias and equity for students. The goal of the committee is to ensure that this requirement is implemented in a way that all Cornell students experience the same learning goals, allowing each college to incorporate their own local contexts. A policy and process are expected to be in place for the Fall of 2023. In addition, several colleges and schools have completed a review of their curriculum “to ensure that courses reflect, represent and include the contributions of all people.”
- The Provost’s Office of Faculty Development & Diversity (OFDD) has been working with an advisory group, which includes representation from the colleges and schools, on the development of a faculty education program that would engage faculty from across the university. This pilot program was developed in engagement with faculty from American Indian & Indigenous Studies Program, Africana Studies & Research Center, Asian American Studies and Latina/o Studies Programs, and launched at the New Faculty Orientation at the start of the fall 2022 semester.
We continue efforts to diversify our faculty. Most recently the College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP) announced the appointment of eight new faculty and two faculty fellows whose scholarship will advance social justice, inclusion and equity in architecture and city and regional planning.
In support of our Indigenous communities, we have expanded initiatives to provide education, outreach and dedicated support. The Office of the Vice Provost for Enrollment has added a staff member whose role is focused on recruitment of Indigenous students. These efforts include pre-college programs for high school youth and dedicated university staff to assist prospective students in navigating the admissions and financial aid process. Cornell Health also offers a variety of culturally-informed and identity-informed practices, including for Indigenous students, through its CAPS Community Liaisons program.
We were pleased to have received several excellent proposals in response to the call for BaC Innovation Grants for faculty and staff. Three projects that stood out for their promise to enhance the sense of belonging for our campus community were selected for grants. These projects involve execution of intentional actions to address identified issues for diverse individuals, opportunities to collaborate and learn with others focused on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives within the university and outreach to the broader Ithaca community. A pilot mini-grant program for graduate and professional students will be rolled out shortly.
Launched in 2020, the mandatory Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion course was required to be completed by all staff by September 15, 2022. The Department of Inclusion and Belonging will be seeking input from the community on how best to leverage the training outcomes and determine next step actions.
There are many other relevant initiatives and programs underway at Cornell, including significant work being done within many of our colleges and other academic and administrative units. We invite you to read about some of them in this newsletter.
The Presidential Advisors on Diversity and Equity (PADE)
Avery August, Deputy Provost
Marla Love, Robert W. and Elizabeth C. Staley Dean of Students
Sonia Rucker, Associate Vice President for Inclusion and Belonging
Advancing Diversity and Inclusion
Wed., Sep. 28 - Wed., Oct. 1
Participate in a series of campus-wide events celebrating the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
Thur., Sep. 29 at 4:30 p.m.
Join for a free film screening followed by a Q&A with Associate Producer, John Rickford.
Fri., Sep. 30 at 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Donate much-needed blood and raise awareness around Sickle Cell Disease.
Academic boot camp boosts veterans’ higher ed mission
Afghan students – now Cornellians – look to future
Seeds of survival: Botanic Gardens honors the Black experience
'A better, more equitable future': program advances diversity and materials science
Law School portrait honors first Black graduate, Class of 1890
Resources & Opportunities
Selected Mondays through Dec. 12
Benefit from interaction with peers to learn practical tips for navigating academic work and daily life.
Applications due Oct. 7
Join OADI for information on this Ph.D. program with goals of diversifying faculty nationwide.
Join Global Cornell to assist international scholars with a safe refuge and welcoming community.
Selected Fridays through Dec. 2
Meet faculty and administrators for informal conversation about their current research/work in progress.
Collaborate to support leading research on the study of racism, dispossession and migration.
Meet with diverse professionals from Central New York for a monthly social networking event.