Institutional Initiatives

As part of our “… any person … ” ethos, Cornell University has a founding commitment to being an equitable, inclusive and welcoming community and continues to support actions to uphold these principles through programs and initiatives that address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.

The Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate and the Provost’s Task Force to Enhance Faculty Diversity, both of which did their work during the 2017-2018, resulted in a set of sixty recommendations. Over the past three years, many of these recommendations, more than 80%, were implemented. Those that have not been, continue to be addressed.

After the incidents of racial injustice that occurred across the country in 2020, Cornell responded with a set of actions towards a long-term goal of changing societal structures and systems that inherently privilege some more than others. Some of these actions built on previous initiatives, others were initiated to directly address issues highlighted during this difficult period in our country.

Listed below are a broad list of programs and initiatives, led at both the institutional-level and college-level, that support the university’s current priorities to continue the work of advancing inclusion and addressing structural inequity at Cornell. Please click on the (+) to learn more about programs and initiatives at Cornell.

Belonging at Cornell

Overall Diversity, Equity and Inclusion “Belonging at Cornell” framework

Belonging at Cornell is designed to make Cornell a more diverse and inclusive environment, improving the overall experience of faculty, staff and students. Belonging at Cornell is a data-based and metrics driven approach with an accountability structure that tracks five metrics: Sense of belongingSense of fairnessWillingness to recommend Cornell, along with two compositional metrics, Diverse candidate pools, and Turnover rates for faculty and staff. Each dean annually reports on and is accountable for progress on all five metrics, tracked by dashboards.

Faculty Initiatives

  • Provost’s Faculty Bridge funding: Financial incentives that serve to support the hiring of faculty to increase the diversity of our ranks, with a focus on faculty of color and women in STEM.
  • Search accountability process: Provides resources that include mandatory search committee workshops on bias; confirms the diversity of the search pool during the search.
  • Faculty Pipeline Tool: Provides departments and colleges with tools to help identify institutions that graduate significant numbers of URM students, including women in STEM, for faculty searches.
  • Mandatory statement supporting diverse communities for all faculty and executive positions.
  • Faculty Diversity Award for Excellence in Research, Teaching, and Service through Diversity is awarded annually to two faculty.
  • Dual Career Program: Aids dual career spouses or partners in the recruiting process.
  • Annual faculty salary survey: Salaries of faculty are discussed with deans of the respective colleges, paying specific attention to women faculty and faculty of color.
  • An analysis of endowed professorships to ensure equity is completed periodically.
  • Faculty work that enhances diversity and inclusion is considered in the promotion and tenure process.
  • Academic Leadership Series: A yearlong program on academic leadership for aspiring academic leaders, emphasis on URM and women faculty.
  • Faculty Mentoring programs: Presents opportunities for networking lunches and peer mentoring grants.
  • National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD): Provides online tools to support the success of  tenured and tenure-track faculty, postdocs and advanced graduate students.

Student Initiatives

  • SUNY Diversity fellowships: For recruitment of new research degree students in graduate fields within contract colleges.
  • Deans McNair Graduate Diversity Fellowships: For recruitment of new research degree students who were McNair Scholars at their undergraduate institutions.
  • Deans Mellon Mays Graduate Diversity Fellowships: For recruitment of new research degree students who were Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows at their undergraduate institutions.
  • Cornell Engineering Diversity Fellowship Programs:
  • Cornell IMSD Program: Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Program
  • Hopper-Dean Fellowship (Cornell Bowers College of Computing and Information Science)
  • Cornell Bowers CIS Deans Excellence Fellowship
  • Summer Success Symposium: Focus on diverse doctoral students, provides participants with access to knowledge and insights that will help them navigate their successful transition into and progression through their graduate studies.
  • Dean’s Scholars Program: Develops a community of diverse scholars through which connections are established and maintained across all graduate fields.
  • NextGen Professors: Career-development program focused on preparing Cornell graduate students and postdocs for faculty careers across institutional types.
  • Across the university, departments and colleges are expected to examine their curriculum to ensure that all students have rich access to courses that expose them to a diversity of people and cultures.
  • Cornell incorporates inclusive and holistic practices of recruiting and admissions at the undergraduate and graduate level. Many graduate programs (>50%) have dropped the GRE as a requirement for entry to graduate school

Staff Initiatives

  • Mandatory six-course training for all staff: Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Cornell
  • Inclusive Excellence Network, includes: 
    • Inclusive Excellence Academy: A series of programs designed to advance an inclusive educational environment and workplace.
    • Inclusive Excellence Summit: An annual event for staff and faculty to learn and develop practical skills for cultivating a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace and fostering a culture of belonging.
    • Inclusive Excellence Podcast: Sponsored by the Department of Inclusion and Belonging, a monthly podcast series where various topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion at work are discussed.
  • Colleague Network Groups: Organized identity-based groups that help their constituents build community, share strategies for navigating the university and serve as support networks. They also provide a platform for senior leadership to understand challenges around diversity, equity and inclusion and to identify opportunities for programs and initiatives.
  • Cornell DEI Initiative Report: The purpose of the Cornell Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative is to create workplace conditions and build inclusive relationships that reflect the 21st-century demographic realities. This means reducing and eliminating institutional barriers that impact the experience of historically underrepresented/minoritized individuals within the Cornell community and enhancing the lives of staff, students, faculty, the people of New York and others around the world.
  • President’s Awards for Employee Excellence, The Culture of Belonging Award: Recognizes an employee who goes beyond expectations to create and support an open, inclusive, welcoming and equitable workplace environment for all members of the Cornell community.

University and College-Wide Initiatives

College Diversity program links

Unit/department Diversity program links:

If you are the owner of a DEI program or initiative on campus that has changed or is not listed here, please send a note to