Diversity initiative update from President Skorton

As Cornell begins the second year of Toward New Destinations, our university-wide diversity planning effort, I call your attention to several significant updates to the TND framework that are important for all of us to consider as we implement our college and unit diversity initiatives this year.

First, through the efforts of many on the campus, we have made it easier to understand how our core diversity principles—Composition, Engagement, Inclusion and Achievement—can be translated into action by providing specific examples of efforts that colleges and units can undertake. This year we are emphasizing the design of initiatives in support of engagement and inclusion, which might include ideas for improving the climate for one or more  groups. Monetary grants are available through the University Diversity Council to help support unit and college initiatives. Information about them is posted at diversity.cornell.edu.

Second, the updated TND framework makes it clear that our diversity goals involve not only on-campus constituencies such as faculty, students, and staff but also off-campus constituents, including the extended Cornell community of parents, alumni, donors and friends of the university, as well as vendors, businesses, and local community organizations and institutions. In this regard, we have designed initiatives relevant to opportunities to use diverse vendors in procuring necessary goods and services for the university.

Third, as I promised in my February 28, 2013 statement to the community on bias and sexual misconduct, the new TND framework indicates the relevance of the prevention of bias  to our Core Principles and to our annual diversity initiatives. In this context, the University Diversity Council is supporting a climate study in conjunction with our ongoing survey instruments that support the TND initiative.

Toward New Destinations is an evolving document that merits reading, and re-reading, every year. Whether you are in Ithaca or New York City, or at another location where Cornell has programs or facilities, I ask you to review this year's documentand use it to guide your diversity initiatives for the coming year. 

As an additional resource, and to ensure accountability and follow-through, we will review the initiatives undertaken during TND's first year during the summer, post the results of the review online, provide a report to the Cornell community on progress toward our goals, and maintain an archive of initiatives undertaken from year to year. 

For more information about the Toward New Destinations planning effort and your role within it, please contact Vice Provost Laura Brown or Associate Vice President for Inclusion and Workforce Diversity Lynette Chappell-Williams.

The provosts, vice presidents, deans and I are committed to the implementation of goals outlined in Toward New Destinations, which involve all members of the greater Cornell community and those with whom the institution is formally and informally engaged.  

Please join us as we move forward.

Best regards,

David J. Skorton,