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Abstract Photo by Brian Suh on Unsplash

Diversity and Inclusion Council Update – September 2020

In July, Dean Colvin communicated a series of actions to promote racial justice within the ILR community. He asked for the Diversity and Inclusion Council to follow up with the community and keep you informed of our ongoing progress.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council in ILR is charged with leveraging the Belonging at Cornell framework to promote and enhance diversity, inclusion and belonging in the school. The Council sets and advances a variety of goals aligned with the Dean’s three priorities:

  1. Integrate as One ILR
  2. Drive academic excellence
  3. Enhance ILR’s impact

The Diversity and Inclusion Council members include:

  • George Boyer, Senior Associate Dean for Academics (co-chair)
  • Kara Lombardi, Assistant Dean for Student Experience and Wellbeing (co-chair)
  • Denise Brown-Hart, Assistant Dean for Human Resources (co-chair)
  • Angela Canfield, Director of Undergraduate Admissions
  • Tonya Eiklor, Human Resources Generalist
  • Daniel James, Undergraduate student
  • Jessie Mancilla, Associate Director for Multicultural Affairs, Office of Student Services
  • Julian Martinez-Moreno, Graduate student
  • Wendy Strobel Gower, Program Director, Inclusive Workplaces, YTI
  • Pam Tolbert, Lois S. Gray Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Social Sciences

Thus far, we have made some initial progress in the following areas:

  • Several actions related to the undergraduate curriculum were identified. This fall the First-year and Transfer Colloquium have the theme, “Dual Crises of 2020: Racial Injustice and the Impact of COVID-19.” New students to ILR will explore these topics through a variety of faculty lectures and assignments. A list of related courses has also been created for Fall 2020 to make it easier for students interested in exploring these topics more deeply to identify relevant courses.
  • This fall the curriculum review will continue to move forward. The recommendations include a permanent, required course on diversity and inclusion. It is expected that the review will come to a close this academic year and new course development will begin next fall. As we begin reviewing the graduate programs, diversity and inclusion will be a priority for those programs, as well.
  • In the last two years, ILR has hired 15 new faculty members. Diversity among our faculty hires has been a priority for ILR. The newest faculty members also participated in an orientation program which included a module on diversity and inclusion. While hiring is on pause due to the financial constraints of the University, once we are able, we will continue efforts to diversify the faculty.
  • Over the summer months, the Alumni Affairs & Development team focused on raising funds to support financial aid for ILR students. They also focused on development efforts for students who need assistance with summer internships, overall student experience and faculty research.
  • To better represent the undergraduate student body, the Student Government Association is reorganizing this fall to include more student engagement, with a focus on inclusion. More details on these changes are forthcoming with elections planned for later this semester.
  • A number of people in our community have volunteered to lead discussions on Ibram X. Kendi’s book, “How to Be an Antiracist.” Those discussions for faculty and staff will take place between October 15 and November 15.

The Council is currently focusing on analyzing the results of the Belonging at Cornell survey data and identifying areas of concern; suggesting programming to address the issues uncovered in the survey data, as well as other issues needing attention; and communicating these issues and our ongoing progress to the school at large.

Over the next few months, we are planning to organize a series of roundtable discussions to more deeply engage our community in driving positive change. These discussions will serve to elevate our focus and encourage action with regard to members of the ILR community who have indicated they feel marginalized as a result of their race, gender and age.

While the Council is leading the charge, we need your help to successfully create a better sense of belonging at ILR. We simply cannot do this without your involvement. We are looking for individuals to help move this important mission forward. You can volunteer to help organize these roundtables and/or contribute in other ways. Please contact any one of us or send an email to to get involved.

Thank you in advance for your support.