Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.35
Liaison Careen Arsenault
Submission Date March 3, 2022

STARS v2.2

Cornell University
PA-6: Assessing Diversity and Equity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Toral Patel
Program Consultant
Dept of Inclusion and Belonging
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution engaged in a structured assessment process during the previous three years to improve diversity, equity and inclusion on campus?:

A brief description of the assessment process and the framework, scorecard(s) and/or tool(s) used:

In keeping with Belonging at Cornell, Cornell’s metrics-driven framework for inclusion, Cornell launched a new climate survey of faculty and staff in Spring 2020. This survey was specifically designed to create a baseline for the three key climate metrics, sense of belonging, fair treatment and willingness to recommend. Each survey question correlates with one or more of the key metrics and therefore provides a practical blueprint for increasing inclusion. To accompany the survey results, Cornell created a toolkit that explains the significance of each survey item, shows the threshold result for when corrective action should be taken and offers resources and suggested initiatives to improve on the item. The survey will be repeated biannually to assess progress.

Prior to this, A Presidential Taskforce on Campus Climate, which, in part, was charged with making specific recommendations about how Cornell can implement meaningful institutional change that leads to a campus climate that is more diverse and inclusive, and that expresses greater respect and understanding completed its work and submitted its report and recommendations. Through a review of existing policies, institutional data, focus groups, individual interviews and listening sessions in addition to external comparison and peer institution benchmarking, the three subcommittees reviewed, assessed and developed recommendations concerning the following:

Campus Experience
• What, and how well, are we currently doing to promote an inclusive campus experience for our diverse community, both inside and outside the classroom?
• How can we improve the effectiveness of the resources and systems currently in place?
• What new resources and changes should be considered as we strive to achieve real inclusion in our campus experience?
• Provide a recommendation for an ongoing mechanism that will address diversity and inclusion issues.

Regulation of Speech and Harassment
• Has the university appropriately promulgated principles and regulations that address free speech on campus as well as prohibit discrimination and harassment?
• Are the Campus Code of Conduct or other policies the right vehicle(s) for establishing such regulations and principles?
• Are we sanctioning discrimination, harassment, and related misconduct appropriately? Are enforcement mechanisms fair and clear?
• What legal mechanisms are available to the university to prevent, address and counter situations in which protected expression on campus is harmful to those vulnerable to its effects?

Campus Response
• How should the university respond to any future incidents that infringe upon our core principles, whether they are local or broader in scope?
• Do we have the right mechanisms of support, communication, and response in place or could these improve?
• What can individuals and campus groups do to counter unacceptable actions, and act as positive forces that counter harmful incidents?
• Provide a recommendation on how to measure long-term success.

Similarly, the task force that Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff launched also completed its work and submitted a report and recommendations on new approaches to enhance and accelerate the diversity of the Cornell faculty. The task force examined underrepresented faculty by race and gender. The task force:
• Researched current best practices at peer universities for hiring and retaining diverse faculty
• Identified existing programs at Cornell that have led to diverse faculty hires as well as those that have not worked
• Cited issues contributing to attrition, and
• explored areas of investment to keep Cornell competitive in the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty.

Additionally, Cornell conducts an annual workforce analysis and affirmative action plan as part of its compliance obligations as a federal contractor. This workforce analysis covers faculty and staff and considers race/ethnicity, gender, individuals with disabilities and veterans. The review involves an assessment of employment activity including hiring, promotions, terminations and pay.

Further, Belonging at Cornell is a framework designed to continue the progress towards making Cornell a more diverse and inclusive environment. Its mission is to focus our collective efforts on creating a campus community where individuals from diverse backgrounds and life experiences can both contribute and thrive. The intent of Belonging at Cornell is to improve the overall experience of faculty, staff and students, not to solve every diversity or inclusion challenge, nor eliminate the effects of respectful, but challenging discourse. Belonging at Cornell is an institutional blueprint for transformational change. Unlike other diversity and inclusion models, the Belonging at Cornell framework aligns initiatives with clearly stated institution-wide objectives and metrics to track and foster a sense of belonging, fair treatment, and recommendation score along with workforce composition and retention metrics. The institution-wide metrics are the key indicators of a diverse and inclusive climate. Their use is based on the principle that campus climate is an amalgamation of the subjective perceptions, experiences and actions of individuals, and as such, an effective model should be aimed at directly impacting these areas. Belonging at Cornell is about fostering respect and appreciation for difference, having a shared purpose and being a part of a community, while simultaneously being valued and appreciated for the uniqueness that each person brings to the community.

The university periodically surveys the climate of diversity and inclusion across all populations. Cornell conducts campus climate studies and maintains dashboards to monitor progress in the composition, engagement, inclusion and achievement of its diverse populations. These studies and assessments guide Cornell's ongoing process for improving the Cornell experience. Leadership for the respective areas (deans, vice presidents and vice provosts as applicable) are provided results of these surveys and expected to take action to address any areas of concern.

Does the assessment process address campus climate by engaging stakeholders to assess the attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of employees and students, including the experiences of underrepresented groups?:

Does the assessment process address student outcomes related to diversity, equity and success?:

Does the assessment process address employee outcomes related to diversity and equity?:

A brief description of the most recent assessment findings and how the results are used in shaping policy, programs, and initiatives:

The Belonging at Cornell survey results summary is available at the link provided.
The recommendations from the task forces have been prioritized into short-term, mid-term and aspirational goals. The findings are too numerous to detail here. However, they can be found at the provided links.

Are the results of the most recent structured diversity and equity assessment shared with the campus community?:

A brief description of how the assessment results are shared with the campus community:

A brief description of how the assessment results are shared with the campus community:

The 2020 Belonging at Cornell survey results are shared with the senior leaders, HR Directors and/or business partners and the designated diversity council leads for the respective colleges and units. Colleges and units are encouraged to own, share and act upon their results at the college/unit level.

The other periodic climate survey results are shared with the various campus governance organizations (faculty senate, employee assembly, student assembly, graduate and professional student assembly). Individual college and unit leaders receive the results for their respective colleges and units and share the results with their teams. In addition, the results are available publicly on the Institutional Research and Planning website.

Additionally, progress and updates regarding the institutional initiatives are available publicly on the diversity website. See the website linked here - https://diversity.cornell.edu/belonging.

Belonging at Cornell is a framework designed to continue the progress towards making Cornell a more diverse and inclusive environment.

Are the results (or a summary of the results) of the most recent structured diversity and equity assessment publicly posted?:

The diversity and equity assessment report or summary (upload):

Website URL where the diversity and equity assessment report or summary is publicly posted:
Website URL where information about the institution’s diversity and equity assessment efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.