Diversity, Inclusion, & Accessibility
Cornell University is a place where we develop intercultural skills and use them everywhere -- throughout our diverse campus groups, with our community partners, within our classrooms and in our workplaces. Here, we recognize that people with diverse backgrounds and experiences bring great value to education, discovery, creativity, and engagement which is reflected in our long history of diversity and inclusion.
In the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS), we take pride in the ways in which our land grant mission calls us to address the needs of diverse stakeholders as well as our long tradition of international engagement. However, we are continuing to actively work at identifying barriers faced by underrepresented groups among faculty, staff, and students. (For more insights on the benefits of a diverse working environment, read Katherine Phillips' article in Scientific American, How Diversity Makes Us Smarter and other readings in the Readings/resources section below.)
Our goal is to insure that SIPS provides a welcoming environment where individuals can bring their diverse backgrounds and experiences to our collective task of finding science-based solutions to the world's challenges.
SIPS Diversity and Inclusion Council update
Learn more about the latest activities of our Diversity and Inclusion Council and discover new ways to incorporate diversity and inclusion issues into your daily life from the Cornell AgriTech Diversity and Inclusion Bulletin.
- March 13, 2023: Celebrating neurodiversity
- February 14, 2023: Cornell’s first Black woman graduate
- February 4, 2023: Language bias
- November 27, 2022: Names matter
Inaugural Turner Fellows advance global food security
Eight graduate students from 1890 land grant institutions across the United States have been selected as part of the inaugural cohort of Thomas Wyatt Turner Fellows at Cornell University. (View Meet the Fellows video below.) Representing a wide range of research specialties relevant to advancing global crop improvement — from plant and environmental sciences to nutrition and public health — the fellows bring a holistic lens to the most pressing threats facing global food security. Hosted by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement, fellows will spend one academic year at Cornell, taking courses and engaging in research with a Cornell faculty mentor that will drive advancement in crop improvement to reduce malnutrition and hunger and provide equitable benefits to women and youth. Read more.
Diversity, Inclusion, & Accessibility resources
Since 2000, Cornell University has had a program to track bias that is occurring on all campuses in an effort to be proactive in creating an inclusive climate for all. The Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity is responsible for collecting and tracking all reported bias activity that occurs at Cornell University that could potentially impact our commitment to diversity and inclusion, including all reports made by faculty, staff, students, and visitors to the Ithaca, Weill Cornell Medicine, and Cornell Tech campuses. If you have seen, heard, or experienced bias, you can make a report here:
- Thomas Wyatt Turner Fellowship - Supports graduate students from 1890 institutions to become next-generation leaders in inclusive and sustainable agricultural development through a robust mentorship program and technical training at Cornell University.
- Eloy Rodriguez Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Conference Travel Award - Broadens connections and recruitment of graduate students from groups historically excluded from STEM by supporting the presence of Cornell students and postdocs at key DEI events and conferences.
- Allies for Indigenous Reconciliation Workshops Funds - Check back for more information Spring 2023. Meantime, visit the CU&ID website.
- MANRRS - Scholarships promote academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences.
- SACNAS conference scholarship - Advances Chicano/Hispanic and Native Americans in science.
- Ford Foundation Fellowships - Seeks to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.
- HHMI Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study - Provides awards to pairs of dissertation advisers and their graduate students based on what HHMI values and considers essential components of the environment, particularly the institution and adviser’s commitment to creating a healthy academic ecosystem and the student’s potential for scientific leadership.
- NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology (PRFB) - Broadening participation of groups underrepresented in biology.
- Building Allyship Series - April 2023, Cornell University Graduate School.
- Advancing DEI at Cornell - Six online modules to be completed within one year from the first day of employment.
- Why are people protesting? - CULearn module provides a historical context for the current reaction to recent killings of black people in America. Covers institutional racism, how it manifests and impact on the greater community.
- How can I support my Black colleagues right now? - CULearn module delves into allyship and what it means to be an ally. Cover what anti-racism means and how to engage meaningfully in advancing equity in our work and daily lives.
- Intergroup Dialogue Project - Short course for graduate students.
- Resources for Engaging in Conversations About Race and Anti-Racism - Office of Faculty Development and Diversity.
- Mentorship resources for graduate and postdoctoral students - CALS Diversity & Inclusion website.
- Resources for students and post-docs at Cornell - Belonging at Cornell Diversity and Inclusion website.
- Diversity Policies and Initiatives - Belonging at Cornell Diversity and Inclusion website.
- Resources for students, staff, and faculty in need of assistance - Student and Campus Life
- Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX
- Cornell Graduate School Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement (OISE)
- Cornell University diversity dashboard
Cornell's Accessibility Services page provides accessibility information for faculty/staff, students, and visitors including:
- Assistive technology for classes and meetings
- Accessible dining and library details
- Contacts to report a physical barrier to accessibility
- Accessible meeting and event checklist
- Contacts for the ADA Coordinator Team
- Resources for obtaining accommodations at Cornell
Readings and other resources
- Microaggressions in Science
- White Academia: Do Better - Jasmine Robert
- Cognitive Reserve and Racial Privilege in STEM - Mélise Edwards
- Lab heads should learn to talk about racism - Nature, 2018
- To Learn Inclusion Skills Make it Personal - Nature, 2020
- Science has a racism problem - Cell, 2020
- Anti-racism in the Outdoors - Campus Nature Rx website, compiled by Don Rakow
- Uprooting Racism in the Food System - Training from Soul Fire Farm
- Leah Penniman: Farming While Black: African Diasporic Wisdom for Farming and Food Justice - SIPS seminar video
This statement on June 3, 2020 is from then SIPS director Christine Smart, the SIPS Executive Committee and Directors of Graduate Studies, detailis SIPS commitment to racial justice:
Dear SIPS Community,
Like many of you, I have been following recent events in our nation. I stand with the Black community during this difficult time. I personally have felt anger, sadness, and helplessness as the racial injustice we continue to witness has made many feel unsafe, stressed and traumatized.
I, along with the Executive Committee, and the Directors of Graduate Studies of the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell stand in solidarity against all forms of racism. We condemn acts of violence and hate and commit to keeping our community safe and welcoming to all. We chose not to simply write a statement denouncing racism that will change nothing. Our community deserves better. We have a responsibility to effect change, oppose racism, and support social justice. We have challenged ourselves, as leaders of the School of Integrative Plant Science, to seed a culture of change. We have committed to the following actions:
- Work with SACNAS and MANRRS chapters to provide summer internships in plant science
- Follow up on the Diversity Audit conducted in 2017 to host listening tours with graduate students, faculty, staff and postdocs to identify barriers and remove them for a more diverse faculty, staff, and student body
- Continue funding of the Diversity Preview Weekend
- Host SIPS events, talks, training, community discussions around social justice
- Partner with Cornell AgriTech leadership to enhance diversity workshops and community discussions in Geneva
- Challenge each executive committee member to lead an activity surrounding social justice, anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion. We have devoted the July Executive Committee meeting to this discussion.
- Ensure that all members of SIPS know that diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity, and social justice are priorities for the School.
We urge each of you to take this time to reflect on racial injustice. Bring your ideas and passion and work with us to enable change.
Recent SIPS activities directed at enhanced diversity and inclusion in our community
- First SIPS Associate Director of DEI named: Chelsea Specht
- SIPS Chair of Diversity & Inclusion - September 2021: Tom Silva welcomed as SIPS Chair of Diversity and Inclusion
- Connecting in SIPS - August 2021: SIPS Diversity & Inclusion Council sponsors a discussion of Beronda Montgomery’s book Lessons from Plants
- SIPS Chair of Diversity & Inclusion - May 2020: Hale Tufan was welcomed as SIPS Chair of Diversity and Inclusion. In addition to serving on the SIPS Executive Committee she also serves on the CALS Committee for Diversity & Inclusion.
- Diversity Audit: 2017-2018 SIPS contracted with Gender at Work to conduct a gender/diversity audit to identify barriers to enhancing diversity in SIPS.
- Diversity Preview Weekend: introduces underrepresented minorities to our research programs the year before they apply to graduate school (News coverage: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
- 2021 SIPS Annual Report: See the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion section and appendix of the Annual Report for a list of activities by SIPS members
- Plant science outreach in the public schools: graduate students teach science to the elementary grades in Ithaca, Geneva, New York City
- Expanding your Horizons: graduate students, faculty and staff present lead workshops for girls in grades 7-9 (2020, 2017, 2016)
- Summer Research Scholars Program: providing undergraduate interns with the opportunity to work with faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and staff on laboratory or field-based research projects
Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York State, and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' people, past and present, to these lands and waters.
CALS Diversity and Inclusion News
After graduating with a degree in botany in 1890, Jane Eleanor Datcher taught chemistry at the first – and best – public high school in the U.S. for Black youth and helped organize regional and national networks for Black women.