SIPS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council

The SIPS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council is open to anyone in the SIPS community who would like to participate in building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community in the school.  New voices and viewpoints are always welcome.

The council has hosted workshops, community events, and built the groundwork for mentorship programs and instituted travel awards for graduate students. Much of the work is carried out through an active Slack channel and a monthly council meeting via Zoom.

Below is our mission statement and a list of current working groups along with action items currently in progress or for future pursuit. 

To join our Council, please submit a short paragraph of why you would like to join, and areas of interest. Each Council member is expected to join at least one working group. (Areas of interest do not have to correspond to the groups below.)

Chelsea Specht, SIPS Associate Director for Faculty Development, Equity and Inclusion, chairs the SIPS DEI Council. Please send any inquiries or interest in joining our Council to sips-dicouncil [at] (sips-dicouncil[at]cornell[dot]edu).

SIPS DEI Council Mission

The SIPS DEI Council will foster diversity and inclusion and specifically promote an anti-racist culture in SIPS. Specifically, the Council will:

  • Listen to and amplify voices, interests, and concerns of marginalized members of our community;
  • Identify barriers to diversity and inclusion;
  • Investigate best practices for recruiting and retaining members of under-represented groups; advise the Director and Executive Committee on policy and structural changes to remove barriers and promote diversity;
  • Identify and advertise educational opportunities and resources centering on diversity and inclusion;
  • Assist in implementing holistic admissions and recruitment best practices, and curate and communicate data on outcomes
  • And provide support and advocacy for meaningful grassroots initiatives.

​​​The Council will coordinate efforts with the Cornell  University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Graduate School Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement, and other relevant entities.

SIPS DEI Council Working Groups

Graduate student working groups
  • Retention & Recruitment subgroup goals
    • Keep funding graduate students and post docs to attend EDI conferences.
    • Define the A exam to prepare students and faculty equally.
    • Encourage students to take Doctoral experience survey. 
    • Hold graduate student support meeting - “conversations that connect us.” 
    • Potentially be involved with planning graduate student EDI professional development activities.
  • Community & Education subgroup goals
    • Hold annual seminar/workshops help by the OFDD.
    • Invite a speaker to be a part of SIPS plenary talks and talk about science behind EDI in a sociological context.
    • Keep/start open conversations with the section chairs and the DGS.
    • Collaborate with moonshot writers to include EDI goals.
  • United Goals
    • Draft proposal for annual funding from SIPS.
    • Update website to reflect what we are doing and to be a resource for staff/students.
Curriculum development and review working group
  • Review Cornell DEI rubric - Faculty hiring rubric for Cornell.
  • Expand instructor training opportunities.
  • Sponsor teaching-related seminars.
  • Survey curriculum for SIPS courses that do (or could) meet new CALS learning objectives.
Academic support, technical and custodial staff working group
  • Find out more about staff recruitment practices.
  • Compare demographics of hiring region compared to actual staffing –what are the key differences? How do we engage other key stakeholders?
  • How to engage groups that support all of SIPS but are managed through other entities (e.g., building care employees).
  • What is the understanding of DEI among staff?
Faculty recruitment, promotion and support
  • Review current practice for faculty hiring across sections-document baseline. Explore outreach efforts, selection committee selection, rubrics, integration of D&I etc.
  • Explore possibility to bring in a SIPS level recruitment for D&I statements to be included in P&T processes. Review leadership and committee formation processes more broadly (renewal committees, chair positions etc.)
  • Collate a short resource guide for all faculty, not just search committees to link to CALS level resources.
  • Discuss with Yael/Chelsea on metrics and outcome targeting.
  • In regards to promotion and tenure - make a D&I statement and list of D&I activities a required part of a dossier.
Faculty and postdoc recruitment, promotion and support working group
  • Analyze hiring process and how that affects the diversity of science.
  • How does bias affect hiring of postdocs?
Communications working group
  • What is best practice for posting SIPS DI Council Updates?
  • How to best utilize SIPS website?
Trainings, events, seminars (includes educational resources and outreach)
  • Maintain a list of event/ training session held at Cornell on the topic of diversity and Inclusion relevant to SIPS.
  • Organize SIPS specific events/training.
Disability Awareness Working Group
  • Investigate ways to make hiring/recruitment a positive experience at Cornell.
  • Incorporate more resource information into the onboarding process.
  • Address long-term/chronic impacts of illness that start with an acute phase (long-term COVID, chronic Lyme Disease).
  • Webpage: creation of a page on the SIPS website that provides information and resources related to disability issues.
  • Accessibility seminar for SIPS community.