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A multi-unit group supporting Cornell University's institutional diversity planning initiative.

Achievements for 2013 Annual Initiatives; Forging ahead for 2014

We have much to report on the completion of the DFA and CIT annual initiatives for fiscal year (FY) 2013 and the current fiscal year’s plans, many of which are already under way. The following five goals help achieve the university’s institutional diversity and inclusiveness initiative, Toward New Destinations.

Progress and Upcoming Initiatives

Summer Intern Program

FY 2013 Achievements: Last year’s program included a weekly Learning Lunch series, which allowed students to engage in conversation with various senior leaders within the DFA and CIT organizations. This was also the first year that CIT and the controller’s office participated in the program. Read more about the progress on this goal.

FY 2014: Plans include adding a graduate student to the program and making improvements to the program based on feedback from the previous year.

Diverse Supplier Engagement

FY 2013 Achievements: In the past year, the university’s efforts to define and grow a diverse supplier strategy showed considerable progress. Data was collected to define strategies for increasing Cornell’s diverse supplier base, and interaction with these suppliers was promoted through a targeted showcase event and the annual Cornell Supplier Show. Read more about the progress on this goal. Also, an article in the Cornell Chronicle highlighted these efforts as an example of measurable progression toward fulfilling the university’s goals.

FY 2014: The objective continues to be encouraging units to engage diverse suppliers for purchasing needs. In addition, Cornell will work with specific diverse suppliers to increase their business with the university, and these efforts will be tracked through spending metrics. Additionally, Johnson School students will be working on projects to help some of these suppliers enhance their business operations.

In addition to DFA and CIT, four other departments  (the president’s office, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Hotel Administration, and the Cornell Library) have adopted the initiative to increase spending with diverse suppliers as part of their Toward New Destination goals.


FY 2013 Achievements: By the end of March 2013, over 600 staff members in DFA and CIT had participated in “Respect@Cornell: Eliminating Harassment and Discrimination” training, which was aimed at increasing diversity awareness and sensitivity to harassment and discrimination. Read more about the progress on this goal.

FY 2014: This year, DFA and CIT will be participating in a training program specifically designed for our organizations. This training is expected to be completed by the end of March 2014 to allow participants to identify this as an achievement on their professional development objectives for the year.

Career Development

FY 2013 Achievements: DFA and CIT have been in discussions with Human Resources to become the pilot organizations for a formal mentoring program. This initiative will help staff members to develop career opportunities and broad the skill sets of the diverse population in both divisions.

Last fiscal year, a miniature, informal version of the planned mentoring program was piloted to a small number of individuals. These DFA and CIT staff members, who normally might not interact, were paired to encourage growth and learning. Participants were asked to meet at least once, and meetings could continue based on whether participants felt the meetings were of value. Teams were given basic guidelines for the initial interaction and were asked to complete a survey following the meeting.

This pilot program completed on May 31. All seven of the teams involved provided positive feedback and agreed to continue informal networking sessions.

FY 2014: The informal networking program will likely continue for some members within DFA and CIT, with investigation into ways to collaborate with Human Resources and Safety Services to produce a broader range of participants and more opportunities for growth. Additionally, the formal mentoring process will be rolled out across DFA and CIT.


FY 2013 Achievements: The DFA and CIT Diversity Committee designated individuals to serve on a communications subcommittee, which assisted the overall effort to communicate developments in the initiatives and engage staff members from both divisions. This subcommittee developed and executed a communications strategy to help staff members stay abreast of developments. These communication efforts included developing this DFA and CIT Diversity and Inclusion website using Cornell’s Blog Service; designing and distributing informative posters to place in conference rooms and break areas; providing presentation materials for meetings held throughout both organizations; and providing a feedback mechanism for staff members to ask questions or provide comments on the initiative.

FY 2014: The subcommittee will continue its work to provide communications support for the goals of the committee, including identifying ways to encourage greater employee engagement. Additionally, the committee will share strategies with Human Resources and Safety Services to help further develop their communication efforts.

To get involved in these efforts, or to submit a question or comment regarding these five initiatives, please contact the committee at

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