Fiscal year 2014 achievements set the tone for 2015

Fiscal year (FY) 2014 was busy and productive for the diversity effort in DFA and CIT. We saw collaboration with other units and growth for every goal, and we’ve set the stage for even more growth in FY 2015. Let’s take a look back at what we have achieved and where we are headed.

FY 2014 Student Intern Program

Using feedback from participants, we improved the recruiting and hiring process. We started the process earlier, and attracted a larger pool of candidates through social media and by marketing the program in person at the Cornell Store.

We also added…

  • More students. We increasing the number hired from 10 in FY 2013 to 16, including a graduate student.
  • More department participation. Ten units within the organization sponsored an intern, whereas only six participated in FY 2013.
  • More collaboration. Meetings provided opportunities to interact with interns from Facilities as well as department staff members, who gave presentations.
  • More interaction. We hosted a bowling social just after students arrived to encourage networking between the interns early in the program.

At the end of the summer, the interns presented summaries of their work to members of senior leadership. See photos from the closing meeting.

Three interns returned for positions within the organization after the summer program was over, and the students’ summer supervisors provided references to assist interns with obtaining permanent employment.

FY 2015 Student Intern Program

We will review feedback from last year’s participants to determine if we can make further improvements We will continue with  several enhancements for this year’s program:

  • Earlier recruitment and hiring of the interns
  • Additional advertising with different constituents
  • Formalized expectations for both the interns and supervisors
  • Detailed instructions for supervisors to help quickly acclimate the interns
  • More activities for the interns
  • Streamlined internal processes

FY 2014 Diverse Supplier Engagement

This particular goal has more of a university-wide impact than the others do. Efforts toward this goal have helped significantly in shifting Cornell’s spending from non-diverse to diverse suppliers. Cornell spent $28.2 million with diverse suppliers in FY 2012. Spending increased to $32.2 million in FY 2014, and the growth trend is continuing.

Procurement Services provided to 12 chosen diverse suppliers leads and introductions to influential campus customers. Of those 12 suppliers, 65% increased their revenues by $1,007,671 combined. Six Cornell units (DFA, CIT, College of Veterinary Medicine, University Libraries, Statler Hotel Administration, and the President’s office) have declared increasing spending with diverse suppliers as one of their Belonging at Cornell goals.

Procurement Services further sought to advance this goal in several ways:

  • Improving ways to identify diverse suppliers, including those who are New York state-certified, for every payment method
  • Hosting an event to introduce the targeted diverse suppliers to campus
  • Collaborating with the Johnson Graduate School of Management (JGSM) to provide consulting to five of the targeted suppliers, enabling business growth with Cornell and other constituents

FY 2015 Diverse Supplier Engagement

Identifying all the diverse suppliers that provide goods and services to Cornell is a priority for the future, and projects are under way to improve the process, including the following:

  • Collecting diverse supplier identification information on all payment methods
  • Automating the diverse supplier identification process

Continuing efforts include the following:

  • Working with campus units to increase spending with New York state-certified diverse suppliers
  • Holding workshops to help key suppliers fast-track New York State certification
  • Increasing the number of targeted diverse suppliers
  • Collaborating with JGSM on  projects to help diverse suppliers improve their businesses.  Suppliers who participated last year, as well as other suppliers with new projects will participate in the program.

FY 2014 Diversity Training

We developed a training session specifically for DFA and CIT in collaboration with the Cornell Interactive Theatre Ensemble (CITE), which conducted the training. To raise awareness of diversity and its impact on all individuals, actors provided scenes of situations that can occur in the workplace. Afterward, CITE facilitated dialogue to get thoughts from the attendees on what they saw and felt during the presentation.

We held five training sessions, and 511 individuals attended in all. We provided live streaming to allow remote worker participation.

Of the feedback survey respondents, 99% reported a positive experience. The training was so successful that members of Human Resources asked to participate, and the training might be adapted for the entire campus.

FY 2015 Diversity Training

We plan to expand on two key concepts that were introduced last year: micro-inequities and unconscious bias. We will structure training sessions to provide supervisors with tools to help manage an ongoing dialogue around diversity and inclusion. CITE again will assist in facilitating the training to smaller groups to allow even more dialogue.  It is expected the training will be held in February and March, 2015.

FY 2014 Career Development

Based on positive feedback from the initial informal networking pilot, we expanded the program to include collaboration with the Human Resources and Safety Services (HRSS) Diversity Committee. We required additional meetings between the participants, and we assisted them by setting up meetings and reminding them to follow up.

The pilot program consisted of six pairs of individuals from DFA, CIT, Human Resources, and Cornell Police. Volunteers were matched based on position responsibilities.

We issued a survey at the end of the program, and received an 83% response rate with overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Also, the formal mentoring pilot program was launched in DFA, and participants responded positively. The program kicked off last November with 17 participants. Several finance areas participated, and more pairs might be added in the next round.

FY 2015 Career Development

HRSS has agreed to participate again this year in the informal networking pilot. We plan to increase the number of individual pairings, so that we can include more individuals and possibly collaborate in the future with other units, such as Facilities.

The formal mentoring process will continue, and the kick-off is scheduled to occur soon in CIT.  Also, in DFA,  individuals from a broader range of position levels will be eligible to participate.

FY 2014 Communications

The communications subcommittee continued to report on the progress of initiatives, completing several articles on the DFA & CIT Diversity & Inclusion blog, communications for the summer intern and training programs, articles in the Pawprint and Cornell Chronicle regarding supplier diversity, and organizational communications from senior management.

Additionally, to keep the employees engaged, the subcommittee issued periodic, organization-wide communications.

FY 2015 Communications

To increase engagement and awareness of ongoing efforts, the communications subcommittee will add a quarterly update to the entire organization as a more direct communication method. Needs will continue to be evaluated by using website metrics.  In addition, an annual update will be presented to members of the DFA and CIT leadership.

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