November 17, 2014

EDITORIAL: Encouraging a Diverse Faculty at Cornell

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Last fall, former Provost Kent Fuchs introduced a new initiative that focuses on including more women and underrepresented minorities among Cornell faculty. Over the past year, each college has devised a specific process for accountability that works in the atmosphere of the individual college, and the measures are now officially being implemented across the University. We at The Sun commend Cornell for continuing its commitment to supporting a diverse faculty.

Diversity is an integral value at Cornell, yet while there are many measures in place to ensure a diverse student body, the faculty is much less diverse. In 2013, only 29.2 percent of faculty members were female and 7.2 percent were underrepresented minorities, according to theDiversity and Inclusion Report. These numbers represent an increase from 2010, when only 26.7 percent of faculty were women and 6.3 percent were underrepresented minorities.

This new initiative requires each college to instate “formal search accountability measures that actively engage the dean’s office — or an equivalent college-level oversight function — at key junctures in the faculty search process,” according to Yael Levitte, associate vice provost for faculty development and diversity. These key times include the initiation process, before inviting a candidate to interview, and before an offer is made.

We at The Sun feel the smaller number of underrepresented minorities, as well as women, is unacceptable. It is imperative that the University continue to monitor the makeup of the faculty and to strictly enforce the new recruitment policies. Further, we encourage the University to continue to keep this issue in mind as it moves forward, and to add and refine policies as necessary.