The chief diversity officer of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Prof. David Wooten, marketing, confirmed with The Sun that he has resigned and left Cornell at the end of June, concluding his short one-year tenure at the business college.
Wooten, who was the faculty diversity chair and professor of marketing at the University of Michigan before coming to Cornell in July 2017, assumed the inaugural position of associate dean of diversity and inclusion in the business college. He was also a professor of marketing in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.
Wooten’s wife, Prof. Lynn Perry Wooten, management and organization, will stay as dean of the Dyson school, he told The Sun in an email.
Wooten said that he chose to leave Cornell — and return to his previous teaching role at the University of Michigan — because of a “combination of personal and professional reasons,” which he did not elaborate on.
Looking back at his time at Cornell, Wooten said that his best experience was co-chairing the Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate and working with the diversity and inclusion team in the business college, in both of which he said he had the chance to work with “capable and committed” people.
“It was an incredible opportunity to work with some amazing students, faculty, and staff who were willing to volunteer their time for the good of Cornell,” he said. “It also enabled me to learn a lot about Cornell in a relatively short period of time.”
At the same time, Wooten said his early departure left “unfinished business” for his team to achieve “any person, any study” in the college but that they are “moving in the right direction.”
“Our take on ‘any person, any study’ is that we should be the kind of place that takes people from everywhere and prepares them to lead anywhere,” he said in the email. “My team and I were just beginning to think about what needs to happen for us to get there.”
Wooten’s position is succeeded by Prof. Todd Schmit M.S. ’94, Ph.D. ’03, applied economics and management.
Schmit, who officially assumed this position on July 1, told The Sun in an email that he plans to expand the scale of currently planned programs on diversity and inclusion while working on college-wide initiative that promotes collaboration between the diversity and inclusion teams in all three schools under the business college.
“As you know, the College of Business is relatively new and, while the D&I staff in the three schools are doing excellent work, understanding how a college-level partnership can further develop those efforts is a work-in-progress,” he said.
When asked about what needs improving in the business college, Schmit said he finds it important to build a “strong and inclusive” climate that will improve recruitment efforts for women and underrepresented minority faculty, staff and students.
“College and school efforts to enrich, engage, and educate internal and external constituents in all areas of diversity and inclusion, including gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, remain a top priority,” Schmit said.
“However, recruitment efforts will be more successful, when we create a climate of inclusion that recognizes everyone’s contributions,” he continued. “We want them to feel valued and stay!”