A Holistic Approach to Diversity and Inclusiveness in an Academic Environment: The Cornell University Story

Lynette Chappell-Williams,
Robert L. Harris,
Gwendolyn Alden Dean,
Raymond Dalton
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Cornell University has a historical commitment to diversity and inclusiveness dating back to 1865; however, in 1999, the university began holistically addressing these issues. The collaborative, holistic approach to inclusiveness currently includes: 1. A bias response program that provides support services to individuals who have experienced bias based on any aspect of diversity. The program involves an on going collaboration between 10 offices, including the university's police department; 2. A university-wide Safe Place program to increase the awareness of issues faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and to establish an environment that is supportive and embraces this community; 3. An interactive orientation experience for all new and transfer students which provides an overview of the university's commitment to diversity and inclusiveness and allows students an experiential opportunity to discuss these issues; 4. Integration of the required federal affirmative action regulations with the university's diversity plan; 5. A Minority Student Affairs Council that examines issues and makes recommendations to the Provost regarding the recruitment, admission, enrolment, retention, and graduation of students of color; 6. The establishment of disability and religious accommodation procedures for the university community to utilize to ensure that disability and religious diversity are addressed; 7. Addressing work/life/family including how these issues impact each diverse group; and 8. Diversity awareness training for faculty and staff through an interactive theatre group to provide an opportunity to "experience" issues related to diversity. The goal of this session is to provide a "best practice" model for organizations to both foster greater diversity and inclusiveness within higher education and to enhance the capacity of higher education to better serve the needs of diverse students, staff, and faculty.

Keywords: Holistic Approach to Diversity
Stream: Organisations
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
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Lynette Chappell-Williams

Director, Office of Workforce Diversity, Equity and Life Quality, Cornell University

Lynette Chappell-Williams is currently Cornell's Director of the Office of Workforce Diversity, Equity & Life Quality where she is responsible for overseeing the university's discrimination resolution program, developing and implementing the university's affirmative action program for staff and faculty, assisting in the development of a strategic plan for the university's diversity/inclusiveness initiative, and coordinating the university's quality of life initiative for staff and faculty employees. Ms Chappell-Williams came to Cornell from George Washington University in Washington, D. C. where she was the Director of the Office of Equal Employment Activities. Ms Chappell-Williams previously held positions as Associate Vice President of Multicultural Programs and Director of Affirmative Action at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois; Manager of EEO and Employment with the Automobile Club of Michigan in Dearborn, Michigan; Staff Attorney with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D. C.; and Judicial Law Clerk with the U.S. Federal Appellate Court for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Ms Chappell-Williams obtained her law degree from The Ohio State University School of Law in Columbus, Ohio and her bachelor's degree from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Robert L. Harris

Vice Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development, Cornell University

Gwendolyn Alden Dean

Coordinator, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center

Gwendolyn Dean is the Coordinator of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center. at Cornell University. She came to Cornell in December 1998 as the LGBT RC's third coordinator. Previously, she worked on lgbt issues at Stanford University and Emory University. She was the Chair of the National Consortium of Directors of LGBT Resources in Higher Education from 2001-2003 and sat on the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's National Policy Roundtable.

Raymond Dalton

Cornell University

Raymond Dalton administrator/educator Cornell University 15 years. Leads in the development of minority education, recruitment, retention. Teaches Art as multicultural experience; former member of the Dr Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Foundation.

Ref: D05P0294