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Support for Faculty Search Committees

In 1868, Cornell’s founder stated “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.” Over 150 years later, Cornell faculty, staff and students still strive to welcome students from all walks of life, without regard to income, race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender or perceived physical disability. For more than 150 years, talented scholars representing the full spectrum of humanity have received a world-class education and opportunities at Cornell.

Our students come from all 50 states and 166 countries, nearly half of undergraduates identify as students of color, and an increasing number –including 14 percent of our freshman class in 2018 — are the first in their family to attend college.

To educate our diverse student body, we hire and invest in faculty members sharing our historical commitment to pursuing knowledge for “…any person in any study.” We seek to attract faculty who share our historical and current commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.

Every applicant for a tenure track and tenured faculty position is required to submit a Statement of Contribution to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The statement gives candidates an opportunity to describe how they currently or potentially promote diversity, equity and inclusion through their teaching, research and service, and how they would continue this work at Cornell.


Below are examples of possible teaching/research/service activities that promote diversity, equity and inclusion; the list is by no means comprehensive.

  • Creating programs that provide access and a pathway to a higher education for groups traditionally underrepresented in a field for those who have faced barriers;
  • Enhancing the learning experience in the classroom, lab and field for all students through exposure to new perspectives on cultures, beliefs and practices;
  • Describing how the candidate's teaching engages or addresses barriers to full participation in the student educational experience;
  • Explaining how the candidate's research, scholarship or creative activities contribute to understanding the barriers experienced by marginalized groups;
  • Offering research opportunities for individuals historically excluded from disciplines on the basis of their background (demographic, socio-economic status, ability, etc.);
  • Mentoring and advising students and junior colleagues to enhance opportunities for underrepresented students and junior faculty to succeed in the academy, and
  • Committing to public engagement with organizations or community groups serving marginalized populations or extending opportunities to disadvantaged people.

Faculty search committees are to evaluate the statement in the same manner as other aspects of the candidate's application. Consider whether the statement is thoughtful, well-written and sophisticated. Does it describe a vision with concrete applications? Do proposed initiatives appear to be feasible, and are they consistent with the candidate's record or potential and Cornell's values and missions?

In general, strong statements share common attributes; the statement:

  • Articulates the candidate's understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion (e.g. using data highlighting issues such as mentoring or access, ability to describe challenges and barriers);
  • Demonstrates a track record on diversity, equity and inclusion matters throughout candidate's career and as a student and educator (see examples above), and
  • Provides clear and concrete examples of how the candidate would promote diversity, equity and inclusion at Cornell University.

The Rubric Assessing Candidate on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion helps analyze a strong vs. weak statement.

The search committee is encouraged to let the candidate know about on-campus diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Listed below are suggestions to make the visit meaningful:

Contact Information

Office of Faculty Development and Diversity
122 Day Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Ph: 607.255.6867
Fax: 607.255.4672