The CIPA leadership team and student community have collectively identified a number of initiatives and activities focused on moving forward on undoing racism initiatives in a progressive, inclusive way.  Many of these initiatives were discussed in a June 2020 statement, "CIPA's Support of and Action to Strengthen Our Community" and subsequent town hall meetings. 

Progress on these initiatives is indicated by italicized text. If you have any questions about these initiatives, please contact CIPA's Director Maria Fitzpatrick at  

*This page was last updated on June 4, 2021.

CIPA Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
Initiatives & Status Information

Teaching and Learning in the Diverse Classroom & CIPA Faculty Learning Community


Achieved Fall 2020 and Ongoing

In summer 2020, we introduced the Center for Teaching Innovation’s course on Teaching and Learning in the Diverse Classroom as a requirement for all CIPA Instructional Faculty.

  • Ten CIPA Instructional Faculty participated in the Center for Teaching Innovation’s course on “Teaching and Learning in the Diverse Classroom throughout the fall semester.”  This course has an intensive curriculum designed to empower faculty with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to create more inclusive classrooms, engage students more thoughtfully around issues of social identity and self-reflection, and ensure students feel a sense of belonging across difference.  The course also requires that faculty create concrete action plans to incorporate what they learned in the course into their syllabi and teaching practices.  
  • To supplement the “Teaching and Learning in the Diverse Classroom” curriculum, CIPA Executive Director Tom O’Toole, along with Melina Ivanchikova from the Center for Teaching Innovation, organized a Faculty Learning Community around diversity and inclusion for specifically for CIPA Instructional Faculty.  These ten faculty members met weekly over the course of a month to discuss how the broad concepts and best practices learned in the course can specifically apply to the MPA curriculum and overall learning objectives.  Each faculty member who participated committed to enhancing the diversity and inclusion aspects of their syllabi. The group developed a series of new program outcomes around identity that will be discussed and reviewed by the broader faculty before they are adopted.

Communications Across Diverse Perspectives Course


Future Years

Work to develop, launch, and require a course on communications across diverse perspectives for MPA students.

  • Conversations are ongoing about the best coursework new coursework that will provide MPA students with the background to understand racism in the United States and around the world, as well as with the professional skills, including in areas of communication, strategic engagement, public administration, and leadership, to help find innovative antiracist policy solutions.  As the program becomes part of the new Cornell School of Public Policy and the University recovers financially from the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope to be able to begin offering new coursework for students in this important area.

Incorporating More Diverse Perspectives, and Evidence on and Discussion of Racism in our Existing Courses


Commenced and Ongoing

Throughout the fall 2020 semester, CIPA opened surveys as another platform for obtaining feedback on diversity and inclusion from our community.  Instructional Faculty responded to share their views on their current syllabi and teaching practices, and their plans for how they were going to shift practices to incorporate more content on racial justice in the future.  This survey allows us to provide students with information about antiracist topics and inclusive practices in the PADM courses.  It also allows us to chart progress on our shared goals of incorporating more racism and public policy material, diverse perspectives, and inclusive practices in coursework.


Concurrent with our Instructional Faculty survey, we opened a survey asking students to provide feedback on a range of topics, including their assessment of the inclusiveness of the program and their colleagues, how the current MPA curriculum handled diversity and inclusion, and whether they had any ideas or thoughts on how the program and our instructors might improve.  

  • In Spring 2022, PADM 5118: Leadership for Public Affairs will be taught through a DEI lens.

Hire two Diversity and Inclusion Fellows


Achieved in Spring 2021 and Scheduled to Hire DE&I Fellows in Fall 2021

In October 2020, CIPA announced that it was hiring two Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellows for the spring 2021 semester. 

  • Three students were hired as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellows in spring 2021.  They have been working with CIPA leadership to recruit a more diverse pool of students by reaching out directly to diverse communities (e.g., networking with HBCUs); conduct a survey of student perspectives and experiences; launch a new Canvas site as a resource for communication, discussion, and providing students with materials; work with instructional faculty to engage on topics of racism and offer more diverse perspectives and inclusive classroom experiences, and host events where the CIPA community can share their perspectives and learn from one another.

Acknowledging the Cayuga Nation at all events


Commenced in 2020-2021 Academic Year and Ongoing

As a means of raising awareness of the Cayuga Nation as traditional stewards of the land we are living, studying, and working on, CIPA leadership committed to beginning each event with a land acknowledgment.

  • In the 2020-2021 academic year, CIPA used a land acknowledgment at the beginning of gatherings, ceremonies, and events. 
  • In spring 2021, Cornell University shared a new land acknowledgment, stating that its Ithaca campus is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ', also known as the Cayuga Nation. The leadership of the traditional Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' has endorsed the statement. 
    • “Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state, and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' people, past and present, to these lands and waters.”
  • CIPA will continue to use this land acknowledgment at the beginning of gatherings and events and encourage its inclusion on our website, course syllabi, and other materials.

Diversity Internships and Engaged Learning Opportunities


Commenced in Fall 2020 and Ongoing

Launch a fundraising effort to support a summer project for a student working on racial justice and public policy issues

  • CIPA's Director seeded the fund with a donation for one student project.
  • A number of students have started proposing internships and independent research projects to CIPA, and our Consulting and Capstone instructors have also developed new projects around diversity and inclusion for students to work on.

The hiring of diverse faculty and staff



We are continuing our commitment to using best practices to avoid allowing bias to affect hiring decisions by working with the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity and Human Resources.

  • This work is ongoing.  We are preparing to launch new searches later this year and will work to recruit from diverse communities and avoid bias in the recruitment and assessment process.

Launch a weekly diversity announcement series


Achieved and Ongoing


CIPA sends a weekly diversity email series to the CIPA Community. 

  • A weekly series on race and equality was emailed to the CIPA Community by CIPA's Director.  The email includes recent articles, events, and resources.
  • The series was migrated to CIPA's Diversity and Inclusion Canvas site in February 2021. Articles, podcasts, and other materials can be sent to CIPA's Diversity & Inclusion Fellows to be shared on the platform. 

Hold a series of community conversations to discuss experiences and make concrete suggestions for how CIPA can move forward in a progressive, inclusive way. 


Commenced in July 2020 and Ongoing

We have hosted a series of ongoing conversations, starting with a Town Hall in July 2020 and continuing with a series of events and conversations, both public large conversations and smaller group conversations.

  • Out of respect for the victims of racial violence and injustice and the protests around the world in early June 2020, CIPA postponed our Reunion programming and delayed the release of our tribute video for the MPA Class of 2020.
    • All Reunion invitees were encouraged to listen to the Cornell Black Alumni Association’s and Cornell Mosaic’s webinar: A Community in Crisis: The Impact of COVID-19 on Black People in America.
    • On July 14, 2020, a town hall was held for our community to begin discussing CIPA's recent commitment to promoting racial justice through the MPA program.
  • CPAS held an impactful town hall on racial justice during the Fall 2020 orientation.
  • CIPA hosted a conversation with students about the program's diversity and inclusion work on December 14, 2020.  An update was given, and students were asked to give feedback on work thus far, priorities for Diversity Fellows, and brainstorm goals for 2021.
  • CIPA hosted an additional town hall on March 26, 2021, to discuss anti-Asian hate and violence.
  • CIPA held a racial justice and community engagement panel discussion on May 24, 2021, to discuss how the CIPA community can become better engaged with the Ithaca-Tompkins area around racial justice.

Add efforts in antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion to performance reviews of instructional faculty and staff.


Commenced and Ongoing

As a clear sign of the program's commitment to these areas, we have incorporated progress and time spent in these areas into our review of instructional faculty and staff performance and decisions about renewing contracts.