The CIPA leadership team and student community have collectively identified a number of initiatives and activities focused on moving forward 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. 

We will update this table as progress is made - updates are marked by italic text. If you have any questions about these initiatives, please contact CIPA's Director Maria Fitzpatrick at  

*This page was last updated on March 22, 2021.

CIPA Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
Initiatives Information

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

  • Throughout the fall semester, a number of CIPA Instructional Faculty participated in the Center for Teaching Innovation’s course on “Teaching and Learning in the Diverse Classroom.”  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 for specifically for CIPA Instructional Faculty.  This learning community 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 and the group developed a series of new program outcomes around identity that are currently being considered by CIPA’s Faculty Advisory Board.
Communications Across Diverse Perspectives Course

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

  • Status Here
Incorporating More Diverse Perspectives, and Evidence On and Discussion of Racism in our Existing Courses

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.


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

  • Ongoing
Hire two Diversity and Inclusion Fellows

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

  • Three students were hired as Diversity and Inclusion Fellows in spring 2021
Acknowledging the Cayuga Nation at all events  

As a means of raising awareness of the Cayuga Nation as traditional stewards of the land we are living, studying, and working on, CIPA will begin each event with the following acknowledgment:

“We [I] begin this event by acknowledging the Cayuga Nation whose traditional territory we are gathered on. 

“We [I] wish to acknowledge this land on which Cornell University operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Cayuga Nation - members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Today, this meeting place is still home to the Cayuga and Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.” 

  • Ongoing
Diversity Internships and Engaged Learning Opportunities  

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 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.  
Launch a weekly diversity announcement series
  • 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. 
Postpone the 2020 CIPA Reunion Events

Out of respect for the victims of racial violence and injustice and the protests around the world, CIPA postponed the CIPA Reunion Director’s Happy Hour 

  • All 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.
  • The Director’s Happy Hour was delayed until October 23, 2020.
Delay release of Class of 2020 tribute video

Out of respect for the victims of racial violence and injustice and the protests around the world, CIPA delayed the release of our tribute video for the MPA Class of 2020 

  • The tribute was delayed until October 23, 2020.
Invite all MPA students to a Town Hall (June 2020)

CIPA held a Town Hall for students to discuss experiences and make concrete suggestions for how CIPA can help move forward in a progressive, inclusive way. 

  • A town hall was held on July 14, 2020, 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.