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College of Arts and Sciences

A Commitment to Equity

Beyond “… any person … any study”

The College of Arts & Sciences embodies Cornell University’s founding principle:

plaque reading any person any study

"I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."

- Ezra Cornell, 1868

But a diverse student body and a breadth of academic pathways is not enough – all students also need to feel valued, respected, heard, intellectually challenged and encouraged to grow once they arrive at Cornell. This requires a commitment to an equitable and just institution that encompasses our entire community of students, faculty and staff.

Here are some of the ways we express our commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity and justice.

University-Wide Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives

We embrace Cornell University’s core values and we are committed to the institutional initiatives put forth by the university’s Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate and the Provost’s Task Force to Enhance Faculty Diversity. The eight main tenets of this plan feature changes in culture, policies and priorities; a commitment to increasing the diversity of the university’s faculty and staff; and a promise to enhance the student experience to support social belonging and wellness.

The College of Arts & Sciences is also actively involved in Belonging at Cornell, an institutional framework designed to track measurable progress toward making Cornell a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. Metrics included in this framework are based on a sense of belonging, fairness, a net promotor score, turnover rates and proportionate hiring rates.

A Curriculum that Emphasizes Culture, Language, Social Difference & Global Citizenship

Beginning in Fall 2020, all incoming Arts & Sciences students will take part in a new curriculum focused on exploration of humanity’s wide diversity of knowledge and culture. Changes to the curriculum include new distribution requirements of social difference and global citizenship, as well as a continued commitment to culture and language.

All of our departments in the humanities and social sciences offer courses that are specifically designed to meet these requirements, as well as diversity requirements in the curricula of other colleges and schools at Cornell. Here are a few examples:

Academic Programs Dedicated to the Study of Identity, Inequality & Social Justice

Arts & Sciences is home to most of the academic programs at Cornell that focus on the study of class, race, ethnicity, indigeneity, nationality, language, religion, gender, sexuality, and ability.

Our college is home to the first Africana studies program in the country, as well as the first women’s studies program and the first Asian-American studies program in the Ivy League.

The American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program is housed in CALS; however, Arts & Sciences faculty teach in the program and our students can take courses or minor in AIISP. A&S students can also take courses through the Disability Studies Program in the ILR School.

Jewish Studies

With a Jewish studies minor, you’ll study the world of Jewish culture — one of the major crossroads of civilization and history — from the perspective of multiple disciplines. Jewish studies courses cover topics including Semitic languages and Hebrew bible; medieval and modern Hebrew literature; European and Middle Eastern Jewish history from the ancient period through the 20th century; dynamics of migration, diaspora and community; the figure of the Jew in modern politics and literature; and Holocaust studies.

Inequality Studies

Through its core requirements, the Minor in Inequality Studies  exposes students to the breadth of the social scientific literature on inequalities in many different social and economic goods (e.g., income, wealth, education, health, political power, social status, job security) and across many sources of difference (e.g., class, race and ethnicity, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation and identity, age, geographic location, or political and economic systems). Electives, which are offered across 30 departments in the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences, allow students to tailor their studies to their particular interests. The Minor in Inequality Studies is open to any student in any major. 

The Minor’s Health Equity Track allows interested students to focus their studies further on the social causes and consequences of inequalities in life expectancy, health outcomes, health-promoting behaviors, and access to health care. The Health Equity Track offers excellent preparation for students who are interested in careers in medicine, public health, social science research, or public policy.

The institutional home for the minor is the Center for the Study of Inequality.

Crime, Prisons, Education & Justice

With a minor in Crime, Prisons, Education, and Justice, you’ll have an unparalleled opportunity to learn why the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and how race, class, politics, history, gender, inequality, and law relate to mass incarceration in the United States.

Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies

As a feminist, gender & sexuality studies major, you’ll have the opportunity to study a wide range of fields from the perspectives of feminist and LGBTQIA critical analysis, in a global context and with the purpose of promoting social justice. You’ll use the skills you learn in these classes to engage with such disciplines as anthropology, performing and media arts, English literature, Africana studies, comparative literature, Romance studies, music, Asian studies, industrial and labor relations (ILR), science and technology studies, sociology, government, history, history of art and many more.

Sample Courses

  • Spoken Word, Hip-Hop Theatre and the Politics of Performance
  • Food, Gender, Culture
  • Intersection of Feminist Theory and Practice: Migrant Families in Detention
  • Sexual Politics of Religion

Post-Graduate Outcomes

All information below is based on the 2014-2018 First-Destination Post-Graduate Survey. Lists are not exhaustive; rather, they are a sampling of the data. 
"Other" includes time off, travel, volunteer experiences, and/or preparing for graduate school.
If you would like to more information, please email

More than 4/5 of 2014-2018 FGSS graduates reported being Employed or Attending Graduate School, with the majority being Employed.

70% of the Class of 2014-2018 FGSS graduates completed the survey. n = 23

Below, you will find:

  • Top Employment Sectors
  • Where Graduates Work
  • Top Graduate Fields
  • Where Graduates Study

Top Employment Sectors

  • Education
  • Other Nonprofit Organization
  • Government
  • Communication/Media
  • Law
  • Technology

Where 2014-2018 FGSS Graduates Work

Employer Job Titles
City of Austin Health &Human Services Dept.  Communicable Disease Program Coordinator
City Year Corps Member
Cornell University Public Health Fellow
Dipont Education Teacher
DRUM South Asian Organizing Center Volunteer Management VISTA
Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill Program Coordinator
Fresh Start Research Intern
Miller Mayer LLP Immigration Legal Assistant
New York City Government Development Assistant
Peace Corps Health Educator
Shore Fire Media Publicity Coordinator
TEKsystems Compliance Auditor
The Ellen DeGeneres Show Production Assistant
The Hillbrook School Teacher
United States Army 2nd Lieutenant

Top Graduate Fields Pursued

  • English
  • English Language & Literature
  • Law
  • Communication
  • Nursing

Graduate Degrees Pursued

  • PhD
  • JD
  • MA
  • MSN

Where 2014-2018 FGSS Graduates Study

  • Emory University
  • New York University
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Maryland-College Park
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Vanderbilt University

Faculty at the Forefront of Related Research, Scholarship & Creative Works

Across our departments and programs, faculty members are leading their fields in research on diversity, equity and justice. Our community benefits from their knowledge and expertise.

Jamila Michener, Associate Professor of Government and Co-Director of the Cornell Center for Health Equity, discusses the Affordable Care Act through the lenses of race and politics.

Student-Centered Teaching Innovation that Closes Achievement Gaps

The Active Learning Initiative

Initially founded in the College of Arts & Sciences, the ALI has now expanded university-wide.

“Active learning benefits everyone, but the biggest beneficiaries of this innovative educational approach are often students who arrive at college educationally disadvantaged. For those who went to a poorly funded high school, which is too often the case for first-generation students and under-represented minorities, active learning can level the playing field, allowing them to close achievement gaps. Not only is active learning a way to help all students, it's also a way to reduce inequality.”

- Peter Lepage, Tisch Distinguished Professor and director of the Active Learning Initiative 

First Year Advising Seminars

After two successful pilot years, all incoming Arts & Sciences students now take a first year advising seminar to help them adjust to life at Cornell.

“The advising seminars give students a comfortable space in a small group setting to ask questions of their faculty advisor who cares about their well-being and who’s ready to help them adjust to Cornell.”

- Bonnie Comella, assistant dean and director of advising

Enhanced Opportunities & Funding for Historically Underrepresented Students

The college is committed to developing and supporting its myriad programs that provide enhanced academic opportunities for historically underrepresented and first-generation students.

Faculty Diversity & Equity Committee

The faculty-elected Diversity and Equity Committee seeks to identify areas in which equity and diversity require specific consideration to bring to the attention of the Dean. These areas include hiring and retaining a diverse faculty; ensuring continued efforts to maintain an inclusive environment in departments, classrooms and extra-curricular activities; promoting equitable assessments, support and recognition of under-represented minority faculty; ensuring that faculty find relevant information and help on these issues; and that faculty-generated initiatives on diversity and equity get the attention they deserve from different programs and administrative units in the College to implement them. 

Professor Term Discipline

Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ, Associate Professor, English

07/19 - 06/22


Simone Pinet, Professor of Spanish and Medieval Studies, Romance Studies

07/19 - 06/22


Lawrence Gibbons, Professor, Physics

07/19 - 06/22

Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Laurent Saloff-Coste, Abram R. Bullis Professor of Mathematics

07/20 - 06/23

Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Kendra Bischoff, Assistant Professor, Sociology

07/20 - 06/23

Social Sciences

Jamila Michener, Associate Professor, Government

07/20 - 06/23

Social Sciences

Learn More & Take Action

Public Engagement Programming

In partnership with the American Studies Program, the College has launched a year-long webinar series, Racism in America, featuring faculty experts and journalist moderators exploring the far-reaching impacts of institutional racism.

The College has also partnered with the Department of English and the Africana Studies and Research Center to produce a yearlong Arts Unplugged series honoring Toni Morrison, M.A. '55, our beloved alumna and literary icon, on the 50th anniversary of her first book, "The Bluest Eye."

Anti-Racism Resources

The Office of Faculty Development and Diversity has shared a list of Resources to Engage in Conversations About Race and Anti-Racism and the Cornell Library has created an online guide about anti-racism.

Diversity, Equity & Identity Resources for our Community

For Faculty | For Staff | For Students | For Alumni, Parents and Friends

Visit this page to report an incident of bias.