New Center Will Lead Campus Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Efforts

By President La Jerne Terry Cornish, March 23, 2023
A message from President La Jerne Terry Cornish.

Dear Ithaca College Community,

I am excited to announce the establishment of the Center for Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Ithaca College. This Center will help advance our Ithaca Forever strategic plan goal of becoming a national model for colleges committed to the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

As I stated last August at the All-College Welcome, one of my primary goals for this year was to develop an organizational structure to support the College’s commitment. Through redefining roles and repurposing resources, we have created a structure that can more effectively and more robustly address existing issues.

The new Center will:

  • Provide a coordinated, strategic, and intentional direction for the institution;
  • Build institution-wide accountability measures; and
  • Create sustainable processes and support systems that build on, learn from, and honor the long history of collective work that precedes this Center.

The Center will operate under a three-person leadership team that will include Luca Maurer and Dr. Belisa González. Luca will serve as Executive Director of Student Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, reporting to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Life; and Belisa will serve as Dean of Faculty Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, reporting to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The third member of the leadership team is still to be appointed, focusing on staff and reporting to the Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. The search for an individual to fill that comparable-level position will begin immediately.

While each team member will have a specific area of focus and portfolio of programs, they will collaborate across constituencies and the College to provide a holistic, strategic direction. The Center will be a campus-wide resource, serving in a consultative role for the institution’s equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts.

I will also be establishing a President’s Advisory Committee, with representation from across campus, in order to provide wider support for strategic initiatives.

I am especially grateful that Luca and Belisa have agreed to be a part of this new leadership team, as they possess significant expertise and have been passionately engaged in advancing our work for many years. They will begin transitioning to their new roles immediately, with the Center itself to launch on July 1, 2023.

We look forward to sharing more information as the launch date approaches. In the meantime, please join me in congratulating Luca and Belisa, and please join me in considering how you, as a member of our IC community, can assist with this essential initiative.

With gratitude,
La Jerne Terry Cornish