“I hope to bring administrative practice and scholarly fields of inquiry in the academy together to shed light on possible courses of action to strategically increase diversity and inclusion at CUNY. As an educator and university administrator, scholarship that addresses structure, governance, and fiscal constraints have to be reviewed in relation to, instead of in opposition to the development of curricular transformations, faculty, and administrative leadership. The next generation of critical thinkers must solve complex social problems locally and on a global scale in contexts that reflect the changing social and cultural landscape. The challenge put before us is to engage one another as educators and university administrators in meaningful ways in the service of our students.”

– Arlene Torres, Ph.D.

Arlene Torres, Ph.D.

History of the Mellon Initiative

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
– Nelson Mandela

Mellon Diversity Mission and Goals

The Diversity program seeks to help diversify the next generation of college and university faculty through the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) and other pipeline programs; it also aims to strengthen institutions that improve educational attainment of historically underrepresented groups.  More generally, the Diversity grantmaking area supports projects or research focused on the relationship between diversity and learning.  New areas and strengthened emphases include:

  • An initiative to increase representation of the Latino/a population in PhD programs and the professoriate
  • Programs to increase the percentage of MMUF fellows who enroll in PhD programs
  • Partnerships between strongly performing HBCUs and neighboring institutions capable of contributing to curricular enhancement
  • Support for organizations that employ traditional and non-traditional means to help colleges and universities diversify their student population
  • Research to increase understanding of diversity and efforts at diversification and inclusion

Support or co-sponsorship across program areas of projects that promote diversification or seek to advance evolving understandings of diversity’s role in democratic societies.

CUNY Diversity Vision Statement

The City University of New York has long been recognized as one of the most diverse university systems in the nation. The University aims to enhance its national standing by continuing to build a diverse community that enriches its academic environment.

The University’s unwavering commitment to serving students, its insistence on academic rigor, and its support of world-class faculty guide its work to foster and promote an ever more diverse community of students, faculty, and staff. This pluralistic community is fundamental to the exchange of ideas and knowledge, scholarly discourse, and the engagement of the University’s constituencies.

The University respects individuals while acknowledging the differences among them. These differences include, but are not limited to, race, national origin, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and socioeconomic status. However, to create a vibrant academic, intellectual, and cultural environment for all, the University must move beyond representation to genuine participation. Thus, the University seeks to develop a community that is inclusive of all individuals and groups. Given CUNY’s long history of proactive support for diversity and inclusion, it is uniquely positioned to build upon that strong foundation and serve as a national leader and model, exemplifying the benefits that accrue when diversity and inclusion are integral components of an institution’s educational philosophy and core mission.

The City University of New York: Building on a Strong Foundation: A Strategy for Enhancing CUNY’s Leadership in the Areas of Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Diversity Action Plan