"On the admissions front, it's been an extremely busy season, the busiest in Cornell's history," reported President Hunter Rawlings to the Cornell Board of Trustees May 26. Not only have applications jumped 35 percent in the past two years, but more students have chosen Cornell for the 2006-07 academic year than expected.
The Cornell Board of Trustees voted to elect retired Vice President for University Relations Henrik (Hank) N. Dullea as vice president emeritus, effective May 26, for serving Cornell "with distinction for over 13 years." Appointed in 1991, he was responsible for coordination and management of Cornell's communications efforts and strategies with its many internal and external publics. He provided leadership for the university's government relations programs in Washington and Albany, the Cornell News Service, the Offices of Campus Information and Visitor Relations, Communication Strategies, Community Relations, Publication Services and University Photography.
So far, Cornell's yield for next year's freshman class is 47 percent of applicants, an over-enrollment of 240 students, Rawlings said (though Alex Doonesbury of the Doonesbury comic strip has yet to make her decision).
Also reporting to the trustees was Robert Harris Jr., Cornell vice provost for diversity and faculty development, who gave his annual report on progress concerning diversity among faculty, students and staff at Cornell. "We have made progress in a number of areas," he said, "though we still have quite a bit of work to do."
The percentage of women members of the faculty at Cornell, he said, is only 0.2 percent below the Ivy League and peer institution average, although for minority faculty, Cornell is 2.5 percent below the average. Over the past decade, however, he said, while the number of faculty at Cornell has grown by only 3.4 percent, the growth in women at the senior research associate level has grown almost 33 percent. One in four tenure track faculty members at Cornell are women, but they comprise 30 percent of the senior research associates.
Harris said Cornell's percentage of women faculty members at the assistant professor level is on par with the level at other leading research institutions. Data from the Colleges of Further and Higher Education (CoFHE) show that between 1998 and 2004, women on the faculty of 30 research institutions increased by an average of 38.1 percent compared with 38.8 percent at Cornell. However, Cornell's growth in recruiting underrepresented minorities to the faculty, he said, is just slightly below the CoFHE average.
Harris was optimistic that Cornell's diversity status is poised for growth: "I think the data will improve over the next couple of years," he said.
In other news, Rawlings said that Vice President Tommy Bruce's Division of University Communications has reported a doubling in traffic on its Web sites this past year with some 3 million pages a month accessed, more than 1 million hits weekly on the Chronicle Online Web site and a doubling of Cornell mentions in the press and media to almost 36,000 hits in 2005-06.