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Siliciano and Levitte tapped to promote faculty diversity

John Siliciano
Yael Levitte

John Siliciano, senior vice provost for academic affairs, and Yael Levitte, executive director for CU-ADVANCE, have recently been appointed to lead the university's efforts to increase faculty diversity. They will also help advance the work of the University Diversity Council (UDC), which is responsible for implementation of and accountability on diversity initiatives campuswide (see related story).

Siliciano has assumed the responsibilities of the former vice provost for faculty development and will work directly with deans to ensure that their goals for faculty diversity are met. His work in dean searches, tenure and promotion decisions, and department chair trainings connects him with the colleges in ways that can help effect change where needed.

Levitte has been named to the new position of associate vice provost for faculty diversity and development, reporting to Siliciano. Together with Siliciano, she will meet with individual deans and chairs to provide guidance in setting realistic diversity goals, training search committees, broadening faculty applicant pools, increasing retention within underrepresented groups, and providing faculty development and advancement opportunities.

"The appointment of John and Yael to these positions will be crucial in ensuring that we have an excellent and more diverse faculty and faculty culture -- in terms of gender, race, ethnicity and access -- moving forward," said Provost Kent Fuchs. "They will have my full support and that of President [David] Skorton in helping implement a diversity agenda that is so important for our university's future."

Before assuming the directorship of CU-ADVANCE in 2009 to retain and advance women in science and engineering, Levitte was a senior research associate in the ILR School, 2007-09, and a visiting assistant professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning, 2003-07. She earned a Ph.D. in economic geography from the University of Toronto in 2003. In 2009 she was awarded a National Institutes of Health grant (with Cornell's Sharon Sassler and Jennifer Glass of the University of Texas-Austin) to study the entry and retention of women in the sciences. Levitte also garnered Cornell's Cook Award in 2010 for her commitment to women's issues and improving the climate for women at Cornell.

"From her work in CU-ADVANCE, Yael brings to her new position a proven record of enhancing diversity in traditionally homogenous areas and improving the academic climate for women in those areas," said Siliciano. "I look forward to working with her to effect similar measurable results in the broader areas of diversity campuswide, helping educate members of the Cornell community in the university's needs for a diverse teaching and research population, and bringing her working knowledge of best practices to advance this important strategic goal," he said.


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