The 2023-24 FAN Fellows, from left: Anthony Burrow, Anindita Banerjee, Iftikhar Dadi, Tara Holm, Gerlinde Van de Walle and Jocelyn Rose.

Banerjee named Mellon Fellow in diversity network

A consortium of 13 research institutions, including Cornell, participating in the Ivy+ Faculty Advancement Network (FAN) to promote diversity and inclusion in the American professoriate, received a $1.5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch the Ivy+ Mellon Leadership Fellows program this fall.

Anindita Banerjee, an associate professor in the Department of Comparative Literature in the College of Arts and Sciences, was selected as Cornell’s Mellon Fellow. She will participate in a two-year academic leadership and governance fellowship.

Banerjee was chosen in part for her leadership role in establishing the environmental and sustainability studies major within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and A&S. She also co-led a workshop series and an engaged-learning course on border spaces and environmental justice, supported by a grant from the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.

Banerjee joins five other Cornell faculty also selected to participate in the Ivy+ Institute for Inquiry, Equity and Leadership in the Academic Department, produced in association with eCornell. Over 10 sessions, the institute explores such topics as equitable workloads, innovative hiring practices and leading cultural change.

In addition to Banerjee, this year’s FAN Fellows include:

  • Anthony Burrow, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and associate dean for extension and outreach in the College of Human Ecology;
  • Iftikhar Dadi, the John H. Burris Professor of History of Art, and chair of the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, A&S;
  • Tara Holm, professor and chair in the Department of Mathematics, A&S;
  • Jocelyn Rose, professor and director of the School of Integrative Plant Science, CALS; and
  • Dr. Gerlinde Van de Walle, professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and interim director of the Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Our faculty will meet with peers from other institutions – both in person and online – and explore a series of inquiries examining campus and department climate and how to make their departments and institutions more equitable,” said Yael Levitte, senior associate vice provost for faculty development and diversity.

This is the second cohort for the Ivy+ FAN fellowship.

“When you create the environment where everyone has opportunity to express their views, faculty are more likely to buy into the outcome,” said Chris Xu, the IBM professor of engineering and director of the School of Applied and Engineering Physics in Cornell Engineering, who participated in the first cohort. He credits the program with honing his skills to nuance effective conversations around faculty hiring.

Last year’s cohort delved into the importance of establishing effective faculty mentoring practices and is now implementing practices and policies to ensure that service and teaching burdens are equitably designed, Levitte said.

“The institute’s filmed learning lectures and accompanying materials from eCornell are available to the FAN Members and are an excellent resource for further leadership development on each campus,” said Avery August, deputy provost. “We’re very happy that this program, facilitated by our own eCornell, is part of a broader effort to develop current and future academic leaders.”

Lori Sonken is the communication and program manager in the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity.

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Lindsey Knewstub