2021–2022 IDP Newsletter

A Word from our Executive Director

Adi speaking at podium at ILR WIDE Launch Event in NYC

Adi gives remarks at the ILR WIDE Launch Event in NYC this spring

One of IDP’s guiding principles is to always push the boundaries of “what’s possible” and to experiment with creative approaches to make change through critical human connection and dialogue. The clarity we’ve gained throughout the years around our vision and development areas encourages us to continue finding new, effective ways to address evolving needs. Our mixed-methods, ongoing assessment enables us to better understand those needs, as well as the impact of our work.
This past year our team has consistently pushed the boundaries of “what’s possible.” Working closely with leadership at the university, college, and department levels, we’ve developed meaningful collaborations and initiatives and strengthened existing programming.
Working towards sustained, innovative change, and advancing learning and action in our four development areas, is as important as it’s ever been in the context of our current reality of profound social transformation and upheaval. As always, we are grateful for the courageous and hard work of our student-facilitators, alumni, and partners. Thank you for leading and facilitating long-lasting change on campus and beyond.
15 of the Spring 2022 EDUC 2610 Facilitators stand outside the CCC building together; the graduating seniors are wearing their black and red IDP cords

Our Spring 2022 EDUC 2610 Facilitators.
Congratulations to our corded graduated seniors!

New Collaborations

A Partnership with Cornell Engineering: Academic Unit Programming

This year we have expanded and deepened our collaborations with academic units that are interested in working towards strategic change. These collaborations have led to the development of department-level, multi-phased processes for faculty, aiming to leverage dialogue to influence department culture and climate.
We are excited to collaborate with Cornell Engineering to implement this initiative with all Engineering departments. In the next year, all Engineering departments will complete a needs-assessment process with IDP and college leadership, and all faculty will participate in a six-hour, tailored program with their department. Additionally, department and college leadership will partner with IDP to continue working on unit-specific goals after faculty complete the program.
Read more about our partnership with Cornell Engineering in the Cornell Chronicle

A Partnership with the ILR School: ILR WIDE Center

IDPeople in NYC for the ILR WIDE Launch Event this Spring; From left to right: Dylan VanDuyne '18, Adi Grabiner Keinan, PhD, Victoria Phillips '17, Mitchell Gronowitz '17, Hadar Sachs '17, Kathryn Stamm '22, David Moore '22

IDPeople in NYC for the ILR WIDE Launch Event this Spring
From left to right: Dylan VanDuyne ’18, Adi Grabiner Keinan, PhD, Victoria Phillips ’17, Mitchell Gronowitz ’17, Hadar Sachs ’17, Kathryn Stamm ’22, David Moore ’22

We are embarking upon an ambitious collaboration with ILR to promote dialogue-based approaches to diversity, equity, and inclusion in both the classroom and the workplace. Made possible by a generous donation from Tim ’82 and Robin Wentworth, ILR WIDE (Workplace Inclusion and Diversity Education) will give us opportunities to innovate new pedagogy and curricula based on IDP frameworks for ILR courses, support cutting-edge research on organizational diversity and inclusion, and establish partnerships with companies so students can use their dialogue skills in workplace settings as part of their undergraduate education. We are hoping that bringing critical dialogue into organizational settings will help expand IDP’s impact and reach beyond Cornell. ILR WIDE will also give us a platform to expand IDP’s work on inclusive leadership education that began with ILRID 4675/6675. We hope to update you soon on all the initiatives and achievements that come from this new collaboration.
Read more about this initiative in the Cornell Chronicle

IDP’s First-Year Orientation Program, Community at Cornell: Four Years Later

One of the main recommendations the Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate put forth in 2018 was to institute required annual orientation sessions with IDP for all incoming undergraduate students, in which they will experience meaningful engagement with their peers and explore ways to connect and communicate across difference. In August 2018, IDP brought together over 70 IDP-trained alumni and current student-facilitators to lead almost 200 small-group sessions for all incoming students.
This year’s graduating class of 2022 is extra special to us, as they are the first graduating class to have completed the IDP orientation program, now known as Community at Cornell (CAC).
Approximately 64 Community at Cornell facilitators in 2019 stand outside of Cornells Warren Hall in matching IDP t-shirts

Community at Cornell Facilitators in 2019

Four Years of Assessment

After offering the program for the last four years, and conducting thorough assessment for the last three, we are excited to see the profound impact on students and the Cornell community. Students express seeing others in a more complex way, feeling more prepared to form meaningful connections across difference, and feeling more connected to others at Cornell.

Survey responses from each cohort of CAC participants indicate that this program provides students with an opportunity to reflect on their own and others’ social identities during their transition to Cornell. A majority of participants report that they leave the session seeing others in a more complex, nuanced way and feeling more interested in understanding their own social identities. 
“[I learned] that everyone around me is also struggling with reconciling their identity. I originally thought I was alone in thinking that I wouldn’t fit in given my “unique” identity, but speaking one-on-one with others who are feeling the same way made me realize that I’m not alone, and that I can be comfortable reaching out to everyone around me as they too are also having difficulty understanding their identities.” – Fall 2021 CAC participant 
When asked, a majority of CAC participants indicated that the skills they practiced during the session would help them form more meaningful connections across difference, and that they are more interested in forming these connections.
“I learned that connecting and communicating through shared values can help bridge differences and that acknowledging and affirming someone else’s words really adds value and meaning to a conversation.” – Spring 2021 CAC participant
For many, the session itself offers an opportunity for connection; overall, a majority of participants say that their experience in CAC made them feel more connected to others at Cornell. This can be especially profound during this time of transition.
“I realized that a lot of people around me have similar experiences, worries, and insecurities to me and that I can relate to them in more ways than I thought I could.” – Fall 2019 CAC participant
This semester, we conducted focus groups and interviews with students from all class years to better understand the long-term impacts of this program. We are still analyzing the data collected from these and will share additional findings in the future.

Partnership with the Learning Strategies Center (LSC): Transitions & Connections Summer Program for New Students

Summer 2021 marked the launch of a joint IDP/LSC program for incoming students – Transitions & Connections – which supports undergraduate students as they transition to Cornell.
Undergraduate facilitators met via Zoom with small groups of three to four new students over the summer and led conversations and activities fostering connection and supporting participants in a moment of profound transition.
Through this program, 362 incoming students gained knowledge, social connections, and a greater sense of belonging and preparedness for their transition to Cornell. When asked, a majority of participants indicated that participating in this program helped them feel more prepared for their transition to Cornell (97%) and a greater sense of belonging at Cornell (94%). They reported knowing more or a lot more about coming to Cornell, campus life, academic life, and other aspects of the student experience; and a majority of participants (79%) indicated that they made a meaningful connection to another student through this program.
We are excited to offer Transitions & Connections again this July and to apply what we learned from the pilot last summer.

New Academic Courses for Undergraduate Students

In response to student interest and enthusiasm, we are continuing to develop and offer academic courses beyond EDUC 2610: Intergroup Dialogue.

A group of facilitators in facilitator training is seated in a large circle wearing masks. One facilitator holds a microphone and the others pictured are looking at her.

Some of our facilitators in our fall 2021 pre-semester training

ILRID 4675/6675: Inclusive Leadership
In collaboration with ILR, we developed ILRID 4675: Inclusive Leadership, which we first offered in spring 2021. This course brings together the writings of activists, artists, DEI practitioners, and scholars to synthesize a vision of responsible leadership that fosters human connection and recognizes identity-based power structures. When asked about what they are taking away from the course, one student responded, “The ability to envision myself as a leader, to understand difference, and to empower myself with the words, theories and suggestions of leaders and academics such as Anzaldua, Baldwin and Hooks [sic] to lead with love and empathy.”
UNILWYL 1510: Living & Learning Across Difference

We have also seen in surveys and heard from students that they wished to have more opportunities to explore current conflicts. Partnering with Cornell’s Learning Where You Live initiative, IDP is debuting a course in which students get to spend each week dialoguing about an issue of political or social import. We hope that holding the course in residence halls (as opposed to a traditional classroom) will encourage openness and honesty.

Starting this Fall…

Exploring Purpose in Life – Identity, meaning, and direction at Cornell
13 of the fall 2021 EDUC 2610 facilitators are captured in a synchronized jump outside of Warren Hall

Fall 2021 EDUC 2610 Facilitators

This course aims to provide first-year students with the opportunity to reflect on purpose in life and how being at Cornell might impact their own experiences with identity, meaning, and direction. Participating students will be supported in developing and using critical dialogue skills to understand their experience with purpose in life and how social identities relate to their exploration of and/or commitment to purpose.

Dialogue Across Political Differences

A course for students to have genuine conversations about and across political differences, to connect with themselves and others about who they are, what they believe, and how they act as agents within political systems. Participants will gain skills for communicating effectively across differences, reflect on the impact of engaging with others whose political perspectives are different from our own, and work collaboratively to foster a “brave space” where curiosity and a willingness to understand are promoted.

Assessment Updates

IDP’s four development areas have continued to guide our assessment of each of our offerings, and, though the programs, populations, and survey instruments differ, we find common themes that help demonstrate our impact:

human connection icon featuring outline of 2 people next to each other

Human Connection

Human connection is essential in all of our offerings, and from the semester-long experience of EDUC 2610 (Intergroup Dialogue) to the hours-long experience of Community at Cornell (CAC) or an IDP workshop, 65% of participants indicated that our programming helped them feel more connected to others. As one workshop participant described it, they learned “how important shared vulnerability is to creating connections. It’s easy to forget that in a hierarchical context like academia.” 72% of participants, like this EDUC 2610 (Intergroup Dialogue) student, also report developing a greater interest in forming more meaningful connections with others: “As a result of IDP, I plan to engage in more meaningful conversations with the people who are in my life and make an effort to establish deeper human connections with the people I meet in the future.” 

human icon with 6 points extending outwards from the human

Social Identity

Exploration of personal, interpersonal, and structural manifestations of social identity are at the core of our work, and this is reflected in participants’ survey responses. For example, most West Campus staff reported thinking about their own identities in a more complex, nuanced way (74%) and feeling more interested in understanding others’ experiences of social identity (92%) after their sessions with IDP. At the end of the Advising Across Difference course, participants also demonstrated increases in awareness of social identities and their roles in interactions with students; “[This course] provided me with the understanding of specific biases I bring to my advising, helped me to recognize this as I advise and provided me with strategies to better advise.”

two human icons with chat bubbles

Intergroup Communication

The learning that happens in our programs is made possible by intergroup communication. Students in NBA 6870 (Leading Across Difference), IDP’s course for MBA students, experienced increased self-efficacy in their ability to have such rich, critical conversations, with the proportion of students agreeing with the statement “I feel like I have the skills necessary to engage effectively in challenging conversations” increasing dramatically from the pre-survey to the post-survey (42% to 88%). Similarly, many faculty who participated in the Building Connections with Dialogue program left feeling more capable of leading difficult conversations with students (60% to 91%, pre- to post-), participating in difficult conversations with colleagues (48% to 82%), and more capable of remaining in conversation with those whose perspectives they disagree with (56% to 88%): “I’ve used the skills in conversations with students, faculty, with my children and partner. I still get stuck but I can palpably feel my patterns and ways of handling these conversations shifting- especially on an emotional level. I feel I don’t shut down as easily as I used to.”

three human icons in an interconnected network

Strategic Change

Across our 7-week ILRID 4675 (Inclusive Leadership) course, our course for grad students and postdocs, trainings with West Campus residential staff, and single-session workshops, a majority of participants indicate that, as a result of their experience with IDP, they feel more capable of identifying inequities (grad students and ILR course: 49% to 92%, pre-to post-. West and workshops, post- only: 72%) and taking action to reduce them (grad students and ILR course: 29% to 85%, pre-to post-. West and workshops, post- only: 71%. For strategic change to occur, it is necessary (though not always easy) to confront existing inequitable systems and one’s own role within them, a practice that was described by this ILRID 4675 student: “I had a lot of my viewpoints either bolstered or challenged in class discussions and in readings. I think that my understanding of equity issues is more balanced and nuanced than previously. Looking at the complexity of entrenched structures often leaves me feeling powerless, however at the same time I know that is not so.” 

IDP Guides

Designed for the Cornell community, IDP Guides dive deeper into specific intergroup dialogue skills and topics for self-guided learning and exploration. Our guides include: “Community Agreements,” “Inclusive Curriculum Review”, “Listening & Learning with ‘I’ Statements (our podcast guide for educators)”, “Political Conversations”, and “Using LARA”. Members of the Cornell community are welcome and encouraged to use IDP Guides for educational purposes.

Have an idea or request for a new guide? Let us know and we might create it!

Community at Cornell IDP Alumni Facilitators in 2019 stand with their arms around each other and in matching IDP t-shirts; From left to right: Dylan VanDuyne '18, Alicia O'Neal '18, Alexis Wilson '19, Sarah Aiken '18, Maya Portillo '17, Baba Adejuyigbe '18

Community at Cornell IDP Alumni Facilitators in 2019
From left to right: Dylan VanDuyne ’18, Alicia O’Neal ’18, Alexis Wilson ’19, Sarah Aiken ’18, Maya Portillo ’17, Baba Adejuyigbe ’18

IDP Alumni Relations Project

As we approach IDP’s ten-year anniversary this fall, we are working to develop new opportunities for our alumni facilitators to stay connected with the IDP community; continue their professional development as change agents in their specific fields and professions; and support our efforts on campus.
In February 2022 we launched a three-phased planning process to examine the needs of our facilitator alumni and to develop new structures and programs for ongoing collaborations. Over 40 alumni facilitators have joined this process so far. We are currently developing initiatives such as an IDP mentor/co-learning program, alumni DEI professional development sessions for different fields (medical, education, legal, human resources, etc.), as well as research and development projects.
Keep an eye out for updates and announcements this fall!

Did you know?

We have trained over 260 facilitators since our inception!
Everyone on the IDP team is a Cornell alum!

New Faces

Meet Dr. Julia Felice, our Engagement Specialist!

Headshot of Julia Felice standing in a purple blouse in front of greeneryJulia came to Cornell as a Ph.D. student with a focus on promoting equity and justice in public health and a passion for doing so in and through academic contexts. She has since had many roles at Cornell, including leader of a diverse, cross-college undergraduate program, instructor, academic advisor, curriculum developer, researcher, and research mentor. Julia’s first exposure to IDP, her engagement with the second iteration of its course for academic advisors, powerfully and positively challenged her approaches to advising, teaching, and collaboration. As IDP’s Engagement Specialist, Julia leads the development of new opportunities for students, faculty, and student-facing staff to engage in meaningful educational processes and provides consultation and support to Cornell staff and faculty who are working to create inclusive communities for undergraduate students on campus.

Meet Kathryn Stamm, our Teaching and Research Assistant!

Headshot of Kathryn Stamm in black t-shirt and earrings with trees in the background

Kathryn’s involvement in IDP started when she did her orientation session in August 2018 and she has been involved with the program ever since. Having just finished her BA in Literatures in English and American Studies, we are excited to share she will be joining the team full time in the fall as our Teaching and Research Assistant. In her time with IDP, Kathryn has facilitated something like 100 sessions.

“I started unsure if I was capable and worried that I would destroy the program if they gave me my own class, but the program instead was the container for all of my growth over college. I have always deeply believed in IDP and contributing research for them gave me even more proof of the impact that we have. I am thrilled to be able to stay at Cornell and at IDP for an extra year to continue teaching and learning and working with this stellar team.”

Cornell Giving Day 2022

Cornell Giving Day logo showing clock graphiA huge thank you to everyone who supported IDP for Giving Day this spring! We raised $4,308. The funds raised, as well as other generous gifts from alumni, enable us to continue our existing offerings for students, alumni, faculty, and staff and continue to expand our selection of offerings and abilitiy to work with new groups. Your support allows us to bring dialogue into more spaces and to increase our impact on campus climate.