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From the publisher

In today's world, and tomorrow's, the most diverse institutions will be the most successful ones. At Cornell, our definition of diversity goes beyond just describing people of different ethnic or cultural backgrounds – it embraces the entire face of America. We think of diversity as also including people of different social and economic backgrounds, of different religions and sexual orientation.

Over the years, Cornell has striven, with increasing success, to broaden the diversity of its student body. But two years ago, as the university began drawing up a strategic plan to take us into its sesquicentennial in 2015, it became clear that a rapidly changing student population required a faculty that reflected these demographic trends. Now we have a game-changing opportunity to put these aspirations into practice: A third of Cornell's faculty is approaching retirement age, and increasing the diversity of the faculty through new hires is a major priority. Cornell's Strategic Plan states our goals as being focused on "gender, racial and ethnic diversity" of all units.

We are already at work to broaden the diverse makeup of our faculty. The university has established a $100 million fund for hiring 100 new faculty by 2015, with diversity playing a major role in hiring criteria.

This issue's cover story looks at how far one unit of the university – the College of Engineering – has come in increasing the diverse makeup of its faculty, and how much further it intends to go. As Engineering Dean Lance Collins, the first African-American to hold that position, points out, "In a world in which you can bring multiple viewpoints from different backgrounds together, that's a richer environment to be in, for students to grow up in, and for colleagues to interact with each other."

Ezra Cornell must have known that his aspiration to "found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study" would be our guiding light throughout our history – past, present and future. What this issue reveals is how our efforts today might hasten our stride in the years to come.

Thomas W. Bruce

Vice President, University Communications

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