Diversity and Inclusion Task Force

Diversity and Inclusion Task Force logo

Between 2017 and 2018 the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force was charged to develop a proactive approach to racial and gender diversity and inclusion at The Cooper Union.

Read the Summary and Findings submitted by the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, December 2018

Through collaboration, shared understanding, common purpose and individual action this group sought ways to renew Cooper Union’s commitment to diversity as a critical asset in the quality of teaching and learning, inquiry and innovation at the school. The Task Force  pursued strategies to foster an inclusive learning environment and culture that respects and supports the identities, experiences, learning approaches and viewpoints of Cooper Union constituents. It sought to understand what is and is not working well at Cooper while we grow an appreciation of the practices and approaches that foster equity. Write to us.

The primary goals of the Task Force were to create an inclusive and equitable campus climate, support inclusive scholarship and instructional practices and to recruit, retain and develop a diverse community at The Cooper Union. Our approach was data driven, evidence-based and inclusive of the best thinking of the Cooper community. Our intention was to go beyond “compositional diversity” and foster a culture that supports Cooper Union’s educational ideals of diversity and excellence in new ways.

Task Force Members
The Diversity Task Force was comprised of members from among Cooper’s faculty, students and staff. Collectively, the members bring diverse perspectives, experiences and priorities that would foster productive and comprehensive dialogue and action planning. The Task Force was open to anyone from the Cooper community who wanted to participate, in whatever capacity.

The Task Force was co-chaired by Sam Keene, associate professor, electrical engineering and Antoinette Torres, director of strategic initiatives and institutional effectiveness.

Members included Nada Ayad, Postdoctoral fellow, HSS; Natalie Brooks, Chief Talent Leader; Chris Chamberlin, Dean of Students; Abby Davis, Assistant Director of Admissions; Ben Davis, Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering; Alfred Dudley III, A’18; Sara Foley, Associate Director of Operations / Technical Design Specialist; Ariana Freitag, EE’20; Associate Director, Operations; Adrienne Greth, Assistant Dean, Admissions; Atina Grossman, Professor, HSS; Mauricio Higuera, Administrative Assistant for Public Programs and New Projects, School of Architecture; Steven Hillyer, Director, The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Archive; Grace Kendall, Title IX Coordinator and Director, Student Diversity and Inclusion; Makeda King-Smith, Director International Student Advisement and Assistant Director, Admissions; Sanjeev Menon, CE’20; Ketsia Monterose, Employee Relations Associate; Kim Newman, Media Relations Manager; Anita Raja, Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Programs and Professor, Computer Science; Sophie Schneider, ME’20; Naveen Shlayan, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering; Maran Stange, Professor (Proportional), HSS; Keith Stokeld, Controller; William Villalongo, Assistant Professor, Art; and Jolie Woodson, Director, Center for Career Development.

Working Groups
Through smaller working groups, Task Force members explored and addressed policies, processes, strategies and programs in strategic areas. This approach, to engage the community through action-oriented inquiry, was meant to yield recommendations to frame a path toward diversity and inclusion. The working groups were engaged in six primary areas of focus: Inclusive Pedagogy and Curriculum; the First Year Experience; Faculty and Staff Diversity; Compositional Diversity; Institutional Effectiveness; and Culture and Climate.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.