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News and Updates

Dean of Students staff at Donuts with the Dean event.

Read below to find recent divisional statements sent by SCL leadership and to review past SCL Staff Newsletters so you can stay informed and connected with updates and happenings throughout the division.

Divisional Statements

July 28, 2023: SCL Staff Message

Dear SCL Colleagues,

We are just a few weeks away from move-in and the start of the 2023-2024 academic year! It has certainly been an exciting and productive summer throughout SCL as each of you plan for another transformative year. The dedication and commitment you have for supporting the Cornell student experience is tremendous and I know we are all looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together again this year.

Last month, I shared our new SCL Values: Growth, Collaboration, Belonging, and Well-being. In the coming weeks, you will hear about several opportunities to connect more deeply with these values through special staff events, programs to learn more about our divisional priorities, activities to connect with colleagues, and more.

Recently, our SCL leadership team gathered with Advisory Committee team members to discuss next steps toward the divisional launch of our SCL Roadmap of priorities. Coordinating with representatives from each SCL unit, we have determined a schedule of informational “roadshows” as a way for unit leadership to engage with you around our priorities, refresh on our purpose and new values, and dive in deeper on the exciting work ahead. Keep an eye out for your unit roadshow in the coming weeks.

In addition, Action Teams are currently forming to help move this important work forward. There are opportunities for team members across the division to take part in these teams. Additional information about these opportunities will also be provided soon.  Getting involved in SCL Action Teams is not only great professional development but provides new ways to collaborate more broadly across SCL while connecting with colleagues and making meaningful change for our division.

As the start of the semester approaches, I do hope that each of you have been or will be able to make time for breaks, give yourself space to recharge, and spend time with family and friends doing activities that bring you joy. Prioritizing well-being is critical to your personal and professional success and to the overall success of our division. I look forward to seeing you all at the SCL All-Staff Carnival on August 11 from 12:30 – 2:30pm on North Campus. Join us for an afternoon of delicious food from local food trucks, fun games with terrific Cornell and SCL prizes, and time to relax and reconnect with others across campus before move-in August 14-20.

I wish you all a safe and restful remainder of the summer. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do in support of the Cornell student experience.




June 9, 2023: SCL Staff Message

Dear SCL Colleagues,

Congratulations and thank you to our entire SCL team for another successful academic year! We’ve had much to celebrate throughout these last several months.

We welcomed students to their new homes in the completed North Campus Residential Expansion. We opened new and renovated dining spaces and celebrated the successes of our talented Dining team members. We opened athletic facilities to include Booth Field and Women’s Lacrosse locker room. We ushered in a new era of intercollegiate athletic excellence with the arrival of our new Athletics Director, Nicki Moore. We celebrated the first graduating cohort of the Kessler Scholars Program supporting first-generation students. We recognized and awarded students and team members for their community engagement efforts. And, to help make this and so much more possible going forward, on Giving Day, our SCL and Athletics AAD team exceeded support goals thanks to the generosity of more than 10,000 dedicated donors.

To support us in our continued work of inspiring transformation, the reimagined SCL Roadmap of divisional priorities – along with our divisional values – will help to guide us forward and allow us to evolve with our ever-changing students and the needs of our growing teams.

Below are the SCL Values you helped to identify this year. They are intended to guide our decision-making and our work together as a division and within our individual teams.

  • Belonging: We cultivate an inclusive community that welcomes individuality, celebrates identity, appreciates contribution, inspires connection, and supports equity.  
  • Well-being: We foster an environment in which individuals can flourish and become the best version of themselves.  
  • Growth: We invest in learning and promote opportunities for development.  
  • Collaboration: We engage in purposeful connections to achieve common goals.

This summer, several members of our Advisory Committee will visit units and continue speaking with team leaders to discuss our proposed priorities that will support the work we do individually and collaboratively to transform the student and staff experience. Please keep an eye out for more information about our SCL Roadmap launch event this fall as well as additional opportunities to participate in the future of this important work.

This summer as you’re thinking forward and preparing for the upcoming semester, please take time to reflect and recharge. The 2022-2023 academic year has been busy, and we have an exciting summer and fall semester ahead of us. I express my gratitude to each of you who supported the heavy-lift of putting on so many of our end-of-year events like Slope Day, move-out, Convocation, Senior Week, Commencement, and this weekend’s Cornell Reunion.

Excitedly, we admitted 4,994 new students to the Class of 2027 so let’s prepare to start the next semester strong as we embrace our new values, priorities and look forward to what’s next for our division. Thank you for your continued dedication!




February 2, 2023: SCL Staff Message

Dear SCL colleagues,

Welcome back to a new semester. Thank you for your tremendous work welcoming our new and returning students and their families over these last few weeks, and helping them settled into life on campus. It was a pleasure seeing our teams come together to support move-in, New Student and Family Orientation, and at Donuts with the Dean to celebrate the first day of classes – among many others. I look forward to seeing all that we can accomplish together this semester.

This new year has also brought the unfortunate recognition that individuals and groups of marginalized identities continue to be the target of hateful words and vicious attacks. This repeated reality impacts each of us differently and I encourage you to seek the support that you need. I would like to thank Nancy Martinsen, Dannemart Pierre, Dr. Jacque Tara Washington, LaTivia McCowan, and Courtney Owens from SCL who are leading conversations and holding space for the Cornell community on February 6 from 5:30 – 6:30pm at Cornell Health to come together over the recent tragedies in Memphis. I would also like to extend a thank you to our colleagues at the Asian and Asian American Center and Office of the Dean of Students for their support and work hosting Community Space in response to the recent anti-Asian violence that occurred earlier this month. 

Fall 2022 Recap

While we faced hurdles as a team last semester related to continued global staffing challenges, supply chain impacts, and a stressed campus climate, there was also much to be proud of that I would like to spotlight.

We opened the final phase of the North Campus Residential Expansion and welcomed new eateries to Cornell Dining. We hired the new Meakem Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education, Nicki Moore, and honored Andy Noel’s influential time at Cornell. We welcomed David Reetz as the new Director of CAPS and signed the Okanagan Charter to become a Health-Promoting Campus. We launched a reimagined approach to crises management and care with the Student Support and Advocacy Services, and saw growth and development in many other areas of SCL. 

Spring Outlook

This semester will bring about many more exciting happenings as we anticipate welcoming an Executive Director of Cornell Health, expanding our Dean of Students Office to include additional resources for Black and Latinx Students, celebrating the opening of Booth Field, and engaging with the SCL Advisory Committee around their important work to define our values as a division and critically think about our priorities and goals.

Over the last several months the Advisory Committee members have facilitated critical feedback sessions with all SCL units to ensure that these words ring true with you, with the ways you work with one another, and with the ways you engage in your work with Cornell students. Thank you for your time and your commitment to this work. Compiling your feedback, the committee will soon share these values with divisional leadership for review with an anticipated values launch later this semester. Simultaneously, the committee has put in significant work to investigate data from across campus identifying current challenges and barriers students face in their development at Cornell in an effort to inform new SCL priorities. This semester, they will continue this work but with a focus on organizational and staff development. Please continue checking the monthly SCL staff newsletter and our staff website for updates. 

What I have shared above is just a small snapshot of the many outstanding things we all have to be proud of so far this academic year. We’ve accomplished so much more – and there’s still so much more to come. I continue to be impressed by all that we are able to do for our campus and I am honored to be a part of it with each of you. 


November 10, 2021: SCL Staff Message

Dear SCL Team,

I’m writing today to acknowledge the challenging and stressful few days we’ve had on campus this week. Under any circumstance, the bomb threats on Sunday followed by the police pursuit near our campus yesterday would be disconcerting. These incidents coupled with ongoing fatigue related to the pandemic and an already stressful time of the semester have created a high level of anxiety for many in our community.

Know that these feelings are completely valid. I have them myself. Please remember that each one of us has been impacted by these events in a different way and as such may be experiencing their effects in equally different ways.

As we find time to process recent events, I encourage you to lean into your respective communities – here on campus and elsewhere - for support and connection. Human connection is critically important, and particularly under stressful circumstances. I know many of you are already engaging deeply with your colleagues and in student spaces and I appreciate your willingness to do so even as you balance your own needs.

As you connect with each other or gather your own thoughts, I would like to hear from you. If you have suggestions for how we can best support each other and students in times like these, you are welcome to do that through this feedback tool (attaching your name to your feedback is optional). The suggestions you provide will help us to identify new ways to connect, communicate more effectively, and support each other in the future.

So much over these past 21+ months has been incredibly taxing, regularly bringing about new challenges and obstacles to overcome. Please reach out if you need support, continue to take care of yourselves, show one another grace, and make some time for rest, rejuvenation and the things that bring you joy.



September 17, 2021: A message from VP Lombardi

Dear SCL Colleagues,

It is hard to believe that less than a month ago we moved thousands of students back on to campus to begin another semester. And yet, so much has happened in that short time. The start of this semester has brought on new challenges for all of us as we continue to navigate and adjust to the impacts of the pandemic. Please know your work and efforts do not go unnoticed – by me, the SCL leadership team, your colleagues, or by our students and their families. I’d like to share some of the affirming feedback we’ve received from students and their families about their experience this fall:

“I am writing to express my appreciation for how well you have and continue to handle this pandemic. I applaud you for your science-based approach. Most of all, I am grateful for your every effort to keep these kids in the classroom.  I practically well up with tears at the thought of returning to remote instruction. Thank you again for all that you do in service of our kids.”Parent of class of ’22

“My son is loving and embracing his entrance to Cornell. He has joined and appreciated the orientation activities, dorm competitions, and formal and informal gatherings. He loves the food, and, as someone who has celiac, feels supported.  He got a randomly assigned roommate who is now a friend, had a fantastic experience in Outdoor Odyssey, and has met so many people, all of whom he reports are happy and excited to be here. As someone who has worked at Cornell for 20 years now, it has been a joy to experience Cornell through his eyes."Parent of student and Cornell Colleague

These are just a few of the many dozens of messages I have received like this through the last year and over the past few weeks. Barely a day passes without someone on campus or, on the other side of the world, expressing how thankful they are for everything we are doing to keep the in-person campus experience intact. While the beginning of the academic year has been far from easy, I am in awe of the difference you all continue to make in the lives of our students. Planning and executing student move-in, orientation, welcome events, and ongoing support and activities in a normal year is a challenge in itself but as we know, layering in the additional demands of a pandemic can be exhausting. And yet, you have risen to the challenge again, providing our newest Cornellians, returning students, and their families with a strong start to a semester back together on campus.

I wish I could promise that the worst is behind us, but we simply don’t know what the rest of this semester will bring. We are sure to come up against more changes to our work and personal lives in the face of this pandemic. The only thing we know for sure is that we must continue to show grace and support – for Cornell students and for each other. Reach out to others if needed and take time to pause and reflect on our commitment to this important work.

Thank you again for everything you do!



Monthly SCL Staff Newsletters