Ancell Plaza – Columbia

DEI Assessment and Recommendations

In July 2020, SIPA initiated a school-wide diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) assessment. The assessment, which was undertaken in response to calls from students and alumni, was designed to consider past and ongoing DEI work at SIPA, compare it to efforts elsewhere at Columbia and peer schools, identify remaining gaps and areas for improvement, and recommend actions to make SIPA a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community. 


As a first step, SIPA’s administrative and academic units conducted inventories in Fall 2020 of their own DEI initiatives. In November 2020 SIPA reported on expanded DEI efforts – including the Adjunct Faculty Diversity Initiative – and announced the establishment of a DEI Steering Committee. The Committee, which consists of faculty, staff and students, was charged with completing a schoolwide DEI assessment, including recommendations for future actions. The Steering Committee, which was chaired by Professor Suresh Naidu and Senior Lecturer Eugenia McGill (full membership below), consulted with stakeholders across SIPA, including the existing Diversity Committee, several of whose members also served on the Steering Committee.


The Steering Committee engaged Iere Strategies, a DEI consultancy, to help conduct the assessment, which included: (1) a review of DEI reports and initiatives at SIPA and elsewhere; (2) climate surveys, focus groups and interviews of current SIPA students, faculty, staff and alumni; (3) a DEI assessment report reflecting extensive feedback from the Steering Committee; and (4) a transmittal memo in July 2021 from the Steering Committee, endorsing the report and summarizing recommendations for further action.

Former Dean Janow’s initial response to the Steering Committee’s memo can be found here, along with the Steering Committee’s memo (PDF) and the assessment report (PDF).

DEI Steering Committee Members: 

  • Cochairs: Eugenia McGill, Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs and Suresh Naidu, Professor in Economics and International and Public Affairs

  • Faculty: Steven Cohen, Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs; Michael Nutter, David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs; Keren Yarhi-Milo, Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of War and Peace Studies

  • Students: Séléna Batchily MPA ’21, Tenzin Thargay MIA ’21, Leslie Conner Warren MIA ’21, Jason West MPA-DP ’21

  • Staff: Urbano Garza, Senior Assistant Dean, Office of Students Affairs; Grace Han, Executive Director, Admissions and Financial Aid; Colleen Toomey, Senior Associate Dean for Administration and Strategic Initiatives