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Foundations of our Workplace

Being a leader at Cornell necessitates an understanding of the context in which you work.

Cornell University

There are several key characteristics that make up the environment and culture of Cornell.

  • The University's Core Values. In fall 2019, the university adopted a set of core values that will serve as the foundation for a more equitable and inclusive atmosphere for all on our campuses. Learn more at
  • The Land Grant Mission. As New York state’s land-grant institution, Cornell University is charged with advancing the lives and livelihoods of the state’s citizens through teaching, research and public service. Learn more at
  • Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' Land Acknowledgment for the Ithaca Campus. Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state, and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' people, past and present, to these lands and waters.
         Learn more about the Land Acknowledgment here.

Video Transcript

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Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ. The Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ are members of  

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the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence  

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on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New  

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York State and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ

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dispossession and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ people, past and present, to these lands and waters.

  • Cornell's Funding Model. Endowment funds are invested to keep the long-term principal amount intact to provide a stable flow of operating revenues. Endowment funds mostly come from donors, which are usually designated or restricted for a specific purpose. State and federal appropriations are funds we receive to primarily support operations in contract colleges; which include the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Human Ecology, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Total Rewards. Cornell understands that different individuals have different needs and concerns when it comes to salary, benefits, and rewards. That's why we’ve created a program that is comprehensive and flexible to meet our employees needs, whether that’s for family growth and protection, getting the most value for their salary deductions, or planning for the short-term and long-term future. Learn more at our Total Rewards webpage.
  • Job Families and Pay Structure. Cornell has approximately 700 staff job profiles that are organized into 15 job families (for example, academic support, finance, IT, student support, health) across 9 pay bands (A through I). Each staff position is placed into a job profile classification within this structure based on the required qualifications and complexity of work. Cornell is proud to offer competitive salaries, based on a combination of education, skills, experience, and qualifications as they relate to the position being filled, as well as pay equity and related market data. Learn more on the Classification & Compensation webpage.
  • Health-Promoting Campus and the Okanagan Charter. Cornell University formally adopted the Okanagan Charter to become a Health-Promoting Campus, working to transform the health and sustainability of our current and future societies, strengthen communities, and contribute to the well-being of people, places, and the planet. Learn more about the Okanagan Charter.

Video Transcript

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[Christine] I think what it means to be a health 
promoting campus is for us to really  

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set an environment where that promotes health and  

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wellbeing amongst all of our faculty and 
staff and students. Um... it changes the culture.

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[Avery] What does it mean to be a health 
promoting campus or university, it's a great question.

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[Julie] It means looking at the systems and the 
structures and the settings here at Cornell.

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[Michelle] The policies that we have in place to help people 
thrive. [Aaron] It's not just an add-on it's 'not maybe  

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you do this'. It means you... you feel it in small 
ways everywhere. [Christine] And we make sure that we have a  

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place where folks feel like they can take care 
of themselves. [Avery] We exist to support students. As  

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faculty and staff um... we're not able to do that 
unless we're our best selves.  

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[Cortney] I think it's as simple as a campus that supports structures that promote wellbeing for everyone there;  

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students, staff and faculty. [Avery] And what that means is 
not just physical best selves, but... but mentally as well.

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[Michelle] It's also about seeking to understand how 
people interact with those systems and those  

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policies to understand their impact. [Julie] And the 
ways that we can improve upon things so that  

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we are supporting holistic health and wellbeing 
for everyone. [Aaron] Through, through colleagues, you see  

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it through leadership, um you feel it. [Michelle] And how 
the wellbeing of one population impacts the  

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wellbeing of another. [Avery] We need to bring um... you 
know, the best parts of us to our classrooms and  

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to our engagements with the students. And so when 
I think about a Health Promoting Campus I think  

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about how do we support our faculty and staff 
so that they can do that. [Ryan] For me this commitment  

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is foundational to making sure we always stay focused on that in all of our decisions, all of  

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our policies and all the ways we think about 
supporting this campus holistically.


Video Transcript

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[Martha] Health and wellbeing is 
foundational for academic and life  

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success. Cornell's formal adoption 
of the Okanagan Charter builds on  

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our long-standing commitment 
to become a Health Promoting University.

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[Kathryn] One of the most important things that 
Cornell University has done recently is to sign  

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the Okanagan Charter, which really declares our 
commitment to being a Health Promoting Campus. 

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[Martha] This commitment advances in a systemic, sustainable 
way the spirit of the student mental health review,  

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priorities for faculty and staff wellbeing 
and ways we support the wellbeing of our  

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built environment and our planet. [Michelle] I am so proud 
that Cornell University has signed the Okanagan  

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Charter and committed to doing this work for all 
constituencies at the University in a unified way.  

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[Lisa] It is an important signal of our commitment as 
a campus to really paying close attention to the  

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ways that we promote thriving and wellbeing in 
all that we do. [Ryan] This commitment is foundational  

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to making sure we always stay focused on that 
in all of our decisions, all of our policies  

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and all the ways we think about supporting this 
campus holistically. [Kathryn] A Health Promoting Campus  

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means that the campus supports everyone, not only 
individually, but also importantly, collectively,

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in terms of achieving a feeling of wellbeing, a 
sense of.. of healthiness across the entire campus.  

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Not just for individuals but for the entire set 
of constituents as well as for our campus itself.

Employment Policies

Information and guidance about workplace policies at Cornell, including Employment Policies and Pay Practices & Guidelines.