Diversity Session - Cornell Interactive Theatre Ensemble (CITE)


Sunday, March 15
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

The Cornell Interactive Theater Ensemble and the CU-ADVANCE Center have worked very closely to develop an interactive scenario on unconscious gender bias in the faculty search process.  The interactive theater session has been presented multiple times at Cornell to department chairs, search committee chairs and search committees, receiving an enthusiastic response from faculty attendees. Other institutions have requested this workshop from CU-ADVANCE, including Princeton University, Bard College, Dartmouth College, UCLA, Rutgers University and Rochester Institute of Technology, to name a few. After the presentation of this session to a meeting of Upstate New York Universities and Colleges, the program received very positive feedback, with attendees such as the Provost of Hobart and William Smith Colleges commenting that this was one of the most informative and useful presentations she had ever attended.

In this workshop session, participants watch a DVD scenario of a search committee meeting, as the five faculty members begin to articulate their opinions about candidates for the short list. Following the scenario, the participants have the opportunity to ask one of the characters questions about the meeting. The CITE facilitator conducts a guided discussion of the attendees’ responses to the scenario and the characters. This discussion is followed by a research talk on unconscious bias, describing the studies used to develop the interactions depicted in the scenario. The session concludes with a discussion of the ADVANCE Center’s best practices for combating unconscious bias in searches.


The CU-ADVANCE Center is funded through an Institutional Transformation Grant by the National Science Foundation to increase the recruitment, retention, and promotion into leadership positions of women faculty in engineering and the sciences, and to institutionalize best practices, policies and programs across colleges as they pertain to women faculty. CU-ADVANCE offers networking events, professional development, programming, recruitment resources for departments, and individual grants for professional success to women faculty.


The Cornell Interactive Theatre Ensemble (CITE) was formed in January 1992 as a unique resource for employee education and training at all levels.  Interactive theatre combines live theatre and audience participation to create a resource for dialogue from multiple points of view on a wide variety of workplace issues. CITE presentations have been designed and implemented for academic institutions, corporations, professional groups, conferences, and government agencies.  Participants leave CITE presentations with a deeper understanding of the dynamics of problematic situations in the workplace, with a visceral impression of the impact such problems can have on members in a workplace community, and with strategies for managing and preventing such problems.  

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