Renee Alexander ’74 was the director of Diversity Alumni Programs in Alumni Affairs and Development for 5 years, until she was named the first Associate Dean of Students/Director of Intercultural Programs in 2011.
Associate Dean of Students/Director of Intercultural Programs is one of three recently established high-level positions that supports underrepresented students and students of color. In this role, Alexander provides vision and leadership for initiatives to strengthen the sense of community among Cornell's increasingly diverse student body and helps provide greater coordination among student-related programs and student groups. Alexander reports to the dean of students and assumes oversight responsibility for the student life components of cross-cultural and diversity programming.
When Alexander was first promoted to this position, Kent Hubbell '69, the Robert W. and Elizabeth C. Staley Dean of Students, said, "Renee brings extensive knowledge and experience to her new position as well as a comprehensive understanding of Cornell's history regarding matters of diversity. Perhaps most important, Renee is already an adviser and mentor to many student groups, and thus has a foundation upon which to build this new enterprise."
Before returning to Cornell in 2006, Alexander was director of special programs and initiatives at Eugene Lang College the New School for Liberal Arts in New York City. In that role, she served as an adviser and advocate for underrepresented groups and as a liaison between students and administration.
Alexander’s office is located in 626 Thurston Ave., which is a central location for students from the many cultural centers across campus and from college-specific programs to network with each other. The facility houses the Asian/Asian American Center; the African Latino Asian Native American Students Programming Board; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center; and the Alumni-Student Mentoring Program.
Much of Alexander's work focuses on - but is not limited to - supporting students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and low-income and first-generation college students, particularly in activities beyond the classroom. She will also be a visible resource and mentor for student organizations that represent students from groups historically underrepresented in graduate education.
Alexander also serves as a liaison between the varied campus communities, including program houses, co-ops, fraternities and sororities, cultural student organizations, college advising and counseling offices, and she works closely with two additional new positions: the associate vice provost for academic diversity initiatives and the Graduate School associate dean for inclusion and professional development.
Working with appropriate partners across campus, Alexander provides leadership for student diversity initiatives and brings issues and recommendations to the dean of students and other university leaders. She also works with staff and faculty members to increase their understanding of student diversity goals, opportunities and programs, and to foster engagement in student diversity programs.