Cornell University

Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution

456 ILR Research Building, 607-255-9298

Alumni Profile

Michael F. Lewis

Michael LewisI am excited to learn that the Scheinman Institute will recognize a world-class faculty that for many years has taught a unique blend of research-based analysis mixed with practical skills that result in academic artwork. My numerous experiences with the Institute as a student, academic researcher, teaching assistant, alumnus, and now working professional over the past several years have been characterized by the highest quality of counseling which I continue to integrate both personally and professionally. 

From the day I arrived at Cornell, I was immediately aware of the Institute on Conflict Resolution and the vast array of resources offered to students and practitioners alike. In addition to taking courses from Professor Seeber, Professor Lipsky, and many other skilled staff, I served for two years in an esteemed (and envied) teaching assistant position for courses in dispute resolution and collective bargaining.

What I remember most vividly was the fascinating guest lecturers invited from diverse fields of practice to apply vocational experiences directly to the concepts the students were learning in coursework, an interplay that made for a consistently rich exchange. The Institute also provided me with additional opportunities to assist Dean Katz and Professor Lipsky in research for topics on interest arbitration and dispute resolution procedures in the City of New York.

Overall, experiences in facilitating and evaluating coursework among my peer group as well as engaging in contemporary research that supplemented the challenging ILR coursework resulted in a robust and well-rounded education that I have carried with me in the years since. 

After receiving a master’s degree from Cornell in 2004, I have relied on countless contacts made and skills developed at the Institute in all of the professional opportunities I have pursued. I have practiced labor relations and dispute resolution in diverse settings beginning with the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company and more recently transitioning to the public sector where I currently work in human resources for Montgomery County, Maryland.

I feel privileged to have received such a meaningful academic foundation in an assortment of rich academic theories such as interest-based bargaining, intra-organizational work dynamics, game theory, and conflict management systems. Perhaps most important for any Cornell student, however, is the translation of proficiencies learned in the classroom into a real-world practical skill set that applies to all work environments and ultimately what I believe the Institute on Conflict Resolution is most successful in facilitating. 

- Michael F. Lewis