Cornell University

December 22 2008

ILR in 2008

Teaching, research and outreach focus on timely world-of-work issues

ILR was influenced in 2008 by many of the issues that gripped the world -- a volatile global economy, a presidential election, the need for decent work and fairness in the workplace.

"ILR's relevance to the world through teaching, research and outreach has been demonstrated again and again this year through the work of our faculty, students, staff and alumni," said Harry Katz. He is the ILR School's Kenneth F. Kahn Dean and Jack Sheinkman Professor of Collective Bargaining.

From the changing role of labor-management relations to the expanding global green economy to the recession's impact on individuals and their workplaces, ILR's expertise is sought on numerous issues related to advancing the world of work, he said.

The media, policymakers, academic and business communities and other sectors increasingly depend on information from ILR, Katz said.

"Especially in these times of economic turmoil, people want and need the research information and practical application ILR is uniquely positioned to provide," he said.

Support from alumni and friends has been a key factor in fueling ILR’s contributions to the world in 2008, he said. Hundreds of alumni and friends have made gifts to ILR this year through "Far Above…The Campaign for Cornell." The ILR School target is $60 million. The campaign continues through 2011.

Major gifts to ILR resulted this year in two new named directorships, the Frank B. Miller Director of Student Services and the Harriet Morel Oxman ('48) Catherwood Library Directorship.

Another endowment resulted in the naming of Dolgen Hall, formerly known as the Extension Building, to recognize the support of Jonathan Dolgen '66 and his family.

"In giving to ILR, our alumni and friends help us continue the school’s mission. They also make it possible for students to prepare for carrying on the mission," Katz said.

Highlights at ILR in 2008 included:

  • Strong interest in ILR among undergraduate and graduate student applicants. Nearly 1,000 competed for 150 freshman slots this year. Application numbers were up eight percent from 2007; incoming students are among the top academic performers in their classes.
  • Notable research and publications by faculty on workplace team dynamics, labor law, the Employee Free Choice Act, worker retention, disability issues, "green" jobs, workplace violence prevention and many other work, employment and labor subjects.
  • Growing international reach and presence, including conference keynote presentations by faculty as well as student field experiences and study abroad in Europe, Africa, Australia and other locations throughout the world; visiting scholars at ILR from all points of the globe.
  • Renowned scholars, workplace and labor leaders at ILR speaking on major issues-of-the day ranging from the 2008 presidential election to the future of unions; high-profile ILR-sponsored conferences and meetings in Ithaca and New York City on the green economy and labor issues in China, to name a few.
  • Honors and recognition for students and faculty including student entrepreneurship awards and the naming of distinguished ILR faculty fellows by top academic societies and professional organizations.
  • The naming, by the school, of the John Windmuller Chair in International and Comparative Labor, and the appointment of Professor Gary Fields to the position.
  • Thousands of professionals, policymakers, working adults and others served by ILR training and professional development workshops, webinars, seminars and colloquia.
  • Outreach to students by dozens of ILR alumni through on-campus visits, internship and mentoring opportunities, and scholarships funding.
  • Enhancements to ILR facilities including upgrades to the NYC conference center that will help make ILR programs more competitive.
View more on ILR's achievements in 2008.