Student and faculty exchanges, potential research collaborations and executive education programming are part of a growing relationship between the ILR School and Renmin University of China, regarded as one of the top Chinese universities.
This week, several faculty from Renmin's business school are in Ithaca meeting with ILR faculty and exploring partner opportunities in teaching, research and outreach.
Harry Katz, Kenneth F. Kahn Dean, says Renmin is an ideal partner since it has schools and programs in human resources, organizational behavior, labor, law and others that fit well with ILR's focus, making it possible to "engage in multifaceted ways."
Renmin's entrepreneurial spirit also makes it a good match for ILR, says Joe Grasso, associate dean for finance, administration and corporate relations. He has been discussing with Renmin deans and faculty ideas for strengthening the ILR-Renmin academic and executive education relationship
In his presentation to a group of ILR faculty during his visit to ILR, Byron Lee, Renmin assistant professor, says the business school wants to "go global," and partnerships like this one can help make that happen.
"What we're doing with Cornell and ILR is special and different from what we're doing with other universities. We hope to partner in many different areas, not just on one-time projects."
ILR faculty and staff have visited Renmin and moved projects forward. Steve Miranda, executive director of the Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies, delivered an executive education program to Chinese executives at Renmin last fall. Katz is speaking at a Renmin conference this fall.
In addition to the business school, ILR is getting involved with Renmin's School of Labor and Human Resources, considered the premier school of its kind in China. Over the summer, seven ILR students will be the first to participate in a recently established student exchange program.
Lisa Nishii, associate professor in the ILR Department of Human Resource Studies, and director of ILR's International Programs, says the exchange will provide valuable experiences likely to broaden students’ perspectives, but also make students more marketable.
Arielle Koppell '15, a student in the summer exchange program, says this provides an opportunity to learn firsthand "how the Chinese people work, where they live, what ideas they support and what challenges they face."
"I'm most excited to learn about developmental economics from the Chinese perspective, so I can get a frame of reference on how China views itself relative to the U.S. and the rest of the world," Koppell says.
Nishii adds that ILR and Renmin have been brainstorming ideas for collaboration, including some that could provide ILR faculty with opportunities to have immersion experiences and get an inside look into Chinese culture and work practices.
Although a thrust of ILR efforts to internationalize is focused on student experiences, Nishii believes there is also a need to provide faculty opportunities to further internationalize.
"To the extent that some of these opportunities could be available to faculty who might not otherwise have a reason to go to China, this is especially exciting."
Grasso says the student and faculty exchanges, combined with executive education programming, make this a "very durable partnership" with Renmin.
"We couldn't ask for a better partner in China whose programmatic goals and institutional culture are so well-aligned with ILR's," Grasso says.