When the ILR School opened its doors more than 60 years ago, there was a great need for mediation and conflict resolution during an intense period of union-management disputes. The school is now planning to break new ground and further strengthen its teaching, research and outreach in the dispute resolution field with the Martin and Laurie Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution.
The Institute on Conflict Resolution, founded in 1996, was recently endowed by ILR alumnus Marty Scheinman '75, MS '76, one of the country's leading arbitrators. ILR School Dean Harry Katz, the Jack Sheinkman Professor in Collective Bargaining, says this endowment gift will make it possible for the institute to broaden its mission and to "educate the next generation of neutrals" – third-party arbitrators and mediators who will help resolve the workplace conflicts of the future.
The Scheinman Institute's programs will serve undergraduate and graduate students, as well as working professionals, through expanded curricula for undergraduate students, a first-ever master's degree in dispute resolution, and more opportunities for students to get hands-on field experience and work closely with practitioners in the field. The institute also has plans to launch a new education and training program for mid-career professionals who want to make a transition to careers in dispute resolution.
"Conflict resolution is at the center of ILR's agenda. Through the Scheinman Institute, and because of Marty’s commitment to the school and to the future of the arbitration field, we can grow what we do in this area and help in the settling of workplace conflicts," Katz says.
The endowment also will make it possible for the institute to expand its focus beyond the workplace, including work on joint programs with the Cornell Law School and programs focusing on commercial and business-to-business arbitration, which is a growing field.
Scheinman says that in endowing the institute, he wanted to give back and do something programmatic that would show that "collective bargaining, arbitration and dispute resolution in a complex global world still matter today."
"If you look at the most important and successful neutrals in labor and employment in the U.S. today, a great number of them have been educated at Cornell ILR," Scheinman says. The institute, he adds, can play a major role in helping more current and future ILR students to think about dispute resolution as a career choice and make it possible for the school to "cast a wide net to recruit the very best, next generation of ILR faculty in this field."
The institute's administrative and programmatic activities will be overseen by David Lipsky, the Anne Evans Estabrook Professor of Dispute Resolution, director; and Rocco Scanza, ILR senior extension associate and the institute's first executive director.
"Our goal is to establish the Scheinman Institute as the preeminent institute of its kind," Lipsky says. We want to build a reputation as the place to go in the world if you want to get an education in conflict resolution."
Scanza adds, "It's a special honor being named the institute's executive director. I've known Marty for many years, and his passion for this field and for educating the arbitrators of the future is a driving force for the institute moving forward. Our goal is simple – to provide the finest training and educational opportunities in the field of conflict resolution."
Scheinman has successfully arbitrated more than 10,000 private- and public-sector disputes throughout the United States for virtually every major industry and union, and in every type of employment setting.