Seeking to Lead Cornell's Faculty

Lieberwitz running for dean of Cornell faculty
Seeking to Lead Cornell's Faculty
Thursday, March 22, 2012

A key position in determining university policy for faculty, students and administration is being sought by ILR Professor Risa Lieberwitz.

Nationally recognized for her expertise on academic freedom, faculty governance and the role of higher education in a democratic society, Lieberwitz was appointed this year to the American Association of University Professors Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

Online voting by faculty members continues through March 30. It began March 14. Professor Joseph Burns, the Irving P. Church Professor of Engineering, is also a candidate for the three-year term.

If Lieberwitz receives the majority of votes, she would be become Cornell's first woman dean of faculty.

"My interest in and commitment to academic freedom and faculty governance permeates all aspects of my work," she said, including:

  • research on academic freedom, faculty governance and the role of higher education in a democratic society.
  • teaching courses on freedom of speech and due process in the workplace. 
  • committee service with and election to the faculty senate, where she chaired its Committee to Review Faculty Governance.

Lieberwitz said that if elected, she would continue building on University Faculty Committee efforts to improve transparency, early consultation and faculty participation – "a genuine back and forth process where both are committed to reaching consensus" in negotiating decisions with Cornell’s administration.

"It is absolutely essential to preserve the values of a university that serves the public interest," she said in an interview. "I believe in this work and I enjoy doing it."

Lieberwitz is a co-director of Cornell's Law and Society minor and has chaired ILR's department of Collective Bargaining, Labor Law, and Labor History. She joined the school's faculty in 1982.

Faculty dean duties include:

  • representing and advocating on behalf of the faculty to the university's president, trustees and community.
  • calling all meetings of the faculty and Cornell Faculty Senate, distributing agendas, overseeing faculty committees and maintaining records.
  • assisting individual faculty members on a variety of issues.