Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations

New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University
Type Statutory
Established 1945
Dean Kevin F. Hallock
Academic staff
Location Ithaca, New York, U.S.
Affiliations Cornell University
State University of New York

The New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University[1] (ILR) is an industrial relations school at Cornell University, located in Ithaca, New York, United States. The School has six academic departments which include: Economics, Human Resource Management, International and Comparative Labor, Labor Relations, Organizational Behavior; and Social Statistics.

Established by the state legislature in 1945, the school is a statutory or contract college through the State University of New York (SUNY) system and receives funding from the State of New York. It was the world's first school for college-level study in workplace issues and remains as one of the leading institutions for industrial relations. In addition to its undergraduate curriculum, the school offers professional and doctoral degrees, as well as executive education programs.

In Fall 2016, the School received 1,925 freshman applications and accepted 235 students (12.2%).


Irving Ives concurrently served as dean of ILR and as United States Senator.

In 1944, a coalition of leaders in American business, industry, labor, government, and education formed to establish the school. They believed that a new type of school was needed that focused on issues involving the American workplace.

More specifically, the State Legislature established the school in 1945 based on the recommendations of the New York State Joint Legislative Committee on Industrial and Labor Conditions. This committee was headed by Irving M. Ives and was originally formed in 1938. Ives, along with others in the committee, determined that a fundamental dysfunction in the relationship between management and labor was that each group brought different technical information and skills to the negotiating table and that these differences were hindering the formation of mutually favorable outcomes. The committee’s response to this observation was to recommend that the state of New York provide "a common training program" for representatives of labor and management.[2] The committee stressed that the importance of such a training program is "not merely attendance at the same institution or in the same school, but rather mutual and cooperative analysis of the problems common to both groups." Indeed, a quote from the committee’s 1943 report adds, "The Committee believes [however] that a state-sponsored school in this state should be based upon a broader educational philosophy. One of the most important ways of improving industrial and labor relations is to bring together, in a common training program, representatives of both labor and industry."[3]

Frances Perkins, ILR professor from 1952-1965, was the first female U.S. Cabinet member and the champion of the NLRA, the FLSA, and the Social Security Act.

In other words, it was the committee’s recommendation to provide common training to leaders from all perspectives of the management-labor debate. It was hoped that this common training would stabilize the negotiating table by producing leaders on all sides who have common technical information and competencies. In 1942 the committee recommended that ILR be established at Cornell (the state’s land grant institution). Two years later, formal legislative action was taken and Governor Dewey approved establishing the school. On July 1, 1945 ILR became a going educational enterprise. The school was charged with the mission "to improve industrial and labor conditions in the State through the provision of instruction, the conduct of research, and the dissemination of information in all aspects of industrial, labor, and public relations, affecting employers and employees."[4][5]

Ives was the first dean of the school. However, soon after gaining this title he became a United States Senator for New York and left for Washington. Beginning in the summer of 1947, Martin P. Catherwood became the dean The school was also championed by, then Chancellor of Cornell University, Edmund Ezra Day. The state of New York provided the school with generous funding. However, due to time constraints, the school soon moved into quonset huts on the Ithaca campus and later into buildings vacated by the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine.[4]

Milton R. Konvitz, who was a labor-law expert, was a founding faculty member and remained active until his death in 2003. Frances Perkins, who served as Secretary of Labor for 12 years under Franklin D. Roosevelt, joined the faculty and served until her death in 1965.

The school offered the first 4-year degree (B.S.) in the field of industrial and labor relations. Originally, students had ninety-seven of the required 120 hours prescribed for them. The first two years consisted of many social science classes such as American history and government, sociology, psychology, economics, and law. Students were required to take English and public speaking courses as well as courses in accounting and statistics. The last two years of coursework were the technical core: classes that were expected to provide the students with the technical skills and competencies which enable them to develop professional expertise within the field of industrial and labor relations. Examples of these courses include: history of labor and labor-union organization and management, business organization and management, and corporate finance. Beyond the classroom, students were expected to gain applied experience. This was achieved primarily through a required summer work-training program. To fulfill this expectation, students would spend three of their summers working in the field for each of the following types of organizations: industrial or commercial, government, and labor.[6]

In 2012, ILR opened the International HRM Academy in collaboration with King's College London.[7]


Overlooking the ILR quad
ILR Extension in New York City

The school was originally housed in quonset huts, but later it moved into buildings vacated by the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, which were built in 1911 and are on the register of historic structures.

The main campus occupies a quad near the center of Cornell, comprising an academic building, a research building, an extension building, a conference center, and a library. Ives Hall, named after ILR founding dean Irving Ives, is the academic building and is divided into a classroom/student wing and a faculty wing. The student wing houses separate lounges for undergraduate and graduate students. Also on the quad is the Martin P. Catherwood Library, which is one of only two official depository libraries of the International Labour Organization (the other being the Library of Congress). The ILR Conference Center, with its distinctive belfry atop, hosts special training sessions and recruiting events and offices for the United Auto Workers. The research building houses the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution as well as offices for the ILR Review. The extension building, renamed Dolgen Hall in 2008, houses the Yang Tan Institute.[8]

In 1998, New York State replaced the portion of Ives Hall fronting along Tower Road with a new 110,605 sq ft (10,275.5 m2) building.[9] Recently, the State also renovated the faculty wing of Ives Hall at a cost of $14 million,[10] and in 2004, New York State completed extensively renovations of three other campus buildings.[11] ILR also has campuses in Albany, New York, Buffalo, New York, Rochester, New York [12] and an extension building in New York City - the headquarters of the R. Brinkley Smithers Institute for Alcohol-Related Workplace Studies and Institute for Workplace Studies.

Organization and degree programs

The school is divided into six departments: Labor Relations, Law and History; Human Resource Studies; International and Comparative Labor Relations; Economics; Organizational Behavior; and Social Statistics.

Undergraduate programs

While most such schools offer only masters and PhD degrees in human resources or labor relations, Cornell is one of a few that offer a four-year undergraduate program focused on work and employment, the B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations (BSILR).[13] All students are required to complete a 120 credit hour curriculum with the following general requirements: First-year students are required to complete a two-semester writing seminar, Introduction to Organizational Behavior, History of American Labor, as well as micro and macro economics. Sophomore year students have the following course requirements: statistical reasoning, labor and employment law, Human Resource Management, Collective Bargaining, and an economics seminar. Junior and Senior level students are required to take 24 credits from within the school's six departments. An additional 16 credits may be taken outside the school. Additionally, there are math and physical education requirements.[14] Twenty five percent of undergraduates go on to attend law school[15] and another 10 percent earn an MBA or other advanced degree.[15][16] Of the 911 undergraduates, 406 (45%) were New York State residents at the time they matriculated.[17] New York residents pay a reduced in-state tuition.

The school also sponsors a chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The school's undergraduate contingent has claimed the national title at SHRM's HR Games twice—in 2002 and 2004.[18] In 2011, a Cornell Daily Sun article rated ILR the "Sexiest Major" at Cornell: "The dreamy look in their eyes and the business-casual attire on their backs... They are the students who would have been in AEM except for the fact that they have souls. These students’ passion for the underdog and stunning good looks make ILR, hands down, the number one sexiest major at Cornell."[19]

ILR School

Labor Relations, Law and History
Human Resource Studies
International & Comparative Labor
Organizational Behavior
Social Statistics

Undergraduates have a number of internship opportunities, including semester-long for-credit internships.[20] The school also sponsors non-credit internships over the January break or during the summer.[20] Students can also participate in the Arts College's Cornell-in-Washington program. Students in the top 20% of their junior class can write a senior thesis and thereby graduate with honors.[21]

Graduate programs

Graduate-level degrees offered through the Graduate School include the Master of Industrial and Labor Relations (MILR), the dual MILR/Master of Business Administration (MBA) (joint with the Johnson School), the Master of Professional Studies (MPS), the Executive Master of Human Resource Management, and the M.S./Ph.D.

Graduate students may also complete a semester abroad or a one-year-additional dual-degree Master in Management from ESCP Europe at any one of its campuses: Paris, Torino, Berlin, Madrid, or London. The school's contingent has claimed the title at the National MBA Human Capital Case Competition five times (the most of any school)—2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.[22]

Certificate programs

Through eCornell, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cornell University, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations offers a series of professional development certificate programs. These Human Resources management certificates are developed by faculty and seasoned HR practitioners from the ILR school and the courses bring together the insights and work of leading academic researchers with instruction grounded in practice and focused on real-world application. The certificate programs are designed for those new to HR; accomplished HR practitioner; or HR leaders or business partners.

Certificates are issued from Cornell University through eCornell.

Activities and publications

Since 1946, the school has participated in Cornell University's cooperative extension program, which reaches every county in the state. The school's extension program provides training and consulting services to both organized labor and management on contract negotiations, handling grievances, and employee relations.[23]

ILR also offers online learning courses and materials through eCornell, and its international program hosts scholars from other nations to conduct research in Ithaca as visiting fellows.[24] Starting in 1952, the school conducted the Liberian Codification Project under the direction of Milton R. Konvitz.[25]

The school also hosts:

Graduate students oversee the Cornell HR Review, an online journal that publishes on a rolling basis.[27] Since 1947, the school's faculty publishes a quarterly academic journal named the Industrial and Labor Relations Review.[28] The undergraduate ILR Sports Management Club has also published Sports, Inc. magazine each academic semester since Spring 2009.[29]



Current and former faculty include Charles Tharp, former SVP of HR at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Saks;[30][31] Kevin Hallock, board member for WorldatWork;[32] Francine D. Blau (also ILR alumna), first female recipient of the IZA Prize; and the 4th U.S. Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins—the first female U.S. Cabinet member, the longest-serving (12 years) Secretary of Labor, witness to the Triangle Factory fire, and champion of both the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Social Security Act.[33] Andy Stern, former President of the SEIU, holds an appointment as the Alice B. Grant Labor Leader in Residence at the school.[34]



General Management

Labor Organizations


Human Resource Management



  1. "NYS School of Industrial & Labor Relations". SUNY. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  2. Ives, Irving, M. (1945). The New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations--A New Venture in Education. Journal of Educational Sociology, 19 (1), 40-42
  3. Day, Edmund Ezra. (1950). The School at Cornell University. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 3(2), 221-228
  4. 1 2 "About the ILR School". Retrieved 2007-06-13.
  5. Rittenhouse, Ed. (1950). School with a Purpose. Journal of Higher Education, 21 (7), 360-362+393
  6. Shank, Donald J. (1947). Higher Education and Labor Relations. Journal of Educational Sociology, 20 (8), 465-469
  7. "Main". International HR Academy. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  8. "ILR in 2008". Cornell University. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
  9. "Ives Hall Facilities Information". Cornell University. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
  10. "SUNY Contract Colleges at Cornell University 2010 Campus Statement" (PDF). State University Construction Fund. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
  11. Myers, Linda (October 14, 2004). "Renovated ILR complex to celebrate grand opening Friday, Oct. 15". Cornell Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
  12. "Regional Offices". Cornell University. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  13. "About Cornell ILR". Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
  14. "Undergraduate Curriculum". Retrieved 2007-06-13.
  15. 1 2 "Careers". Cornell University. Retrieved 2010-12-19.
  16. "Life After ILR". Cornell University. Retrieved 2010-12-19.
  17. "Enrollment at a Glance" (PDF). Cornell University. Fall 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-19.
  18. "HR Games Roster of Champions". SHRM. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  19. "Cornell's Sexiest Majors". The Cornell Daily Sun. October 20, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  20. 1 2 "Internships and Work Experience Programs". Cornell University. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
  21. "Student Research". Cornell University. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
  22. "National MBA Human Capital Case Competition". Vanderbilt University. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  23. "Extension & Outreach". Cornell University. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  24. "ILR International Programs: Visiting Fellows". Cornell University. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  25. Milton R. Konvitz (Summer 1958). "The Liberian Code of Laws". Journal of African Law. 2 (2): 116–118. JSTOR 745266.
  26. "Centers and Institutes". Cornell University. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  27. "About CHRR". Cornell HR Review. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  28. "ILR Review". Cornell University. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  30. "Charles Tharp, BMS". Retrieved 26 August 2009. External link in |publisher= (help)
  31. "Charles Tharp, Saks". BusinessWire. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  32. "WatW Board Members". WorldatWork. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  33. "Perkins Q&A". Cornell ILR. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  34. "The Third Economic Revolution". Cornell University. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  35. "David A. Whetten bio". Marriott School of Management. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  36. "Harold O. Levy". Woodrow Wilson Center. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  37. "Gary Bettman". Cornell University. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  38. Catt, Mary. "Alum named Major League Baseball's next commissioner". Cornell.
  39. "Randi Weingarten". Cornell University. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  40. "Who Runs the Government: Seth Harris". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 5 July 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  41. "Michael Nozzolio". Cornell. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  42. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  43. "Gherson bio". IBM. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  44. "HR Profile of John Donnelly". Cornell University. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  45. "Forbes Profile of John Donnelly". Forbes. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  46. "National Business Group on Health Appoints Pamela Kimmet as Board Chair". Reuters. 6 August 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  47. "D'Ambrose to join ADM as SVP of HR". Archer Daniels Midland. 27 October 2006. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  48. "Christy Pambianchi". LinkedIn. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  49. "Cisco profile". Cisco. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  50. "Guide to the Walton E. Burdick Papers". Cornell University. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  51. "Ian Ziskin". Northrop Grumman. Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  52. "Our Leadership". EarthLink. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  53. "Jim Knowles". Cornell University. Archived from the original on 17 August 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  54. Horowitz, Jason (October 28, 2009). "Profile of public relations guru Matt Hiltzik, a former Democratic operative". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  55. "Dave Price". Cornell University. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
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