Alexander Colvin named interim dean of ILR

Alexander Colvin

Alexander Colvin, Ph.D. ’99, the Martin F. Scheinman Professor of Conflict Resolution and associate dean for academic affairs, diversity and faculty development in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, has been named interim dean of ILR, Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced Oct. 9. His appointment was approved by the State University of New York Board of Trustees.

A member of the faculty since 2008, Colvin will assume the post today and will remain until a new dean takes over. A search for a new dean will begin immediately, Kotlikoff said. Colvin succeeds Kevin Hallock, the Kenneth F. Kahn ’69 Dean, who was named dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business Oct. 2.

“Alex is one of the university’s most able and experienced leaders and scholars, and he has a deep knowledge and appreciation of the ILR ecosystem,” Kotlikoff said. “Cornell is fortunate to have his perspective and strong institutional values to guide ILR during this interim period.”

Hallock added: “Alex is extremely smart, has the highest standards, is balanced and loves ILR. I have been lucky to work very closely with him for the last few years. He will be terrific in this role.”

As associate dean since 2016, Colvin oversees courses and curriculum and has worked closely with Hallock in leading ILR’s academic operations. He also chairs ILR’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and ILR’s Undergraduate Admissions Committee. In his faculty development role, he is involved in faculty annual reviews and helps the dean manage promotions and tenures.

From 2015 to 2016, he co-chaired ILR’s strategic planning process, which set the agenda for the school’s current initiatives. They include a curriculum review, which Colvin is leading. He is also guiding an active program of faculty hiring in anticipation of impending retirements, with the goal of building on ILR’s research and teaching strengths and diversifying the faculty; the school is currently conducting searches for six faculty positions, which he has been overseeing.

As interim dean, a major priority will be to complete these searches, he said. “I am committed to working to recruit and retain an excellent and diverse ILR faculty,” he said, noting that one of his important roles last year was serving as a member of the Provost’s Task Force to Enhance Faculty Diversity.

“Great things are happening at the ILR School,” Colvin said. “ILR continues to be a global leader as it informs national and international employment and labor policy, improves working lives and prepares leaders.” And the school is in the process of moving its New York City offices to a new facility that will provide “a superb location” for its outreach work and academic programs, he noted.

“ILR continues to be a jewel in Cornell’s crown, and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to serve in this new role,” he said.

An associate faculty member of Cornell Law School and a scholar of employment dispute resolution, Colvin’s research focuses on procedures in nonunion workplaces and the impact of the legal environment on organizations. His current projects include empirical investigations of employment arbitration and a cross-national study of workplace dispute resolution in Australia, Germany, Italy and the United States.

Colvin has published widely in academic journals. He has also co-written or co-edited four books; these include the textbook An Introduction to U.S. Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations with ILR faculty member Harry Katz and former faculty member Thomas Kochan. From 2011 to 2016, Colvin was associate editor of the Industrial and Labor Relations Review.

Prior to joining Cornell, he was a faculty member at Pennsylvania State University in the Department of Labor Studies and Industrial Relations 1999-2008.

Colvin earned three degrees from the University of Toronto: a Bachelor of Science in astronomy and astrophysics in 1989, a Juris Doctorate in 1992 and a master’s in industrial relations in 1995. He earned a fourth degree – a Ph.D. in industrial and labor relations – from Cornell in 1999.

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John Carberry