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NYS School of Industrial and Labor Relations
Cornell ILR wordmark
Established 1945
Type Contract
Dean Harry C. Katz
Faculty 50
Undergraduates 800
Postgraduates 180
Location Ithaca, New York, USA
Affiliations Cornell University

The New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) is an industrial relations school located in Ithaca, New York, USA, at Cornell University, a private university and member of the Ivy League. Established in 1945, ILR was the world's first school for college-level study in industrial relations and continues to be the only institution of higher education with a four-year undergraduate program focused on work and employment. The school offers several types of graduate degree programs and executive education workshops, and also has more faculty dedicated to teaching and research in work, employment, and labor than any other educational institution.[1]

ILR's campus comprises Ives Hall, the ILR Conference Center, and 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 belfy atop the ILR Conference Center

In 1944, forces leading to the creation of the school came from leaders in American business, industry, labor, government, and education. They believed that a new type of school was needed that focused on issues involving the American workplace. Similar academic centers were also launched at the University of Minnesota and several other U.S. and Canadian universities.


Legislation leading to formation of ILR

More specifically, ILR was established in 1945 through acts of legislature by 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]

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 University (the state’s land grant institution). Two years later, formal legislative action was taken and Governor Dewey approved ILR. 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]

Patriarchs of ILR

Ivy growing up the West wall of Ives Hall, one of ILR's principal facilities for instruction

Mr. Ives was the pioneering dean of ILR. However, soon after gaining this title he became a senate representative for the state of New York and left for Washington. Beginning in the summer of 1947, Martin P. Catherwood became the dean of ILR. The school was also championed by, then Chancellor of Cornell University, Edmund Ezra Day. The state of New York provided ILR with generous funding. Ever the dynamic institution, ILR soon had an established home at Cornell: facilities, multi-disciplinary faculty, and students, along with rapidly developing programs of study. From the beginning, “ILR embodied both the intellectual rigor of the Ivy League and the democratic spirit of state universities.”[4]

Original curriculum

ILR 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]

Organization and degree programs

ILR is divided into six departments: Collective Bargaining (which includes Labor Law and Labor History), Human Resource Studies, International and Comparative Labor Relations, Labor Economics, Organizational Behavior, and Social Statistics.

Undergraduate programs

South entrance to the ILR Courtyard

ILR is the world's only institution of higher education to offer a four-year undergraduate program focused on work and employment, the B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations (BSILR).[1] 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 ILR. Additionally, there are math and physical education requirements.[7]

Undergraduate dual-degree programs include the following:

  • B.S./M.S.: ILR undergraduates with strong GPA (3.5 or above) are given the option to apply to this five-year program. Undergraduate students choosing this option are required to provide the same application materials as a candidate whose undergraduate work was done with a school other than ILR.[8]
  • B.S./MBA: Highly qualified ILR undergraduates may apply to the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management for this five-year, dual-degree program. GMAT scores must be submitted as part of the program application. If accepted, the student is required to complete all requirements for the B.S. degree by the end of his/her junior year. The fourth and fifth years are then spent completing requirements for the MBA degree.[9]
  • B.S./MILR: ILR undergraduates may apply to Cornell University Graduate School for the 2-year professional MILR program. Undergraduate students choosing this option are required to provide the same MILR application materials as a candidate whose undergraduate work was done with a school other than ILR. They are also required to complete the MILR program's normal 48 credit hours.[9]

ILR 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.[10]

Graduate programs

The graduate-level degrees are offered through the Graduate School. ILR offers the following professional and academic graduate degrees:

Cornell MILR students may pursue a dual degree MIM or semester abroad at any of ESCP's campuses: Paris, Torino, Berlin, Madrid, London (pictured).
  • MILR/MBA: Dual-degree program with the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management. Students must apply and be accepted to both programs. One year is spent completing MILR core courses and electives. One and a half years is then spent completing 45 credit hours of MBA instruction.[12]
  • Master of Professional Studies (MPS): Professional degree designed for students who "are, or have been employed in human resources, dispute resolution, collective representation or other labor related fields and wish to upgrade their skills and understanding." Completion of the program can occur in one year with full-time study, pending 30 credit hours of study and completion of an MPS project. Study is offered at the Ithaca and New York City campuses.[13]
  • M.S./Ph.D.: Both degrees are intended for students wishing to pursue an academic or research career in human resources or labor relations. The M.S. degree is normally completed in two years and culminates with a Master's thesis. The Ph.D. degree is begun after the student has completed a master's degree or other advanced degree in the social sciences and culminates in a doctoral dissertation. In the case of both academic degree programs, ILR offers the following major areas of study: Collective Bargaining, Labor Law, and Labor History; Human Resource Studies; International Comparative Labor; and Organizational Behavior. ILR offers two minor programs of study: Social Statistics and labor economics.[14]


SEIU President Andy Stern concurrently holds an appointment at the ILR School.
Frances Perkins, who taught at ILR from 1952-1965, was the first female U.S. Cabinet member and the champion of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Social Security Act.


ILR claims to be home to the world's largest concentration of scholars in employment research and education.[15] Current and former faculty include Charles Tharp, former SVP of HR at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Saks;[16][17] Kevin Hallock, board member for WorldatWork;[18] and the 4th U.S. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, who was the first female U.S. Cabinet member, who served longer than anyone else as Secretary of Labor (12 years), who witnessed the Triangle Factory fire, and who championed the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Social Security Act.[19] Andy Stern, President of the SEIU, holds an appointment as the Alice B. Grant Labor Leader in Residence at the school.[20]


Graduates of ILR include Northrop Grumman CHRO Ian Ziskin (MILR '82),[21][22] Coca-Cola Enterprises SVP of HR Pam Kimmet (BSILR),[23] Corning Incorporated VP of HR Christy Pambianchi (BSILR '90),[24] Towers Perrin COO Stuart Roth (MILR/MBA '00),[25] PepsiCo (Quaker Oats) CHRO Michael DeAngelo (MILR '97),[26] SunGard SVP of HR Kathleen Weslock (MILR),[27] U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris (BSILR '83),[28] American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten (BSILR '80),[29] former Academy of Management President David A. Whetten (Ph.D. '74),[30] CBS's The Early Show reporter Dave Price (BSILR '87),[31] New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio,[32] former Cornell football head coach Jim Knowles (BSILR '87),[33] and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (BSILR '74).[34]

See also


  1. ^ a b "About Cornell ILR". Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  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. ^ a b "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. ^ "Undergraduate Curriculum". Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  8. ^ "MS Degree Track for BS ILR Students". Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  9. ^ a b "Undergraduate Dual Degree Programs". Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  10. ^ "HR Games Roster of Champions". SHRM. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  11. ^ "Master of Industrial and Labor Relations". Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  12. ^ "MILR/MBA Dual Degree Program". Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  13. ^ "Master of Professional Studies Programs". Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  14. ^ "Master of Science and PhD Program". Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  15. ^ "ILR Academics and Instructors". Cornell ILR. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  16. ^ "Charles Tharp, BMS". Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  17. ^ "Charles Tharp, Saks". BusinessWire. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  18. ^ "WatW Board Members". WorldatWork. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  19. ^ "Perkins Q&A". Cornell ILR. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  20. ^ "The Third Economic Revolution". Cornell University. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  21. ^ "Ian Ziskin". Northrop Grumman. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  22. ^ "Ian Ziskin". LinkedIn. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  23. ^ "National Business Group on Health Appoints Pamela Kimmet as Board Chair". Reuters. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  24. ^ "Christy Pambianchi". LinkedIn. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  25. ^ "Stuart Roth". LinkedIn. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  26. ^ "Michael DeAngelo". LinkedIn. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  27. ^ "Voice of Experience: Kathleen Weslock, Head of Human Resources, SunGard". The Glass Hammer. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  28. ^ "Who Runs the Government: Seth Harris". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  29. ^ "Randi Weingarten". Cornell. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  30. ^ "David A. Whetten bio". Marriott School of Management. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  31. ^ "Dave Price". Cornell. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  32. ^ "Michael Nozzolio". Cornell. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  33. ^ "Jim Knowles". Cornell. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  34. ^ "Gary Bettman". Cornell. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 

External links

Coordinates: 42°26′55″N 76°28′43″W / 42.448510°N 76.478620°W / 42.448510; -76.478620


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