Sept. 5, 2008

New ILR students get inside view of CU as an employer

In their first week at Cornell, some 50 new students in the ILR School learned about their university as a place to work from Cornell Vice President for Human Resources Mary G. Opperman.

Cornell's academic and administrative sides joined forces in Ives Hall Aug. 26 to provide these new students with the rich laboratory of Cornell's own operations to explore such contemporary employment issues as recruitment and retention of diverse talent and the problems of replacing soon-to-retire workers over age 50 and managing a multigenerational workforce.

The introductory program "provides our first-year students with an informed introduction to human-resource issues in both union and nonunion settings, as well as to the range of employees required to run this great university they will call 'home' for the next four years," says Robert Smith, ILR's associate dean for academic affairs.

After interacting with Opperman on factors affecting Cornell as an employer, the HR students split into groups to visit Cornell's heating plant, Plantations, School of Hotel Administration or the Nanofabrication Facility and discuss HR concerns with the units' HR directors. They addressed such issues as recruitment methods, scheduling different trades in a 24-hour operation and handling staff needs for taking care of a sick child, taking a class, or participating in the Wellness Program.

Marguerite Spencer is a writer for the Office of Human Resource Communication Services.