Rounding off a nine-month-long search, Cornell named Alexander Colvin Ph.D ’99 its next Kenneth F. Kahn ’69 Dean of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations on Thursday, a five-year appointment effective July 1.
Colvin has served as interim dean since October, after the previous dean, Kevin Hallock, was selected to head the SC Johnson College of Business. Colvin currently is the Martin F. Scheinman Professor of Conflict Resolution and the associate dean for academic affairs, diversity and faculty development in ILR, and has been at Cornell since 2008.
As interim dean, Colvin oversaw initiatives including the opening of the new ILR Manhattan headquarters and a review of their undergraduate curriculum. He also chaired ILR’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and ILR’s Undergraduate Admissions Committee.
In addition to his appointments in ILR, Colvin is also an associate member of the Cornell Law School faculty. Graduate courses he has taught previously include Managing and Resolving Conflict and Arbitration Law, Policy and Practice.
Colvin’s research focus has mirrored his teaching interests: He’s concentrated on employment dispute resolution, nonunion workplaces and the impact of the legal environment on organizations, according to the ILR website.
Before his position at Cornell, Colvin taught at Pennsylvania State University from 1999 to 2008.
Colvin served as the associate editor of the Industrial and Labor Relations Review from 2011 to 2016, and has published numerous journal articles, book chapters and book reviews. He has co-authored two books and two textbooks.
Although he has spent the past quarter-century in the field of industrial and labor relations, he originally studied astronomy and astrophysics during his undergraduate years at the University of Toronto, graduating in 1989. The university also awarded him a J.D. in 1992 and a master’s degree in industrial relations in 1995.
In 1999, Colvin received his Ph.D in industrial and labor relations from Cornell. His dissertation, entitled “Citizens and Citadels: Dispute Resolution and the Governance of Employment Relations,” won the Industrial Relations Research Association Best Dissertation Award in 2000.
“[Colvin] has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the ILR School,” Provost Michael Kotlikoff said in a press release. “He’s been an active leader … and has made significant progress in diversifying the ILR faculty during his brief tenure as interim dean. Alex offers innovative ideas about the future of the school and will be an excellent addition to the university’s senior leadership.”