Beginning in late August, Christine Lovely will begin her role as the new Chief Officer of Cornell’s Human Resources Department, leading a division responsible for 18,000 staff and faculty members across Cornell’s campuses in Ithaca, Geneva, New York City and Qatar.
The transition in leadership of the University’s HR division comes amidst recent reports regarding a graduate student’s experience with the Title IX Office’s management of a complaint she had filed. Lovely’s new role will also include oversight of the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX.
Lovely comes to Cornell from the University of California Davis where she held the title of Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Human Resources Officer overseeing Davis’ central campus and Health System.
Prior to her work in HR, Lovely, who holds a Juris Doctor degree from the UC Davis School of Law, maintained a career in public-interest and education law. She represented clients in disability and personnel issues at the firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud and Romo from 1996 to 2006, worked for the Public Employment Relations Board from 2006 to 2008 and later the Sacramento County Office of Education from 2008 to 2010.
At Davis, Lovely handled troubles with the UC’s rollout of the UCPath payroll system that affected 800 individuals and led to a walkout of student employees who faced difficulties receiving timely and correct pay.
In a University press release, Lovely said she will lead the University’s department by placing a prime on employee experience, caring for those who are continually having to “reassess their priorities amid a global pandemic and social justice reckonings.”
Lovely has prior experience with issues related to the pandemic having undertaken similar endeavors at Davis in partnership with the UC’s working group, Workplace Reimagined to consider what work could look like after the pandemic, find solutions for sustained full remote or partial remote work environments and develop additional office spaces at the university.
Lovely said that her first order of business will be getting to know Cornell’s employees, culture and programs and what has distinguished the university as an employer in order to best lead the division. According to the University press release, despite being a longtime California native, Lovely is excited for the change and opportunity to innovate.
“It’s so important to get out and meet and talk to people at all levels,” Lovely said. “I’ve always been the type of leader that wants to engage with and mentor employees, support their development and ensure that people have an opportunity to advance in their careers.”