I spent the weekend in Ithaca, New York, for the Advisory Board Meeting of the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at Cornell's New York State School of Industrial & Labor Relations. Cornell ILR is my alma mater, and Marty Scheinman was a classmate. Now he's a prominent labor arbitrator and mediator and, with his wife Laurie, has become the primary sponsor of this program at Cornell ILR, with one of our favorite professors (and subsequently, dean of the school for many years) Dave Lipsky as Executive Director. The Institute is a fantastic program, providing research and training on dispute resolution, including a new program to train arbitrators and help them break into the profession.
The Advisory Board has existed for several years now, and is in the process of thinking through its role and ways to make a larger contribution to the program. Anybody who is interested in dispute resolution should google the institute and take a look at its activities. Definitely a program worth supporting!
Upcoming is one of their most ambitious undertakings: In response to a request from the NY State Education Department, they are putting together, on very short notice, a major conference next month to be held at Cornell at which hundreds of NY State school districts will be represented to discuss the implementation of new rules on the evaluations of teachers and principals. As they unfolded the details and the time scale to us, I was amazed at their ability to undertake and execute this. (Every large conference I've been involved with has had much more advance time for the planning and logistics.)