Welcome back to all of you returning to the Centre, and welcome anew to those joining us for the first time!
New Faculty and Visitors
In fact, I wanted to begin my Fall 2019 message by introducing everyone to our newest colleagues. In July of 2019 we welcomed several new faculty. First off, is our new full-time tenure stream faculty member, Prof. Santiago Campero (PhD MIT, 2016), who joins us from HEC Montreal. Santiago will be teaching two Masters level courses this academic year, including a revamped IRE1611H course—now titled Sociology of Work and Organizations—and IRE1609 Strategic Human Resources.
Prof. Padraic Scanlan (PhD Princeton, 2013), who was teaching at the London School of Economics prior to arriving in Toronto, also joined the Centre this summer. He is cross-appointed at the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies (CDTS). Padraic will be teaching undergraduates in the Winter term in our newly revamped IRE199 Why We Work? course, which gives first year students at U of T a chance to experience a small (<30 student) University seminar experience.
We also welcome Prof. Alica Eads (PhD Cornell, 2017) who is cross-appointed with the Department of Sociology and will be teaching IRE260 Organizational Behaviour in the Winter term. Prof. Eads is also expecting her second child in October, so she will be welcoming a new member to her family soon!
In terms of visitors to the Centre, we would like to first say goodbye to our 2018-19 Visiting PhD student—Liqian Yang—who visited us for the 2018-2019 academic year from Renmin University in Beijing, China. As a doctoral student at Renmin University’s School of Labor and Human Resources, Liqian completed two papers on Chinese unions and followership while based here.
While we say goodbye, we also say hello to Dr. Dan Samosh (Phd Queens, 2019) who recently defended his thesis on health and work and who will be joining the Centre as a Post-doctoral research fellow under the joint supervision of myself and Dr. Emile Tompa.
As we celebrate the arrival of new faces to CIRHR, it is with much sadness that we also had to bid farewell to an old friend and supporter of the Centre, Dr. Chris Schenk. Chris was a prominent and much loved member of the organized labour community in Ontario and also a long standing lecturer here at the Centre. He was also a well-known author and researcher and served as a member of the Sefton-Williams award selection committee (he himself was a winner in 2011) for many years.
Also in March, Guenther Lomas (PhD Candidate, 2019) was the keynote speaker in at the prestigious Colloquium on Personnel Economics 2019 in Augsburg, Germany. The organizers even decided to assign your presentation to a plenary session. The paper on which the talk was based "Employee involvement and overall job satisfaction: Evidence from four Anglo-American economies" was published in June in the Journal of Participation and Economic Organization.
In spring 2019 CIRHR partnered with Lancaster House Publishing (our long-standing partner in hosting major labour relations conferences and co-sponsor of the annual Bora Laskin Award) to offer alumni and other related IR professionals an executive learning experience. The theme for 2019 was “Mental Health at Work” and was provided by expert in the field Dr. Michael Condra. Two sessions were held, one in Toronto and one in Edmonton. Our goal is to continue to offer professional and executive learning opportunities covering new and emerging themes in the work of work and HR.
Our PhDs began a self-organized invited luncheon talk, aimed at bringing in various players in the field of IR/HR to come talk to our doctoral students. Organizing a lunch with a professor in the field of Industrial Relations and Human Resource has now become a tradition student’s look forward to. In December 2018, they met with Dr. Angela Hildyard, of the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at OISE, U of T. Dr. Hilyard is the former Vice-President, Human Resources and Equity at the University of Toronto and currently serves as special adviser to the president and provost. She spoke to doctoral students about her role as a senior Academic negotiator and about labour relations issues here at the university.
Following on the heels of our successful first CIRHR public exhibit (co-sponsored with Woodsworth College)—The Changing Face of Work—we have now embarked on a new theme for 2019-20; the question of why we work. The exhibit, not surprisingly, is titled Why We Work and it will explore the differing conceptions of work over time and space and feature dramatic visuals to emphasize the message that work is not ‘one thing’ and is often times socially constructed and influenced. As a footnote, our first exhibit, which looked at how work has changed in the 50 years since the Centre was established, has been on loan and is currently being displayed in Queens University (Kingston ON) in their MIR program.
Finally, in terms of new initiatives we would like to thank Prof. Greg Distelhorst for starting the Work in Progress (WIP) seminar in 2018-19. Greg created this series essentially from scratch, and despite crowded schedules and busy lives, the seminars were not only well attended, but the first year saw a nice mix of CIRHR faculty and PhDs present and share their work. In 2019-20 Prof. Santiago Campero has agreed to be the lead organizer and Greg has agreed to be the first speaker on Sep 25th!
Nominate a former MIRHR grad now! Do you know an alumn—or current student—from one of our programs who has combined outstanding professional achievement with significant service to the Centre? Nominations for the 2019 Morley Gunderson Prize may be submitted by current students, graduates, faculty and staff to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In spring 2019 we co-hosted the annual Sefton-Williams Memorial Lecture, which this year was held on March 28. Professor Judy Fudge delivered a provocative talk entitled “What makes Labour Free? (And Why this Question Matters)”, which generated lots of discussion afterwards. The 2019 Sefton-Williams award was fittingly given to Prof. Fudge’s long-time collaborator and co-author Eric M. Tucker (Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University).
In March 2019, CIRHR students from IRE1635 Collective Bargaining and IRE1338 Law of the Workplace faced off against representatives from the MIR program at Queen's University and Graduate Certificate students from Seneca College at the 2019 Inter-University Negotiation Competition. The annual event, intended to test students’ bargaining skills, consisted of a multi-party industrial relations problem based on the construction industry. Each student portrayed a unique role and faced off with a combination of other students in one of five of the negotiation rooms in the Centre. Our team of fifteen students devoted much energy to preparing and completing the competition and placed a close second in the competition. Three of our students, Hao (Jerry) Zhang, Emily Niles, and Maisha Uddin, were recognized for achieving the top score in their role category, and two of our students, Natalia Yutovets and Emily Niles, were recognized for being a part of the group that achieved the top solution to the problem. This was the second year in a row that the CIRHR has hosted the event, with the support of staff and faculty, in particular Prof. Bob Thompson who notes that much credit goes to our students, too: “They act as such great ambassadors. They were the consummate hosts and true specialists in their field.”
Finally, on June 6, 2019, we hosted our semi-annual Spring Alumni Event, where lots of familiar faces returned to the Centre for an informal mix and mingle and to listen to a thematic talk on the subject of “Turning Recruiting into Your Competitive Advantage,” which was given by well-known HR consultant and author Simon Parkin.
All in all, it’s been an eventful 2018-19 academic term and we should all be proud of the collective accomplishments of our group. In a follow up message later this term, I will highlight all of the amazing initiatives and events that are on tap for the 2019-20 academic year!
Director, Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources
Professor of Employment Relations
University of Toronto