Beginning in late August, Christine Lovely will take office as the new director of Cornell’s human resources department, leading a division responsible for 18,000 staff and faculty at Cornell’s campuses in Ithaca, Geneva, New York and Qatar.
The transition to leadership of the University’s human resources division comes amid recent reports regarding a graduate student’s experience with the Title IX Office’s handling of a complaint she filed. Lovely’s new role will also include overseeing 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 director of human resources overseeing Davis’ central campus and healthcare system.
Prior to working in human resources, Lovely, who earned a JD from UC Davis School of Law, pursued a career in public interest and education law. She represented disability and personnel clients at Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud and Romo from 1996 to 2006, worked for the Public Employment Relations Board from 2006 to 2008, and later at the Sacramento County Office of Education in 2008 to 2010.
At Davis, Lovely handled issues with UC’s rollout of the UCPath payroll system that affected 800 people and led to a walkout of student employees who had difficulty receiving correct and timely pay.
In a University press release, Lovely said she would lead the University department with a focus on the employee experience, caring for those who must continually “reassess their priorities in a context global pandemic and social justice”.
Lovely has previous experience with pandemic-related issues having undertaken similar efforts at Davis in partnership with the UC task force, Workplace Reimagined to examine what work might look like after the pandemic, find solutions for full or partial remote work environments and develop additional office spaces at the university.
Lovely said her first task would be to learn about Cornell’s people, culture and programs and what sets the university apart as an employer in order to better lead the division. According to the University’s press release, despite being a longtime California native, Lovely is excited about change and the opportunity to innovate.
“It’s so important to get out there and meet and talk to people on all levels,” Lovely said. “I’ve always been the type of leader who wants to engage with employees and mentor them, support their development, and ensure people have the opportunity to advance in their careers.”