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  • Department of Communication
  • Communication
Diane E. Bailey, Geri Gay Professor of Communication, department of communication

Academic focus: Technology, work, and organization

Previous positions: Associate/Assistant Professor, School of Information, The University of Texas at Austin, 2009 – 2019; Terman Fellow and Jack A. McCullough Scholar and Assistant Professor, Department of Management Science & Engineering, School of Engineering, Stanford University, 1998 – 2009; Fred O’Green Chair and Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Southern California, 1994 – 1998.

Academic background: Ph.D. Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, University of California, Berkeley, 1991-1994; M. S. Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, University of California, Berkeley, 1989-90. B. S. Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, University of California, Berkeley, 1986-88.

What do you like to do when you’re not working? I love to take road trips with my husband. With our daughter, we enjoy exploring nearby places and being with our dogs. Our family spans the U.S. and India, which triggers numerous discussions and reflections that I enjoy.

Current outreach/extension projects: Directly before coming to Ithaca, I handled student diversity recruitment for my school at UT Austin, visiting Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as Hispanic Serving Institutions in Texas. We met over 300 students and talked to them about our programs.

Three adjectives people might use to describe you: Happy, smart, determined.

What brought you to Cornell CALS? Colleagues who are great scholars and nice people – a winning combination.

What do you think is important for people to understand about your field? In our workplaces, we—or at least our managers—have choices about the technologies that we employ, and those choices shape the outcomes we experience. Because work is so central, not just in the time it consumes from our days, but in how it shapes our identities and teaches us about others, these outcomes and choices are important. Studying how, why and to what end people use technology at work is thrilling for me.

If you had unlimited grant funding, what major problem in your field would you want to solve? I think I would want to start with making sure that we design and use information and communication technologies to achieve, not deter, social justice in the form of equal opportunities, privileges, and the like. I’m particularly interested in the work aspects of such technologies.

What was your most valuable research experience when you were a student? I traveled across the U.S. and to Japan to study workers in semiconductor fabrication facilities. I learned that many workplace dynamics transcend local cultures and that people like to talk about their work.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about Cornell and/or Ithaca? I was interested to learn that the founding of the university occurred just a few weeks after the Civil War ended. As for Ithaca, I was surprised about the waterfalls in town (great!) and that I must put a tag on my trash can for it be picked up (hey!).

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