Skip to main content

Cornell University

Vice Provost Nishii

Lisa Nishii is a Professor in the Human Resource Studies department in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR). She joined the faculty at Cornell after earning her Ph.D. and M.A. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Maryland at College Park and B.A. in Economics from Wellesley College. After serving as the director of ILR's International Programs for five years, Lisa moved into her current role as the university's Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE) in 2018. In 2022, she became the inaugural director of ILR WIDE, a center focused on Workplace Inclusion and Diversity Education at the ILR School. Since May of 2023, Lisa has also been serving as the university's Vice Provost for Enrollment, overseeing university admissions, financial aid, registrar, and compliance. 

Building on the robust student access and success programs already in place in the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives and Learning Strategies Center and rich experiential learning curricula offered in the faculty-led Living-Learning communities, under Lisa's leadership, the OVPUE launched new centers for Student Veterans (including the Veterans Summer Bridge Program) and Health Professions Advising, developed an online marketplace for students to find global and engaged learning opportunities, and implemented a powerful advising (CRM) platform. Further, in close collaboration with campus partners, OVPUE designed and implemented a sophisticated system for instructors to report academic concerns directly into the advising platform. Together with Lisa's sponsorship of a new university-wide Professional Academic Advising Community (PAAC), these new initiatives have greatly enhanced the interconnectedness and strength of undergraduate advising at Cornell. 

Catalyzed by recommendations made by the 2018 Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate (co-chaired by Lisa), both the approach and impact of the Intergroup Dialogue Project has radically evolved in exciting ways. What started as a semester-long undergraduate course has expanded to include required small-group orientation workshops for all incoming undergraduate students, follow-up workshops in multiple colleges, year-long curricula for academic advisors, customized multi-session programming for academic departments and college leadership teams, courses for graduate and professional students, a course for instructors on fostering freedom of expression in the classroom, and niche courses for undergraduate students for example on dialogue across political differences, the science of purpose, and inclusive leadership. 

As VPUE, Lisa serves as a nexus of collaboration across Cornell's nine undergraduate colleges and schools on issues related to academic policies, curricula, advising, pedagogy, and student engagement. As a member of the senior executive leadership team, she oversees many university-wide initiatives related to educational technologies, campus climate, accreditation, risk and compliance, health and wellbeing, institutional safety, and the stewardship of student data, as well as special projects such as the design of the new online, part-time bachelor's degree program at Cornell and the university's strategic response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

As Vice Provost for Enrollment, Lisa has been deftly leading the implementation of recommendations from the 2023 Presidential Task Force on Undergraduate Admissions, including the expansion of strategic partnerships for recruiting prospective students, data-informed decision making, and process refinements. She has accelerated progress towards President Pollack's affordability initiative by increasing the number of students receiving financial aid, raising the income threshold for no-loan financial aid packages, and eliminating students' summer earnings expectation. 

Scholarship and Teaching


Lisa was inspired to pursue a research career when, as an undergraduate student, she discovered research articles that helped her make sense of the often clashing individualistic (American) and collectivistic (Japanese) values underlying her mixed identity and childhood experiences growing up in Tokyo, Japan. For many years during graduate school and beyond, she worked as part of team that introduced a new model for understanding how cross-cultural differences in historical, ecological, and institutional factors influence the strength of social norms which in turn dictate the adaptive psychological processes that are nurtured in a culture. Their first empirical test of the theory, which involved collecting multi-level (societal, organizational, and individual) data across 33 countries, was published in Science.

Lisa's interest in social norms carries through to her research on organizational climate, or the expectations and reward systems that shape human behavior in the workplace. She is most well known for her pioneering research on climate for inclusion – what it is, how it is shaped by leaders, and the consequences for both group processes and individual outcomes. Her research continues to be fundamentally multi-level in nature, examining the complex interplay of organizational practices and leadership, group processes, and individual-level experiences using a mix of methodologies including multi-source surveys, longitudinal, archival, experimental, and quasi-experimental. Her research has been published in top-tier journals such as Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Annals, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Personnel Psychology, and has been recognized by a wide range of national and international awards.

Like other experts in the field, Lisa is actively engaged with both government agencies and private corporations, and has served as an expert on issues related to diversity for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Army Research Institute, NASA, the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, the World Economic Forum, the Society for Human Resource Management, Personnel Roundtable, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Math, and global multinational corporations. She is passionate about pushing organizations to understand the ways in which diversity and inclusion policies are insufficient for promoting inclusive climates because they are often not enacted as espoused, are disconnected from employees' everyday experiences, and fail to alter the relational roots of inclusion. 


Selected Publications

Paluch, R., Zatzick, C., & Nishii, L. (2023). A cross-level theory of alumni-organization relationships. Academy of Management Review

Nishii, L.H. & Leroy, H. (2022). Intoducing a multi-level framework of inclusive leadership to guide future research. Group and Organization Management, 47(4), 683-722. 

Van Knippenberg, D., Nishii, L.H., & Dwertmann, D. (2020). Synergy from diversity: Managing the performance benefits of diversity. Behavioral Science and Policy, 6(1), 75-92.

Nishii, L.H. & Leroy, H.L. (2020). Leadership for inclusive workgroup climates. In B.M. Ferdman, J.Prime, & R.E. Riggio (Eds.), Inclusive leadership: Transforming diverse lives, workplaces, and societies (pp. 162-178). Routledge.

Nishii, L.H. (2020). What the research tells us: The role of inclusive climates in closing the gender gap. In E.Kossek & K.H. Lee (eds.), Creating Gender-Inclusive Organizations: Lessons from Research and Practice to Advance Women Leaders (pp.15-25) Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press. 

Gelfand, M.J., Caluori, N., Gordon, S., Raver, J., Nishii, L.H., Leslie, L., & Lun, J. (2020). Culture's constraints: The role of situational constraint in culture system. In J.F. Rauthmann R.Sherman, & D.C. Funder (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Psychological Situations. 

Nishii, L.H., Khattab, J., Shemla, M., & Paluch, R. (2018). A multi-level process model for understanding diversity pratice effectiveness. Academy of Management Annals, 21(1), 37-82. 

*Winner of the Emerald Best Paper Award (2017), awarded by the Gender & Diversity in Organizations Division of the Academy of Management

Nishii, L.H. & Paluch, R. (2018). Leaders as HR sensegivers: Four HR implementation behaviors that create strong HR system. Human Resource Management Review, 28(3), 319-323. 

Dwertmann, D., Nishii, L.H., & van Knippenberg, D. (2016). Diversity climate: Synthesizing a diverse field. Journal of Management, 42(5), 1136-1168.

Schur, L., Nishii, L.H., Kruse, D., Adya, M., Bruyere, S., & Blanck, P.D. (2014). Accommodating employees with and without disabilities. Human Resource Management, 53(4), 593-621.

Nishii, L.H. (2013). The Benefits of climate for inclusion for gender diverse groups. Academy of Management Journal, 56(6), 1754-1774.

Chrobot-Mason, D., Ruderman, M., & Nishii, L.H. (2013). Leadership in a diverse workplace. In Q. Roberson (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Diversity and Work. Oxford University Press. 

Wright, P., & Nishii, L. (2013). Strategic HRM and organizational behavior: Integrating multiple levels of analysis. in D. Guest, J. Paauwe, & P. Wright (Eds). HRM and Performance: Achievement and Challenges (pp.97-110). Blackwell Publishing. 

Gelfand, M.G., Raver, J.L., Nishii, L.H., Leslie, L., Duan L., et al (2011). The emergence of tightness versus looseness in large-scale societies. Science, 323, 1100-1104 

*Winner of the Most Influential Paper Award for 2017, awarded by the Conflict Management Division of the Academy of Management

*Winner of the 2012 Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize, awarded by the Society for the Psychological Stufy of Social Issues (SPSSI)

Raver, J.L. & Nishii, L.H. (2010). Once, twice, or three times as harmful? Ethnic harassment, gender harassment, and generalized workplace harassment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(2), 236-254. 

Nishii, L.H. & Meyer, D. (2009). Do inclusive leaders help to reduce turnover in diverse groups? The moderating role of leader-member exchange in the diversity to performance relationship. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(6), 1412-1426. 

*Nominated for the Academy of Management's 2010 Saroj Parasuraman Award for the best journal article in the field of gender and diversity published in 2009. 

Nishii L.H., Lepak, D.P., Schneider, B. (2008). Employee attributions of the “why” of HR practices: Their effects on employee attitudes and behaviors, and customer satisfaction.  Personnel Psychology, 61 (3), 503-545. 

*Winner of the Wallace Reins Best Dissertation Award (2005), awarded by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. 

*Runner-up for the Academy of Management’s HR Division’s Scholarly Achievement Award for 2008. 

Nishii L.H., & Wright, P. (2008). Variability within organizations: Implications for strategic human resource management.  In D.B. Smith (Ed.), The people make the place (pp.225-248).  Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 

Mayer, D.M., Nishii, L.H., Schneider, B., & Goldstein, H. (2007). The precursors and products of justice climates: Group leader antecedents and employee attitudinal consequences.  Personnel Psychology, 60(4), 929-963.  

Salvaggio, A.N., Schneider, B., Nishii, L.H., Mayer, D., Ramesh, A., & Lyon, J. (2007).  Manager personality, manager service quality orientation, and service climate: Test of a model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(6), 1741-1750.   

Gelfand,M. J., Nishii, L.H., & Raver, J.L. (2006). On the nature and importance of cultural tightness-looseness.  Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(6), 1225-1244.   

Gelfand, M.J., Smith, V. M., Raver, J., Nishii, L., & O’Brien, K. (2006).  Negotiating Relationally:  The Dynamics of the Relational Self in Negotiations.  Academy of Management Review, 31(2), 427-451.  

Gelfand, M.J., Bhawuk, D.P., Nishii, L.H., & Bechtold, D. (2004). Individualism and collectivism. R. J. House, P.J. Hanges, M. Javidan, P.W. Dorfman, & V. Gupta (Eds.). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 cultures. Sage Publications.   

Gelfand, M.J., Higgins, M., Nishii, L.H., Raver, J.L., Dominguez, A., Yamaguchi, S., & Toyama, M. (2002). Culture and egocentric perceptions of fairness in conflict and negotiation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(5), 833-845. 

*Winner of the Best Empirical Paper Published in 2002 in Conflict & Negotiation Award, International Association of Conflict Management  

Gelfand, M. J., Nishii, L.H., Holcombe, K., Dyer, N., Ohbuchi, K., & Fukuno, M. (2001). Cultural influences on cognitive representations of conflict: Interpretations of conflict episodes in the U.S. and Japan.  Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(6), 1059-1074. 

*Winner of the Best Empirical Paper Award, 11th Annual Conference of the International Association of Conflict Management (1998)  

*Honorable Mention, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues Klineberg Award (2001)  

Selected Teaching and Service Awards

SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service (2023) 

Janet Chusmir Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contributions to the advancement of the status of women and people of color in the Academy and in organizations, the Gender & Diversity in Organizations Division of the Academy of Management (2019)

eCornell Trailblazer Award (2018)

Best Practices in Diversity and Inclusion Award (for work as past chair of the Gender and Diversity Organizations Division), the inclusion theme track committee of the Academy of Management (2017)

Kendall S. Carpenter Memorial Advising Award, Cornell University (2010)

Robert N. Stern Teaching and Mentoring Award, The ILR School, Cornell University (2009)

Wallace Reins Best Dissertation Award, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (2005)

MacIntyre Award for Exemplary Teaching, The ILR School, Cornell University (2004)

Milton Dean Havron Social Sciences Award for Outstanding Achievements as a Doctoral Student, University of Maryland Department of Psychology (2002)

Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society

Selected Grants

Nishii, L. (Principal Investigator). Arthur O. Eve Educational Opportunity Program 

Nishii, L. (Principal Investigator). Higher Education Opportunity Program

Nishii, L. (Co-Principal Investigator). Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program

Nishii, L. (Principal Investigator). Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program.

Ratwani, K., Horn, Z., & Nishii, L.H. (2014) Leading organizational transformation: Leader strategies for creating an inclusive climate. Grant awarded by the Army Research Institute. $220,000 (with an additional $350,000 pending). 

Nishii Rubineau, & Bruyere (2011). Social networks, climate for inclusion, and employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Funded by the Department of Education, $606,000.

Bruyere, Hallock, Barrington, & Nishii (2010). Employer practices related to employment outcomes among individuals with disabilities. Grant awarded by the Department of Education, $4,000,000.

Nishii, Ainspan, & Bruyere (2007). Workforce policies and practices to promote effective inclusion, engagement, and retention of the aging American workforce. SHRM Foundation grant, $76,233.

Bruyere & Nishii (The Employment and Disability Institute, Cornell University), in collaboration with The Burton Blatt Institute (Syracuse University) and The Program for Disability Research (Rutgers University) (2007). Disability case study research consortium on employer organizational practices in employing people with disabilities. Grant awards by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, Department of Labor, $500,000.

Sample Courses

  • Diversity, discrimination, and inclusion in organizations
  • International and comparative human resource management
  • Cross-cultural perspectives on work
  • Human Resource Management for small enterprises in emerging markets (global engaged learning courses)
  • Personnel selection and training
  • Introduction to human resource management

Additional OVPUE Highlights

Alternative testing program

The OVPUE loves to pilot new and innovate ideas. In response to growing demand from instructors for help in managing logistics for accommodated testing, in the fall of 2022 a pilot proctoring program was launched to support twenty courses. With a great deal of input from patient faculty and with no designated physical testing center, the pilot has since developed into a full-fledged program called the "Alternative Testing Program" for hiring and assigning exam proctors, reserving classrooms for administering accommodated tests, coordinating scheduling with students and faculty, and managing all related communications for hundred of courses. 

Student evaluations of teaching

Lisa took the lead in convening a committee of faculty experts to critique existing approaches to student evaluations of teaching (of which there were over 100 across academic units), leveraging research insights to draft a core set of questions that would be less prone to bias and yield more useful feedback for instructors, and recommend vendor solutions for the administration of teaching evaluations. The implementation of centralized technology to administer more standardized teaching evaluations is now being led by the Vice Provost for Academic Innovation

First year and sophomore experience

OVPUE actively co-leads an effort to organize first and sophomore year programming, associated learning outcomes, and assessment initiatives around four core developmental goals: connection, curiosity, agency, and purpose. 

Health-promoting campus

Lisa is the executive sponsor for the academic recommendations related to undergraduate education contained in the Final Report of the Mental Health Review conducted in 2019-2020. She currently serves as an executive sponsor of the Student Wellbeing Council and, along with President Pollack and university leaders, signed the Okanagan Charter, which embraces Cornell’s commitment to prioritizing health and well-being.