Industry-Sponsored Research Week
University-Industry Engagement Advisor

Connecting students with industry is the driving goal of specialized program

By David Schwartz
Published: March 12th, 2019

There is vertical — and then there’s vertical. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Supply Chain Management Institute (SCMI) is, as its name implies, focused on a very specific area of business. And since 2010, SCMI’s “raison d’etre” has been to create and expand new ways for supply chain management students to interact with industry.

“What they’ve built here, there’s none other like it in the state,” says Ronald Tatum, director of supply chain for Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin. “Those guys are fantastic, the students are great, and the fastest growing industry in the world is supply chain management.”

“We started as a way to connect industry and people in the community here with our supply chain program and students,” says Mark Kosfeld, associate director of SCMI, which is part of the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business. The institute, he explains, is membership-based. “Company members pay an annual fee, and there are a number of things we do for and with them, depending on their membership levels.” The membership levels and fees are as follows: Participating, $15K/year; Supporting, $35K/year; Founding, $50K/year.

Member companies are “true partners,” the institute website explains, “providing direction for the Institute and UWM’s curriculum. Our member companies work collaboratively with students on solutions to company problems. Member companies are also provided with access to the latest supply chain research and the opportunity to engage in peer-to-peer networking with other supply chain executives.”

SCMI outlines its key areas of focus as follows:

  • Facilitate knowledge partnerships between academia and industry;
  • Deliver a high quality supply chain curriculum;
  • Create a vibrant environment for the generation and dissemination of knowledge;
  • Foster interdisciplinary collaboration across the UW-Milwaukee campus and throughout the UW System in the field of supply chain management.

In terms of industry engagement, working with SCMI students on company projects is a major draw. Do they need to be a “Founding” member to gain the assistance of students? Not necessarily, says Kosfeld. “Companies on any membership level have done projects, although sometimes it comes down to resources.”

Resources, in this case, means student availability. At the higher levels of membership, says Kosfeld, student involvement in company projects is guaranteed throughout the year. “Entry level members are not guaranteed, but they can have assistance as we have student availability,” he notes. SCMI will also entertain ad hoc projects on a fee basis with non-members.

A detailed article on the institute’s corporate membership program appears in the February issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For subscription information, CLICK HERE.  

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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