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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

Wichita State creates new industry links with alumni council for its business school

By David Schwartz
Published: August 3rd, 2021

A detailed article on the business school’s alumni council at Wichita State appears in the July issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For subscription information, click here. 

Like many other universities in the U.S., Wichita State has a robust, active alumni association, whose focus includes engagement with alumni in industry leadership positions. More recently, however, Wichita State has joined a more select group of institutions that are creating alumni organizations dedicated to specific colleges within their universities — in its case with the business school.

“The focus and primary goal of The Barton School of Business Alumni Council is alumni engagement and impact,” says Larisa V. Genin, PhD, Dean of WSU’s Barton School of Business. “We have over 20,000 alumni and we’d like to engage them in our transformational journey.” The council is a partnership between The Barton School and Wichita State University Alumni Association.

That transformation, she explains, includes the development of a new strategic plan. She will be looking to the council for feedback on the strategic direction of the school, student experience, business partnerships, and global outreach. The council members will also serve as guest speakers and mentors, host alumni events and engage in community service initiatives. “We also have internship opportunities we’d like to get in front of our students,” Genin notes.

Corporate partnerships, she adds, “are one of our major focuses. We partner with companies either for internship opportunities or full-time positions. We are also developing customized programs for these companies based on their needs to advance their workforce. There are a number of companies that are supporting us philanthropically, quite a few scholarships, and the list goes on. The council will contribute to further advancing on our vision and developing stronger linkages, building bridges and connections with our corporate partners.”

The decision to create the council evolved out of conversations about a few other business schools that had done so, says Courtney M. Marshall, president and CEO of the Wichita State University Alumni Association. “We’re always looking at best practices,” she says. “With the launch of a brand new building (Wayne and Kay Woolsey Hall, a $60 million, 136,000-square-foot academic building under construction on WSU’s Innovation Campus, is slated to open in 2022 as the new home of the business school), it was time for us to involve a lot of our alumni, and hopefully have worldwide involvement from council members. We wanted to be a global group up to 25 serving two-year terms.”

The business school already has an industry advisory board, she notes, but it is dedicated mostly to fundraising. “This way, we’ll involve more of our actual graduates, get word out about the amazing new building and all that goes with it, and try to create more ambassadors for the Barton School,” says Marshall.

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