University-Industry Engagement Week

Ole Miss uses Engagement Council and new “Hub” website to boost partnerships

By David Schwartz
Published: January 10th, 2022

A detailed article on the new industry engagement web hub at Ole Miss and the university’s Industry Engagement Council appears in the December issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For subscription information, click here. 

The University of Mississippi has launched a website it calls its “Industry Engagement Hub”  to help build industry partnerships — and a key participant in the development of the site was the UM “Industry Engagement Council,” established in 2019 specifically to help create those strategic alliances.

“My position was conceptualized because the university recognized it needed a cohesive approach to industry, and that it also needed to be proactive in building industry relationships,” explains Hughes Miller, director of industry giving and engagement in the Office of University Development and a member of the Industry Engagement Council. “But those are separate; you can have a cohesive approach but not necessarily be proactive — and vice-versa. Part of helping support the cohesive aspect is the internal Industry Engagement Council.”

Hughes tried to keep the new group as small as he could to help ensure its productivity, while still ensuring it was inclusive of the roles on campus focused on building industry relationships. In all, it includes about 18 members — Miller along with leadership from the university’s research office, development office, diversity and community engagement division, schools of engineering and business, career center, and university Provost. With the Chancellor and Provost attending the meetings at times, he notes, “we got to the highest level.” The group, he adds, meets quarterly.

Members had already been active in building corporate relationships prior to the council’s formation, Miller notes, but the activities were not always connected. “We looked at who was trying to build relationships — the career center, the research office, development, the engineering school was trying to do capstones,” he shares. “We’re trying to connect all the dots, because for those on the outside there was no clear or underlying message on how the university can engage with industry. Yes, there was a blurb on the career center’s website, we have the Center of Manufacturing Excellence. But having this website shows companies how to enter and engage across the university, and it also makes the statement that the university wants to engage with industry. We’ve created a web presence we can drive people to and plant ground in industry relationships.”

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Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week