University-Industry Engagement Week

Universities grow programs for up-skilling and re-skilling industry partners’ employees


By David Schwartz
Published: November 15th, 2022

A detailed article on industry engagement in the fast-growing employee up-skilling arena appears in the November issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For subscription information, click here.

A number of universities have long-standing programs for employees of industry partners that enable them to enhance their skill sets and their career prospects, ranging from certificate programs to advanced degrees. More recently, however, with the advent of technological advances that threaten to leave many employees behind, combined with the prospects of severe talent shortages as far as the eye can see, industry has been requiring even more programs for employees whose skill sets no longer match the job requirements of the future — and universities have been responding.

“Technological disruptions have caused quite a shift in the kinds of solutions we are providing — especially by way of up-skilling and re-skilling workforces,” says Anna Koulas, MBA, vice president, Drexel Solutions Institute. While Drexel University has been providing custom training to partners for over two decades, the Drexel Solutions Institute was launched five years ago “to serve as a centralized unit to assist companies with tapping into the university’s broader resources,” she says.

“We’ve had a dedicated corporate training department for 20-plus years. The need came out of a lot of local companies who sent their employees to our open enrollment programs,” adds Brian Breen, chief corporate engagement and partnerships officer with UC-Irvine. “Today we see a much greater need for cohort-based, custom training specific to industry, the projects they run, and their nomenclature.”

He adds that a significant number of employees have signed on via the university’s public enrollment for up-skilling as well.

“The main and health sciences campuses at the University of Utah have historically offered up-skilling programs, as we’ve always recognized the importance of strengthening relationships with and meeting the needs of our industry partners,” says Patti Ross, MBA, CPA, chief corporate engagement officer at the University of Utah. “The pandemic, coupled with justified calls for a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society, have reshaped our world in recent years. We’ve doubled down on seeking out partnerships and offering certificates and courses through several channels to meet growing demand.”

In addition, she adds, “we’ve honed our focus in an effort to be responsive to global challenges and the ever-changing backdrop of higher education, health care, and fast-paced technological developments, all of which require thoughtful and nimble consideration and implementation.” In fact, she adds, while the university’s well-known PIVOT Center continues to be a catalyst for innovation, “the newly created Office for Corporate Engagement further underscores the importance of all facets of industry partnerships to higher education.”

“Our Executive Education Program has been offered for over 60 years,” notes Julia Beckner, talent and career services consultant at The Ohio State University. “The program has been very helpful in up-skilling and re-skilling,” adds Alissa Comella, OSU’s associate vice president of corporate partnerships, “but now we also have a center for automotive research and several other centers that do short courses. It helps keep pace with industry; there are increased expectations that universities can play a role in this, and not just look in the past.”

There is as much variety among these programs as there is among the universities themselves. For example, Ohio State has created a graduate certificate in business leadership for Honda, at the company’s request. “They work with the Executive Education Department to understand what’s needed, and how it could fit with the employees,” explains Comella. “Students do projects specific to the company, like capstones. It’s very focused on Honda problems.”

“There’s been a strong emphasis on certificates, stackable certificates, and micro credentials,” Comella shares. “Short-term [courses] are more agilely developed in response to the needs of industry.”

Click here to continue reading this article with a subscription to University-Industry Engagement Advisor. Already a subscriber? Click here to log in.

Get your copy of The University-Industry Engagement Book of Best Practices, a new 326-page resource that’s chock-full of how-to strategies and case studies covering the most crucial responsibilities of corporate relations and industry engagement professionals. The rich collection of best practices offers success strategies and expert guidance straight from your industry engagement colleagues focused exclusively on building, managing, and expanding corporate partnerships for your university. Click here for more details.

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CUNY looks to improve on industry engagement to place more students in tech jobs


By David Schwartz
Published: November 15th, 2022

Students at the City University of New York are increasingly graduating with degrees in technology, but a new study suggests they are struggling to land jobs after graduation, and a push for more effective industry engagement is in the offing to promote tech grads to employers. continue reading »

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Improving Faculty Inventor Relations: Keeping the Peace and Resolving Conflict


By David Schwartz
Published: November 15th, 2022

While the work of TTOs and research managers can seem transactional as you’re filing patents, negotiating licenses, securing funding, and handling a variety of agreements, at the heart of technology transfer is customer service. And your most important customers are right in your own backyard: Your faculty inventors.

The relationship between the TTO and the faculty inventor is paramount to any project’s success. But sometimes egos get in the way, goals are misaligned, or communication breaks down, putting your critical faculty relationships at risk along with the prospects for successful commercialization. It’s in these times when a customer service mentality is most important to smooth the rough edges, address problems, and lower the temperature for everyone’s benefit — the TTO, the researcher, and the university. These situations can be tough to maneuver, but when handled with care can actually serve to strengthen faculty relationships, rather than damage them.

That’s why we’ve partnered with UNeMed’s Joe Runge, JD, for this inspiring and highly practical one-hour program: Improving Faculty Inventor Relations: Keeping the Peace and Resolving Conflict, scheduled for November 30th. Join Mr. Runge, a long-time tech transfer leader, as he discusses how to tailor a customer service approach to technology transfer, how to work with all the various faculty personalities, the TTO’s role when inventors make “messes,” and dealing with a host of other difficult situations – and resolving them with relationships intact.

For complete details or to register, click here.

Also coming soon:

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U of Toronto husband-and-wife researchers at forefront of open science industry partnering


By David Schwartz
Published: November 15th, 2022

Husband-and-wife University of Toronto researchers Elizabeth and Aled Edwards are leading a revolution in industry partnering with an open science model that allows companies to share in innovations without encountering any patents or other barriers to new advances. continue reading »

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NC Collaboratory launches program to foster industry-academia partnerships


By David Schwartz
Published: November 15th, 2022

The North Carolina Collaboratory, based at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has launched a new Business-Academia Partnership Program and has awarded 11 grants to kick things off. continue reading »

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2Market Information Inc. launches StudentVenture™ – the first directory and database of student startup competitions


By David Schwartz
Published: November 15th, 2022

Entrepreneurship among university students is booming like never before, and nowhere is that more evident than in the number of startup and business plan competitions taking place every single day on campuses across the country.

For entrepreneurship program managers and others involved in student-focused innovation at U.S. universities, keeping up is virtually impossible. Yet it’s critical for university entrepreneurship programs and their students to have this information available — to search for, plan for, and to enter the competitions that are right for their startups and inventions.

2Market Information Inc., which operates the Tech Transfer Central web portal and publishes the field’s leading publication Technology Transfer Tactics, has spent the last year developing the StudentVenture™ database and directory of business plan and startup competitions, bringing hundreds of events together in one convenient, affordable resource.

“Rather than spending hours searching and compiling the available student pitching events yourself, we’ve done all the work for you – and you get not only complete online access to the database, but you also have the option to share the directory with all your student entrepreneurs under our site license subscription option,” says 2Market Information CEO and Publisher David Schwartz.

StudentVenture™ is a big time-saver for entrepreneurship offices, Schwartz adds, and it’s a way to easily and significantly expand support for entrepreneurial students. “It’s a huge value-add for any entrepreneurship program, allowing your students to quickly and easily compare available competitions and plot their next move,” he says.

An individual subscription to StudentVenture™ costs just $249 for a full year of access, with the option for a site license that’s priced on a sliding scale based on the number of students included, with the lower price tiers allowing smaller schools to pay less.

Subscribers gain instant access to a comprehensive, searchable database of student competitions across the country, with filters that allow you to search and sort by event date, application deadline, state or region, keyword, and even by prize amount offered. Each competition entry includes a brief description, application deadlines, prize amounts, and a link to the competition website. The site is continually updated and refreshed.

Subscribers can also submit updates to their own competitions or add new events as they are scheduled, increasing visibility among potential applicants across the country.

Along with the directory listings, StudentVenture™ includes a valuable collection of how-to distance learning programs and articles that can be shared with student entrepreneurs, along with a resources page containing dozens of links to additional entrepreneurship education.

“The StudentVenture™ directory and database is a much-needed tool for busy entrepreneurship programs, which spend many hours of staff time searching for, compiling, and distributing available competitions to their students. This frees them up to focus on their own programs, while empowering their students to find the right launching pads for their innovative startups,” Schwartz says.

Complete information on StudentVenture™ is available here.

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Stevens Institute fintech center addresses industry needs with quantum projects


By David Schwartz
Published: November 15th, 2022

The Stevens Institute of Technology’s Center for Research toward Advancing Financial Technologies (CRAFT), which launched in fall 2021 as the first-ever NSF-supported center devoted to fintech research, is building its ties to the industry with research focused on how quantum technology can help financial firms make better decisions. continue reading »

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Universities partner with MxD to offer online workforce training in manufacturing sector


By David Schwartz
Published: November 15th, 2022

MxD, a national digital manufacturing and cybersecurity institute, last week launched the MxD Learn Virtual Training Center (VTC) with the release of several new courses created by partnering universities North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T), the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and Drexel University. continue reading »

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U.S. Export Controls Compliance Practices Benchmarks for Higher Education, 2022 Edition


By David Schwartz
Published: November 15th, 2022

The 2022 edition of U.S. Export Controls Compliance Practices Benchmarks for Higher Education is now available. This one-of-a-kind resource provides a rich set of benchmarks and data to compare against your own practices and procedures regarding compliance with export control regulations. You’ll find detailed data on faculty training and preparedness, assessment and risk reports, size of export control staff, and time spent on export control issues along with invaluable peer advice. This study is jam-packed with over 110 easy to scan charts and figures displaying critical data you can’t find in any other publication.  

In significant detail, survey respondents also discuss their response to growing tension between the USA and China and its impact on their export controls regimen. For complete details or to order, click here.

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Australia’s research agency releases free tool to assess readiness for industry partnerships


By David Schwartz
Published: November 15th, 2022

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has launched a free online tool designed to help small and medium-sized businesses prepare themselves for university partnerships and help them better navigate what can be a highly complex and time-consuming process. continue reading »

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Reserve your seat for UIDPVirtual 2022


By David Schwartz
Published: November 15th, 2022

What’s coming next in innovation and collaboration? How will you position your organization at the forefront of the next big idea?

The global thought leaders in university-industry collaboration will share their approaches and goal-focused strategies at UIDPVirtual 2022, scheduled for December 6-8. Make plans now to join in for the actionable insights that can help you move your team to the next level.

These candid fireside chats will inspire your team and convey relevant solutions for how you work, innovate, and create value. Access content in real time or on demand and elevate your practice with new ideas and novel approaches you can apply right away. For complete details, click here.

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Lehigh-Nasdaq partnership links student interns with early-stage start-ups


By David Schwartz
Published: November 8th, 2022

A detailed article on the novel partnership between Lehigh University and Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center focused on student internships with start-ups appears in the October issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For subscription information, click here.

Lehigh University and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center have just celebrated the fifth anniversary of a partnership that gives students “scaffolded” internship experiences with early-stage start-ups. To date, 1,000 students across 65 majors have participated in the program, whose main goal is “advancing the entrepreneurial mindset of students in any discipline” through programs, classes, and mentorship.

The “mindset training” that is core to the program involves “how to develop problem-solving, designed thinking — to be an adaptable, creative thinker,” says Nicola Corzine, executive director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, a non-profit arm of the stock trading company. “That mindset often starts with the ability to have access, to help dream up those ideas in the first place. That same mindset is equally important for students.”

“We launched in 2017,” says Samantha Dewalt, PhD, the managing director of Lehigh@Nasdaq,  who at the time had been doing industry engagement on campus. She moved to San Francisco that July to take on the role of inaugural managing director of the center. “Lehigh has run a program in Silicon Valley for over 11 years through the Lehigh Silicon Valley Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation on campus,” shares Dewalt. “We met the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center through our program. We were looking to expand.”

It was an alignment of interests and missions, she continues, that made the partnership such a logical move. “We always approached entrepreneurship as mindset development for any student; anyone can learn to become an entrepreneur,” says Dewalt. “That resonated with Nasdaq, and it was one of the fastest ‘come-togethers.’ Leadership hopped on a plane and inked the deal.”

“Always being curious drives both of us,” adds Corzine. “We have an alliance mission that says we want entrepreneurship that is accessible, and equitable to all. They as an institute in the world want to teach how to be a good student, and that the journey to an entrepreneurial mindset is available to everyone. That helps us then take things like the Intern Ready Workbook that has been developed in collaboration.” The workbook is designed to help company managers design effective internships and improve the onboarding process.

“We sit at the intersection of education and industry,” says Dewalt. “All of the programs we design in our partnership center on serving the [academic] community and start-up founders — the business community.”

Key innovation areas addressed by the partnership include educational programs, she continues. “We partner with start-ups, founders, and business leaders, whether they teach courses or run our start-up internship programs,” says Dewalt. “We also focus on research — doing joint research to explore and advance the field of entrepreneurship, education, and practice. We focus on thought leadership, how to package insight, lessons learned, and sharing back to the education and practitioner communities; they both bring something to the table.”

The Lehigh/Nasdaq partnership — one of many Nasdaq has with universities — has a number of programs, including the flagship Startup Academy, where students are placed in start-up internships that are framed by weekly classes, mentor pairings in their professional area of interest, and intern management workbooks.

“It was born out of an idea that came from both of us,” says Dewalt. “Lehigh and the dean of our business school and Nicola Corzine meet regularly with all of the leadership — deans and faculty — to explore impactful ideas. During a conversation they said, why not create a program where we embed student talent in start-up internships where students gain real-world practical experience, start-ups gain access to talent, and both organizations learn about talent development?”

Lehigh recruits and selects the student participants. “It’s a very competitive program, with strong representation on campus,” says Dewalt. “It’s based on aptitude, entrepreneurial mindset, passion, and so on. We work with the center to recruit and vet start-ups, we match them, and work together to scope out the project. We’ve also created a template to make it easier to onboard the students.” The template, she shares, includes a description of what the company is looking for in a candidate, how it matches up with company goals, and the desired skill set.

“There is a program manager on both sides, working together to co-design the whole experience — matching students, helping with project scoping,” she continues. “Then, there is the learning experience; there is a midway check-in with the intern managers, creating a learning community as they learn best practices from each other — what works, what doesn’t, what the challenges are. It creates a learning forum. We get to package those insights to then create a toolkit and share with the community. Now, anyone who wants to get student interns can create a program.”

Click here to continue reading this article with a subscription to University-Industry Engagement Advisor. Already a subscriber? Click here to log in.

Get your copy of The University-Industry Engagement Book of Best Practices, a new 326-page resource that’s chock-full of how-to strategies and case studies covering the most crucial responsibilities of corporate relations and industry engagement professionals. The rich collection of best practices offers success strategies and expert guidance straight from your industry engagement colleagues focused exclusively on building, managing, and expanding corporate partnerships for your university. Click here for more details.

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