How 3 Institutions Have Taken More Effective Approaches to Corporate Engagement

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by Lisa Cook, Academic Impressions

As federal funding dollars for research dry up and proposal acceptance rates drop, colleges and universities are increasingly looking to partner with private companies for research funding and other financial support. Private companies, in turn, are looking to develop more mutually beneficial partnerships with institutions, tapping institutional resources and expertise in a wider variety of ways, from research to fundraising partnerships to student recruiting.

Yet frequently, institutions don’t offer a single point of contact or a cohesive strategy for cultivating that multifaceted relationship with an industry partner in an intentional way. Different professionals on campus – from foundation offices to faculty – may be coordinating with the same partner separately and without coordination with each other.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

For example, at Rice University in Houston, TX, a central Corporate Relations office keeps track of all recruiting, research and other opportunities to keep companies engaged. Rice wants to make things as easy for corporate partners as possible, explains Ann McAdam Griffin, the associate director of corporate relations.  McAdam Griffin’s office can connect companies with a wide array of partners across campus, and they also work with partners on campus to empower and equip them to provide support. This empowers Rice University to better understand, evaluate and maintain those relationships while cultivating new ones.

If you are interested in pursuing a more holistic strategy at your institution, here are three varied, effective models you can consider – from Rice University, Kansas State, and Aquinas College.


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