Industry-Higher Education Collaboration for the Advancement of Knowledge and Innovation

Concurrent Session 6

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This paper examines examples of existing industry-education collaboration in STEM and other areas and suggests ways to operationalize the partnership in various business disciplines.


Marjorie Chan received her MBA and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA, and she is a Professor of Management at California State University, Stanislaus. Dr. Chan is a Certified Online Instructor who received her online teaching certificate from the Sloan-Consortium. She received the 2013-14 QOLT (Quality Online Learning and Teaching) award from the CSU System for her online Business Policy course. Her publications have appeared in the International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Journal of Business Ethics, Business and Society Review, MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, and so on. Dr. Chan received from the College of Business Administration (CBA) 17 refereed journal publication awards for 17 refereed journal articles published during 1995 through 2015. She also received from the CBA an Outstanding Research Award in May of 2009, and an Outstanding Faculty in Teaching Award in May of 2013.

Extended Abstract

This paper examines some examples of existing industry-higher education collaboration in STEM+ (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics plus other disciplines), social networking technologies, and economic development. It proposes ways that industry-university collaboration can be operationalized in disciplines such as entrepreneurship, marketing, and communications. It describes EMLYON Business School as an innovative model in online education, and it suggests that corporate funding should be sought for the utilization of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) systems in online education.

Industry-University Collaboration to Advance STEM+ Education

The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF), whose members include the nation's industry and academic leaders, launched the National Undergraduate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Partnership Strategy and Regional Workforce Projects in 2012. The regional projects address workforce challenges such as "engineering, cybersecurity, big data, life sciences, water, energy, and entrepreneurship" (BHEF, 2012). To combat workforce shortages in high demand areas, the regional workforce projects connect undergraduate education with the core competences of businesses to increase the number of graduates in fields of high demand.

BHEF facilitated the partnership between the University of Maryland and Northrop Grumman in launching a program known as Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students in the fall of 2012. The joint program aims to provide cybersecurity graduates for not only Northrop Grumman, but other technical companies as well.

The HP Catalyst Initiative is an education grant program initiated by the Hewlett Packard (HP) Sustainability and Social Innovation team. The projects of this initiative explore how technology-supported learning in STEM+ education would help students to develop a set of skills. Five technology-supported pedagogic models in STEM+ education have emerged from this initiative, and they include virtual laboratories, collaborative projects on an international scale, gaming, skills-based assessment, and real-time formative assessment (Kärkkäinen and Vincent-Lancrin, 2013).

Industry-University Collaboration to Advance Economic Development

Shaffer (2015) presented various examples of industry-university collaboration that lead to economic development. For example, in 2013, New York State adopted a program to offer a 10-year tax-free status to new or growing businesses which engage in research or educational collaboration with a college and locate on its campus. In 2001, the State University of New York at Albany established the Nanoscale College of Science and Engineering, an 800,000 square-foot research complex. It hosts researchers from corporate partners such as Applied Materials, IBM, Intel, Lam Research, and so on. Another notable example is the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University. Almost $1 billion has been invested in this educational campus and research park. The occupants of this campus include North Carolina State University's Colleges of Engineering, Textiles, and Veterinary Medicine, private firms, governmental agencies, and nonprofits. Companies such as LexisNexis, Juniper Networks, and Pathfinder Pharmaceuticals are occupants. Approximately 100 startups have grown out of this campus. President Obama announced in January of 2014 that a $140 million public-private partnership known as the "Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Next Generation Power Electronics" will headquarter on this Campus.

San Jose State University-IBM Partnership

The corporate world notes that graduating students lack the skills that it needs; therefore, industry-education partnerships can help to address the issue by providing students with experience-based learning and the skills that are in corporate demand. For example, San Jose State University (SJSU) initiated a program in partnership with IBM that provides students with the opportunity to apply social networking technologies to various business operations such as marketing and product development so as to expedite collaboration and innovation.

Suggested Ways that Industry-Education Collaboration
Can Be Operationalized in Various Disciplines

In addition to STEM, computer electronics, and related disciplines, industry-education partnerships can benefit various other disciplines such as entrepreneurship, marketing, communications, and so forth. In the field of entrepreneurship, angel investors and/or venture capitalists can be invited to evaluate students' business plans.

With industry-education collaboration in the marketing, public relations, and communications disciplines, companies across industries can provide work in the social media area for students. Students can tout on the Facebook and Twitter pages of companies their products and services, and they can answer the public's questions on these pages for these companies as well. Students can work as bloggers for companies. Students can also start a weekly show on internet radio to tout a company's products and services. With respect to advertising courses, collaboration can be made between the university and advertising experts. Each student team can be assigned to produce an advertisement, and a panel of advertising experts together with the instructor can serve as evaluators of these projects. Universities should forge partnerships across all industries so that students can work as interns, part-timers, assistants in short-term projects, or summer staff members. Universities can provide customized online courses for employees in the business sector as well.

EMLYON Business School as an Innovative Model in Online Education

EMLYON Business School exemplifies an innovative model in online education. It partners with IBM in its creation of the Smart Business School which delivers global online education via IBM Cloud. With EMLYON's teaching expertise and IBM's big data, analytics, and cloud, a "learning by flow" educational model is created to provide learners with personalized training and development that is relevant to skills that are in demand (King, 2015).

Corporate Funding Should be Sought for Augmented and Virtual Reality (VR) Systems

Universities should try to seek financial support from the business sector in providing augmented and virtual reality tools to online students so as to improve their learning.


Industry-education collaboration can advance knowledge and innovation across disciplines. It can advance economic development and job creation. Universities should seek corporate funding to finance technological tools such as augmented and virtual reality systems.