College try: the benefits of having 32 independent colleges and universities in Indiana.
"The number one way in which we impact our local communities and the statewide business communities is simply through employment," says Dr. Hans C. Giesecke, president of Independent Colleges of Indiana. "We are a major employer in the state of Indiana, with approximately 20,000 employees.'
Some prime examples of business relationships between campus and community include Anderson University's Flagship Enterprise Center, with its state-of-the-art conference center. It mixes highly qualified staff and faculty with community needs and offers both internships and fellowships for students to work with local firms. MBA and undergraduates in the business program assist the Center with marketing strategies, accounting services, business plans and web site development. Three years ago Butler University began a business accelerator to develop consulting services and practices with Central Indiana businesses utilizing its MBA program and undergraduate business program students. Indiana Tech uses its MBA program as a wedge to help local companies expand and develop. "They've developed a number of onsite MBA programs as well as undergraduate programs in business to help professionals who want to expand their skill sets do so while they are working."
Here is a look at the many innovative ways independent colleges are making a difference all over the state.
Anderson University. "Our first and best example would be the Flagship Enterprise Center (FEC)," says Chris Williams, director of university communications. Anderson University partnered with the City of Anderson to create the FEC, which serves as a small business incubator and growth-stage business accelerator. In 2007 the FEC was expanded to include the Anderson University Flagship Center (AUFC) which houses the Anderson University Falls School of Business Residential MBA program as well as programs offered by the School of Adult Learning and Purdue University's College of Technology. The facility's Professional Development Center can accommodate nearly 160 people for meetings.
Butler University, "At the core of the College of Business Administration's Real Life, Real Business curriculum is a unique partnership with the Central Indiana business community," says Courtney Tuell, director of public relations. "This means our students sometimes step into businesses and sometimes businesses come into the classroom. This process gives each student the opportunity to learn how to blend business concepts with business practice, and results in both students and businesses helping each other grow."
Butler's Integrated Capstone Experience pairs students with companies as diverse as Finish Line, Roche Diagnostics Corporation, Second Helpings, CMW, Inc. and Rolls-Royce Defense North America for a semester-long consulting project. Since fail 2007 the Butler Business Accelerator, part of the College of Business Administration, has been providing growth strategies and consulting services to private Central Indiana businesses such as Gilchrist & Soames, SaniServ, Royal Food Products, Cannon IV and Wellspring Pharmacy. Both undergraduate and graduate classes collaborate with businesses. For example, one retailing class partners with Finish Line each year to assist with a market research project, and a marketing research class is currently working with two Domino Pizza franchises on a marketing research projects targeted at the Butler student population.
The Butler University College of Business Administration fall 2008 enrollment has 650 undergraduates and 300 graduate students.
Earlham College. Earlham College has a close bond with the community of Richmond and many of its faculty and students volunteer their services to the community. Earlham is one of the 10 largest employers in Wayne County. College and student spending--current enrollment is 1,194--contribute more than $26 million to the local economy. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007, the college and its students accounted for more than $42.9 million in income for local businesses, organizations and people.
Earlham sponsors monthly forums that include community members as speakers. The community partnership council, which meets three times a year and has been in existence for five years, consists of 12 community members (one-third are alumni), one student and Avis Stewart, the College's vice president of community relations.
Earlham's Wellness Center boasts 425 memberships from the Richmond community, and most college events are discounted and open to the public. Earlham also shares a common theater space with the community and gives half of its radio station's airtime to disc jockeys from outside the college.
Hanover College. Hanover's Center for Business Preparation (CBP) offers free consulations for businesses and organizations through its senior strategic planning course. Students, supervised by CBP faculty, are assigned specific projects that addresses critical issues for businesses. CBP students also interact with community business leaders who share their expertise through the Leadership Speaker Series program.
"We have 40 managers and executives representing a variety of sectors of the business community who serve on the Center for Business Preparation's two advisory groups," says Rhonda Burch, director of communications and marketing. "Those individuals provide a strong connection between the Hanover College's Business Program and the business community Many faculty and staff of Hanover serve on the boards of various non-profit organizations across the state, including local chambers and economic development groups."
The CBP and other Hanover organizations sponsor project-based internships, 60 percent in the state of Indiana. A significant portion of an intern's work is a stand-alone project, unlike many traditional internships.
Holy Cross College. For the past five years Holy Cross College, enrollment 470, has partnered with St. Joseph Regional Medical Center to provide Medical Spanish to the hospitals employees. The Gerontology Consortium of Michiana, which Holy Cross College helped found, sponsors an annual conference for professionals in health care and other businesses providing services to the elderly Hundreds of local professionals have earned CEU credits through this program. Holy Cross also works to bring awareness and government funds to businesses serving the elderly.
Staff members help with projects to serve the community through the South Bend downtown Rotary Club. Students serve through an internship program.
"As far as we know, we are the only college in Indiana that requires the completion of an internship for graduation," says Mike Davids, director of marketing, communications and public relations. "We are committed to preparing students for real-world challenges through our unique four-part experiential learning program. Along with an internship, students must also complete a service project, an international travel experience and develop and deliver a Capstone Presentation, which is a 45-minute, multi-media program each graduating senior gives to a group of local business, education, and/or government leaders, academic advisors, peers, family and friends. We believe this helps our students become better prepared to serve Indiana businesses as employees when they graduate."
Huntington University. Last month Huntington University launched its newest initiative, the Center for Leadership Studies. "We are providing some leadership training for business leaders in our community and the neighboring counties," says John Paff, executive director of communications for Huntington University. Huntington University partnered with a recognized expert in leadership development to establish a curriculum.
"Our Enterprise Resource Center is a clearing house to serve the regional business community with the expertise of our faculty and the hard work of our students, Paff says. "We have crafted it as a resource for the business community. One of its primary functions is to match student interns to business needs in the region. We've had over 700 placements where our students will go in and tackle significant projects for businesses." A computer science student helped install a bank's new computer hardware system. A student in Huntington's animation program took an internship with Carmel-based MediaSauce, which uses digital, social and traditional media to give its clients the advantage and performed commercial television work for business clients.
Huntington University, which has more than 1,200 students, partnered with the Enterprise Resource Center to create Venture Works, a small business incubation operation, and sponsors a business planning competition, worth $10,000, every year, partnering with the Huntington County United Economic Development Corporation.
"There are lots of ways to stimulate our economy," Paff says.
Indiana Tech. "Indiana Tech focuses on career-oriented programs, particularly those that support local and regional industries," says Janet Schutte, director of marketing. "For example, our biomedical engineering program was developed in collaboration with the orthopedic-oriented businesses in the Warsaw area."
Students are strongly encouraged to complete internships with local companies, while pursuing their degrees. This benefits the students, who gain experience, and the employers, who can develop an incoming workforce.
Indiana Tech is a strong provider of degree programs for nontraditional students. About 75 percent of Indiana Tech students are enrolled in the College of Professional Studies which offers accelerated degree programs throughout the state and online. "These programs allow working adults to complete their degrees in a much more flexible, convenient way," Schutte says. "While completing their coursework, they are learning practical knowledge that they can apply immediately in the workplace. They also gain skills that prepare them for advancement, helping to build a stronger workforce."
Indiana Wesleyan University. Indiana Wesleyan University, a comprehensive university sponsored by The Wesleyan Church, has more than 3,000 students enrolled in traditional programs on the University's main campus in Marion, with another 11,500 adult learners attending classes at regional campuses in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and online.
Recently the university was awarded a $500,000 matching grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to develop and implement a new approach to summer internships. "This is part of Lilly Endowment's initiatives to stem the so-called 'brain drain' in Indiana," says Alan Miller, director of University Relations. "This internship program is different in that it requires participating students to become involved in the various communities through church attendance and community service. Each participating student also will be assigned an IWU alumni mentor in the various communities. This multi-faceted approach to internships will promote community investment and enhance the student experience through several academic and community-based layers of support."
The five-year program will begin in June with five paid internships each in three cities, and will increase to eight internships in each of 10 Enterprise Communities, identified by IUW, by the end of that time.
Marian College. Marian College had a fall enrollment of more than 2,100 students, the third year in a row it has experienced record enrollment.
The college is the exclusive education partner in Indiana for three alternate teacher licensing programs: The New Teacher Project (which sponsors the Indianapolis Teaching Fellows at IPS), Teach for America (teaching corps members at IPS) and the Nativity Miguel Network of Schools (Catholic schools).
"Marian College is one of the founding partners of the Indiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (I-STEM) partnership," says Andrea Fagan, director of marketing and communications. "We are actively engaged in promoting collaboration between industry and higher education, resource sharing and strategic initiatives to improve math and science education statewide."
The Business of Motorsports program is Indiana's only management and marketing program for the multi-million dollar motorsports industry.
Marian College's entrepreneur program provides businesses with a "real deliverable"--a business plan, marketing plan and other tools--prepared by students who receive the opportunity to participate in the real world application of business concepts.
Saint Mary's College. Current enrollment at Saint Mary's College, a four-year, Catholic women's institution, is approximately 1,600 students.
Recently Saint Mary's was awarded a five-year sustaining grant of $359,000 to continue the Endowment's "Initiative to Promote Opportunity through Educational Collaborations." The initiative calls for the college to develop programs to help retain students within Indiana after graduation to stave off the state's "brain drain." This is the second phase of the Initiative. During the first phase the Indiana Careers @ Saint Mary's College program was created to identify meaningful opportunities in Indiana for its graduates.
"Through this partnership we will be working closely with agencies and organizations to offer intensive training sessions on developing effective internship programs within their organizations, as well as assisting these organizations in recruiting talented Saint Mary's students," says Stacie Jeffirs, director of the Career Crossings Office at Saint Mary's. "This is a program that we intend to begin this upcoming summer/fall semester and it will continue throughout the life of the grant (five years) and beyond."
Saint Mary's works very closely with a wide variety of community partners and businesses, both for-profit and non-profit, to develop and maintain local internship opportunities for students. As a member of the Indiana Careers Consortium, Saint Mary's works closely with l0 other northern Indiana colleges and universities, mostly career centers, to coordinate the annual INCC Career and Internship Fair in the spring semester. The fair brings in more than 120 local employers and 600 students from partnering colleges and universities. INCC also sponsors several professional development workshops in which local employers are invited to participate.
The Career Crossings Office at Saint Mary's partners with many local businesses throughout the year to provide career-related programming to students, including a new speed networking program and job shadowing/informational interviewing connections and opportunities for students. The CCO also works closely with the Office of Multicultural Services and Student Programs to coordinate the Diverse Students Leadership Conference Career Expo.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is the oldest Catholic liberal arts college for women in the United States. Approximately 1,700 students are enrolled in its campus-based undergraduate, distance-learning undergraduate and graduate programs.
Another project was a free six-week music therapy seminar series for expectant mothers offered by Sharon R. Boyle, MT-BC, associate professor of music therapy at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, and Julia Lopez-Kaley, a junior music therapy major. It was offered through the Maple Center, Inc., in collaboration with the Maternal Health Clinic.
SMWC also partners with Vigo County Head Start, a federally funded program for pre-school children from low-income families and United Child Care, an accredited licensed child care center serving ages 3-6 years. Vigo County Head Start provides children with activities that help them grow mentally, socially, emotionally and physically regardless of the level of disabilities or special needs identified or suspected.
Taylor University. Students at Taylor University create marketing plans and business plans to assist businesses as well as perform "on-call" consulting services for business and science applications. Those include: feasibility studies, business planning, marketing research, testing and experimentation, software development, miniaturization and modularization and augmenting staff for local businesses. Faculty and staff also provide leadership and otherwise actively participate in local economic development through the Grant County Economic Growth Council, Innovative Network, Energize ECI and Access Technology Across Indiana (ATAIN).
Trine University. Trine University enjoys an energetic relationship with local and regional business partners. Administrators work directly with the Steuben County Economic Development Corp. as part of a process by which new businesses and industries relocate to the county.
Additionally, the university has participated in reverse investment initiatives with Japan and Tochigi Prefecture, Indiana's sister state. Vestil Manufacturing, a local company that provides ergonomic products and equipment, BioAdvantek, a producer of antimicrobial treatments for manufactured surfaces and Ferno Washington, a manufacturer of patient handling, aqua therapy and rehabilitation equipment have also benefited recently from direct partnerships with Trine University
A Lilly Endowment grant will expand co-ops and internships with local businesses through experiential learning assignments for students through Trine's Office of Career Services. Regional employers will also connect with cost-effective Business Engineering and Technology Assistance Services at the Trine Technology Center.
The Technology Center director presides over the local industrial guild and hosts the organization's monthly meetings. Center educators take training to the business sites of their partners, while at the center, counseling services and programs which instruct entrepreneurs in the setup and finance of a startup business are offered.
Trine also boasts a history of providing work-ready graduates for regional businesses. Of Trine's spring 2008 main campus graduates, 100 percent of civil engineering majors had jobs within a month of graduation, with 89 percent placed before graduation.
University of Indianapolis. "A general theme at UIndy has been to identify growth industries and make sure our programs meet workforce needs, says Scott Hall, director of media relations. "More recently, we've been thinking in terms of downsized and displaced workers, providing them with new career options. In each case, a key byproduct is keeping talented people in Indiana, contributing to economic development."
UIndy's School of Business offers a degree in supply chain and logistics management, and one of its professors is leading a project to develop a statewide program of study, starting at the high-school level. The Accelerated Masters in Nursing program offers career-changers and displaced workers an efficient path to new careers in healthcare management, a growing field that's scrambling to fill positions. The School of Nursing also has developed on-site degree programs for Clarian Health and Hendricks Regional Health.
In the area of math and science education UIndy is the only independent college participating in the national Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program, designed to steer top math and science graduates and career-changers into careers as teachers in underserved schools, where they will prepare new generations for Indiana's tech industries. Indiana is the pilot state for the program.
UIndy's School of Business offers full- and part-time evening MBA programs, an accelerated weekend Executive MBA program and specialized on-site MBA programs that have included employers such as Raytheon and Rolls-Royce.
Valparaiso University. "There is direct contact between our faculty and area businesses with faculty and/ or their students doing projects for the businesses and serving as consultants," says Reggie Syrcle, executive director of university relations. Faculty and staff serve on the boards of organizations such as the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce and the Valparaiso Economic Development Corporation.
Through the Community Research and Service Center, administered through the university's Department of Political Science, students provide research services to non-profits, including the City of Valparaiso. Projects have included economic development research for the City of Hebron, a transit survey and flooding survey for the City of Valparaiso and a transit survey for the Regional Bus Authority in Northwest Indiana.
The School of Law has a wide-reaching "externship" program that places law students in area businesses to acquire hands-on experience, while assisting businesses. At Source Bank's Personal Asset Management Group, students might review trust agreements, provide written synopses for trust administrators, research relevant statutory and case law regarding fiduciary accounts and provide support for dealing with probate estates and living trusts. Students who work with ArcelorMittal Steel's Office of Corporate Counsel conduct research to discover the major differences between U.S. and European securities law or may complete a multi-state analysis of current and proposed legislation regarding immigrant worker verification. Currently students at ArcelorMittal are developing and producing labor relations guides and viewing current labor arbitrations in the plants and summarizing arbitration decisions.
Wabash College. Wabash has a number of informal partnerships within the business community, including its eight-week summer business immersion program for students, which consists of classes in the morning and project-based assignments in the afternoon.
"A number of local businesses take part in the teaching aspects of the program," says Jim Amidon, director of public affairs. "Later in the program, the students go directly to work for a local business or agency and help them tackle problems--development of a business plan, market research, etc. Additionally, the class as a whole takes on a project. Recent ideas have included work with the local 4-H Board to help in the planning for new fairgrounds and work with the Crawfordsville public health clinic. The latter involved having the students travel around to various communities with well-run public health clinics in the development of a 'best practices' document."
Through a grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc., Wabash has a number of paid internships for students working in Indiana businesses and non-profits. The College has "farmed out" these interns to several local non-profits in Crawfordsville, including the national award-winning Lew Wallace Preservation Society, the Carnegie Museum and the Sugar Creek Players/Vanity Theater.
"Interns allow small businesses to augment their staffs without costs," says Amidon, "and/or tackle special projects."