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K-State Today

April 10, 2014

From the President: Draft Corporate Engagement Strategic Plan available for comment

Submitted by Office of the President

Discussions related to the concept of a K-State Office of Corporate Engagement began more than five years ago. In 2010, the Research Infrastructure Task Force report recommended a "one stop shop" for all K-State industry interactions (see p. 6). Subsequent feedback from industry, faculty and staff was optimistic, yet seasoned with an appropriate dose of caution. In order to be successful, the endeavor must add value to the corporate relations strategies already in place at the KSU Foundation, KSU Institute for Commercialization, KSU Research Foundation, and other entities. It would require enthusiastic commitment of faculty and staff. And it must clearly demonstrate a return on investment that directly benefits faculty, staff and students.

In September 2011, I announced the creation of the K-State Office of Corporate Engagement (OCE) and hired the first director, Richard Potter, the following spring. Highlights of the first year of operation can be found in this report. In October 2013, I appointed a universitywide planning task force and gave them the charge to recommend OCE strategic goals and objectives aligned with the K-State 2025 university, college/unit, and departmental plans. Over the last five months this task force has collaborated to draft the K-State 2025 Corporate Engagement Strategic Action Plan, found on the Office of Corporate Engagement website. I want to thank the task force for their work in bringing this draft plan forward for review. Feedback from the entire K-State community is now invited.

Industry engagement is a common thread woven throughout our university, college/unit, and departmental plans. As higher education funding models continue to evolve, attracting and maintaining strong, mutually-beneficial corporate partnerships is important to K-State and to achieving our goals. As envisioned in this plan, to be successful as a university, OCE must work closely with key university collaborators to:

  1. connect corporate partners with K-State strengths, expertise and services,
  2. advance robust strategic corporate/industry relationships,
  3. further cutting-edge interdisciplinary research,
  4. strengthen workforce development opportunities,
  5. increase corporate philanthropy,
  6. adopt a holistic corporate engagement approach,
  7. foster a campus culture that values corporate engagement as a core business strategy,
  8. build the K-State corporate engagement brand, and
  9. build a model office of corporate engagement.

As you study the corporate engagement draft and offer your comments, please note these areas in particular:

  • Industry partners enthusiastically support the concept of a single point of contact at Kansas State University. Key Activities #3 and #4 address the OCE’s role as a "concierge" or "broker" to direct corporate inquiries to the K-State strengths and assets that are best suited to address the corporation’s needs.
  • Corporate partners emphasize that the success of this endeavor rests on the enthusiasm and commitment of faculty and staff. Key Activities #11, #18, #20, #21, #23, and #24 will serve to support faculty and staff in developing successful, mutually beneficial corporate partnerships.
  • Key Activity #26 includes clarification of the role and mission of the OCE as it relates to other university entities that are engaged in corporate relations.
  • Key Activity #27 addresses the issue of accountability. The OCE’s outcomes are intended to clearly demonstrate that the financial investments made by the university provide a direct, positive benefit to faculty, staff and students.

Hearing from the K-State community is important for all our strategic action plans. I encourage you to read the draft plan and provide your feedback to rmpotter@ksu.edu. Comments will be collected through May 31, 2014, and the plan will be finalized by the start of the fall 2014 semester. Thank you for your continued work and support to chart our path to 2025 and advance the K-State 2025 vision!

Kirk Schulz