Ohio University has created a new office for corporate engagement to make it easier for companies to work with the university.
The office is an expansion of the Corporate Engagement Task Force.
The university will work with companies in four roles: improving the talents of existing employees, aid in research, aid in philanthropy and accessing the university’s entrepreneurial systems, Kevin King, assistant director of the Corporate Engagement Office, said.
“The Corporate Engagement office will serve as a navigator for those inquiries that come from companies,” King said. “(They will come) through our office to some need that can be supported by the university.”
The cost of creating this office was minimal, as it combined two existing offices, King said.
King said his former role as director of industry partnerships and vice president for the research office. Matt Roberts, senior director of corporate and foundation relations, was working on corporate foundation relations.
King said he was doing non-philanthropic work while Roberts was. They were interacting with the same companies, which is a reason the two offices were combined.
This office will benefit students by creating internship opportunities and getting students closer to the professional world.
“You may have even been in projects as part of the coursework that you're doing where a company is presented with a real-world problem that students work together during the semester to help them solve that real-world problem,” King said.
King said the office was created because the university realized they didn’t have the same structures in place as other universities.
He said he hopes to see the office expand in the future. OU President Duane Nellis said the office was created to centralize corporate engagement.
“There were three (or) four dimensions of recommendations, including a lot of stuff I mentioned but one was to create a centralized corporate office,” Nellis said. “We had clear communication and coordination, activities because we have a lot of it historically had a lot of interaction with businesses corporations industry.”
Nellis said he will work closely with Ken Johnson, the chair of the task force, as well as many others within the university. He said there will also be open communication with those involved in the various types of corporations.
Nellis said OhioHealth is working closely with OU by providing residency opportunities in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Nellis said a goal is to create more robust internship and learning opportunities for students.
“We want to create more of an integrated pathway with them from the time we have students here on campus to the time that they go to work for these business operations,” Nellis said.
Some students are seeing these benefits as well.
“I feel like it might be good for the people who’s majors don’t get a lot of internship opportunities,” Michaela Gress, a senior studying communications, said.
She said that in the college of communications, there seems to be a lot of internship opportunities. Overall, she said she believes it will help to increase the number of internships offered.
Gress thinks it is a smart move, but said the university could be using its money for something different.
“If you’re looking at it from the perspective of the people that do want internships, I do think it’s a good idea,” Gress said. “I think they just need to structure how they do it and not like put a lot of money towards it but kind of get it started and let it evolve over the years.”