UW-Stout: Helping other universities to build partnerships

Doug Mell, Executive Director of Communications and External Relations
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Menomonie, Wisconsin – University of Wisconsin-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer and another staff member are working with a national organization to help universities building sustainable partnerships.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities has created a Task Force on University Partnerships that will look at what comprises successful partnerships in the broadest possible terms, including collaboration with the private sector, the nonprofit community and governmental entities.

The task force, chaired by California State University Channel Islands President Emeritus Richard Rush, met in Washington, D.C., June 13-15. There were 14 college presidents, chancellors and senior administrators at the meeting representing 11 state university campuses throughout the country as well as the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area.

Meyer attended the meeting, as did Doug Mell, UW-Stout executive director of Communications and External Relations. Their travel costs were covered by AASCU.

“Building partnerships has been an important part of my entire career,” Meyer said. “I have worked with partners as a faculty member, college dean, administrator and now chancellor. I am honored that AASCU would ask for my advice in helping other universities form these important partnerships.”

Muriel Howard, AASCU president, told the task force that business leaders “are asking for our help” in a variety of areas, including meeting their workforce demands. In addition, Howard said, many universities are finding themselves in tough fiscal situations, and “we are going to have to go to the private sector for more resources.”

Former U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Richard Gephardt spoke to the group and stressed the importance of education, training and research in today’s global economy. He emphasized the need for university leaders to communicate to build and maintain successful partnerships with the private sector.

The task force discussed the increased significance of universities developing successful partnerships with communities and the private sector in today’s challenging economic and political environment. Partnerships can leverage the assets of public universities to pursue economic growth and community well-being, as well as provide high-impact learning and research opportunities for students and faculty.

The group also talked about the need for policy and administrative frameworks that facilitate university partnerships. The task force will continue its work this summer and will release a handbook on partnerships later this year.

Besides Meyer and Mell, members of the task force are Michael Benson, president, Eastern Kentucky University; John Cavanaugh, president and CEO, Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area; Scott Cole, vice president and general counsel, University of Central Florida; Sue Henderson, president, New Jersey City University; Daniel Holsenbeck, senior vice president for university relations, University of Central Florida; Stephen Jordan, president, Metropolitan State University of Denver; Daniel Little, chancellor, University of Michigan-Dearborn; Steve Swan, vice president of university relations, Western Washington University; Cynthia Teniente-Matson, president, Texas A&M University, San Antonio; and Susan Zimmerman, provost and vice president of academic affairs, State University of New York, Cobleskill.

Thomas Harnisch, AASCU’s director of state relations and policy analysis, staffs the task force.