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New Initiative Underway: Industry Partnerships

Quick Take 

The 10th initiative of the Operational Excellence Program, Industry Partnerships is launching with a goal of strengthening SLU’s relationships with companies and corporations.  This initiative is especially critical as the University enters its bicentennial year and celebrates 200 years of partnering with St. Louis leaders to advance the region’s economy. 

Background and Goals

Identified in the Operational Excellence diagnostic report to be among the second wave of initiatives, the Industry Partnerships Initiative seeks to identify and prioritize partnerships with companies.  The initiative will explore new approaches to strengthen the University’s overall relationships with industry that expand student internships, job placements for graduates, faculty research opportunities, program sponsorships, regional workforce training, philanthropic giving and more.  The success of this initiative depends on being attentive to the needs of corporations and coordinating university resources in response. 

The Initiative Team 

To lead the effort, Provost Nancy Brickhouse and CFO David Heimburger selected the following co-sponsors and project manager to guide the work. 

  • Mark Higgins, Ph.D., Edward Jones Dean, Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business (sponsor)
  • Sheila Manion, Vice President, Development (sponsor)
  • Ken Olliff, Vice President for Research (sponsor)
  • Katherine Cain, Executive Director, Center for Workforce Development (manager)

Designing Recommendations and Seeking Input 

The Industry Partnerships Initiative Team is tasked with developing strategies and tactics for a robust University-wide approach to working with companies. The team will engage and coordinate partners across the University that interact with companies, such as corporate giving, research, career services, athletic sponsorships, procurement, academic and continuing education programs, and others. Early benchmarking indicates that this type of approach to industry engagement can lead to long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. 

During the next few months, the initiative team will examine the various ways that SLU engages with companies. The goal is to develop a deeper understanding of the current engagement process as we begin to explore new ways to engage and interact with companies on a University-wide scale. The Industry Partnerships Initiative Team will seek broad input and expertise from key stakeholders across the institution through a variety of methods, such as interviews, focus groups, and surveys. 

The work to design recommendations for the initiative is beginning now and will carry forward through May. 

Offer Your Expertise 

Do you have expertise or ideas to offer the Industry Partnerships Initiative Team? Contact project manager Katherine Cain at 314-977- 4180 or katherine.cain@slu.edu.  You can also email magisoperationalexcellence@slu.edu or fill out the feedback form on the OE website, and the OE program team will add your name to the list of important stakeholders who have knowledge, expertise, or ideas about improving industry partnerships. 

Questions and Feedback 

Do you have a question or feedback to share about Operational Excellence or the Industry Partnerships Initiative? As always, your comments and ideas are welcome. You can email the program team or use the online feedback form. You may also contact your colleagues who are working on any of the active focus areas; initiative team rosters are found on the program website.  

Thank You 

Thank you for taking the time to read this message.  We are grateful for all the feedback we have received since OE began more than a year ago. Your input has been — and continues to be — instrumental in guiding the work of this team and everyone involved with this program. 

Your Operational Excellence Program Coordination Team 

Eric Armbrecht, Ph.D., Associate Professor – Co-Leader
Doug Williams, J.D., Professor – Co-Leader
Libby Gallogly – Project Manager  
Justin Daffron, S.J. – Growth 
Brianne Burcke – Finance 
Clayton Berry – Communications  

About Operational Excellence
Launched in February 2016, Operational Excellence is an institution-wide initiative designed to make SLU more efficient and effective, and identify opportunities for increased revenue and growth — all to enable the priorities identified in the University's strategic plan. The program stems from Initiative Five of our strategic plan that calls for us foster a culture of excellence, effectiveness and efficiency deeply rooted in our institutional mission and Catholic, Jesuit values. Now in its second year, the program is currently focused on revenue growth and process changes.