Thursday, August 25, 2011

10 Cool Ways Colleges are Collaborating with Businesses

Collaboration between colleges and businesses is a great idea, and new projects are popping up in all areas of industry with positive response. In these arrangements, businesses are able to enjoy fresh new ideas, and often, cheap or free labor. In return, college students take advantage of a curriculum that extends way beyond the bounds of their college classroom, embracing opportunities to get hands-on training and experience in the field. Often, third parties also benefit from the fruits of their collaborative labor, making these matchups incredibly beneficial for education, business, and society. Many inspirational projects exist, but these 10 are among the coolest, showing just how incredible college-business collaborations can be.

  1. A brewery classroom

    Plenty of college students like to joke that they "major in beer," but for some students, it’s actually true. At UC Davis, the Sudwerk Privatbrauerei Hubsch microbrewery is used as a classroom for future master brewers studying the brewing process. Most recently, the new Eight Wonder Brewery in Houston announced plans to use their space as a working lab for University of Houston students with 8WB brewmaster (and UH faculty member) Aaron Corsi at the helm. This type of hands-on experience allows students to go beyond homebrewing knowledge and work on a commercial brewing system, an experience that will better prepare them for careers in beer.

  2. Dog treats and the disabled

    Monco Enterprises in Dayton, Ohio employs people with disabilities. They create dog treats at their activity center, coming together as a group to develop new job skills while mixing, cutting, baking, and packaging treats. This work opportunity is meaningful to these disabled adults, and they take great pride in what they have created. Cedarville University mechanical engineering students made Monco’s work even more rewarding by taking on a project to create devices that would allow these disabled workers to quadruple their output. This project is beneficial for the program, which can now raise even more money, as well as the disabled adults who can now take even more pride in their work. The students greatly benefit as well, learning how to design and implement assistive devices in a real world setting.

  3. IBM-North Carolina State University

    Professor Minindar Singh and E. Michael Maximillien of North Carolina State University have come together to improve web services and decisions through service-oriented computing. This is a fancy way of saying that the ongoing project hopes to better match users with the best offerings for their purposes, for example, finding the best bookseller not just for someone looking for books in general, but one that has the best reputation and trust for someone seeking antique first editions. This allows for a means of better selection among several different services that may appear to do exactly the same thing. This collaborative project puts the research power of North Carolina State University together with the technological experience of IBM, creating a powerhouse of research and execution.

  4. The Hub

    In 2007, Syracuse and JP Morgan Chase came together to create the Global Enterprise Technology program. In this ongoing collaborative project, students and corporate workers are able to develop innovations for education and work experience together, pulling on expertise from both education and industry to not only develop better innovations, but also prepare students for real life technology careers. The project grew into a new Global Enterprise Technology minor at Syracuse University, as well as an enhanced JP Morgan Chase internship program for these students, who, through the program, engage in multiple opportunities and even extended internships that carry into fall and spring semesters. JP Morgan Chase built a technology center at Syracuse, which is a worksite for employees as well as students and faculty. It is at this location that joint research projects are carried out, as well as internships and experiential learning. This project has since expanded to include other universities and companies, growing into what is known today as The Hub.

  5. Head Mouse

    The Spanish company Indra creates accessible technology, allowing those with disabilities to better perform tasks at work and in life. The company has collaborated with universities on several projects, including a virtual keyboard, social network, and REM relative eye mouse device. One project in particular is the Head Mouse, a collaboration created along with the Universidad de Lleida. The objective of the project was to create a low cost device for typical mouse usage that can be used by those who aren’t able to use a regular mouse. The mouse they created together uses virtual sight technology and head movements to convert into movement on the screen, allowing users to control the system with head movement alone. This project has been through several collaborative versions and received recognition from the magazine Actualidad Economica as one of the Top 100 Ideas in 2010.

  6. Live Well Collaborative

    Do college students and corporations care about baby boomers? Maybe not all of them, but those involved with the Live Well Collaborative do. At the University of Cincinnati, students work together with several large companies to create products that are useful for consumers aged 50 and over. Students have collaborated with Citi, P&G, Hill-Rom, Kraft Foods, Boeing, General Mills, and LG to turn the needs of baby boomers into final concepts for products. According to Matt Doyle at P&G, "The richness is phenomenal. The UC students are totally open in their approach and their designs have been very productive for us. It’s exceeding our expectations." This project is beneficial for all involved — students get to work with real life companies on real life problems, and corporations are able to produce innovative solutions for an aging populations.

  7. Saab-Umea design project

    Through this partnership, Umea University students completed a 10-week collaborative design project with Saab. Although the brand is most frequently associated with luxury automobiles, the students were asked to find parallels between non-automotive brands and Saab. They created car designs that used design concepts from other non-automotive companies. For example, student Kosin Voravattayagon was awarded Student Design of the Year and Best Production Interior at the Interior Motives Design Awards for his Gillette-inspired vehicle, which most notably put the center console on the outer edge of the seat to optimize safety. In this project, students were able to work with the Swedish car maker to better understand and investigate the concepts of brand and identity, while honing design skills.

  8. Nokia Data Gathering

    Nokia has come together with universities to work on data gathering solutions and data gathering products. Through this project, the company shares technology and expertise with the university community, allowing students and others involved to learn more about data gathering as it is actually used. Universities are able to create software releases to implement requested features, and actually own the release. The process goes all the way from roadmapping and blueprints to field implementation, trials, and presentations of field results. Currently, Nokia is working with Seton Hall, University of Nairobi, and FUCAPI Mobile Development Center.

  9. GE Collaborative Project

    The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Department of Radiology has worked on a few projects with General Electric Medical Systems. Together, they have created CT scanners, diffusion-tensor magnet resonance, functional magnetic resonance imagine, and a next-generation exam room. In particular, the CT scanner project has been a long term program that has granted the college worldwide recognition. GE has also worked with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, producing "hundreds of patent disclosures and the commercialization of multiple products" in medical imaging and beyond, making GE’s partnership with universities an enrichment experience for the schools as well as the corporation.

  10. Your Town

    The Boston Globe has many "Your Town" sites representing neighborhoods in and around Boston, but until now, they were not created by students. Northeastern University and Emerson College have changed that, signing on with the newspaper giant to allow students to contribute to town news. In the program, students can get real world experience in journalism, while the Globe enjoys on the ground, hyper-local reportage. The programs are overseen by Globe editors as well as school journalism professors, giving the students real deadlines, an opportunity to work with professional editors, and a chance to have their work published.

Taken From Best Colleges Online

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