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  • Transforming role of businesses in higher education
  • Posted By:
  • Staff Admin
  • Posted On:
  • 12-Jul-2014
  • At the University of South Florida, there is an ongoing mission to create a master’s degree curriculum in cyber security. A team of ten faculty experts have been assembled towards this purpose by Sridharan, the man behind the mission.

    He has so far taken advice from Bright House, Raymond James Financial, IBM and other corporations for advice reaching well outside academia. Inputs he got from these companies and from two US Central Command colonels at MacDill Air Force Base point out to the necessity of infusing digital forensic and psychology studbersecurity lawies into the curriculum.

    Experts opine that this is the only way to get students familiarized with cyber security law, an emerging stream. In order to obtain a comprehensive spectrum, Sridharan from USF believes in drawing inputs from as many companies as possible.

    Interestingly in Florida, there is a sweeping back-to-school movement revealing the strong bond between higher education and business. A lot of businesses maintained a strong presence on college campuses in spite of the Great Recession showing how they valued making a strong brand impression on a consistent basis.

    Moving forward, companies continue to play an active role in developing college curricula encouraging employees to opt for MBA programs and also offering continuous learning by stationing university professors in office parks. In order to match hard-to-fill jobs with grads, companies are creating novel on-the-job training programs and internships.

    Of course, politics continue to play a role in driving education-business partnerships. As a pre-requisite condition for state funding, universities in Florida are being pressurized to maximize student placement after graduation.

    At least ten measures are used to compare universities by the state during the process of awarding performance-based funding. One of the major yardsticks used by them includes measuring the amount of time taken for the graduates in finding a job and their remuneration.

    Universities are taking a lot of effort in offering students relevant degrees such as healthcare, IT and other industries where there is a demand for workforce. In order to make them more relevant to students, universities are also suspending or modifying liberal arts degrees.

    The scenario is clear enough. More numbers of students are now graduating from engineering, technology, science and math, subjects that are in demand. At the University of South Florida, efforts to stem gaps between accounting and IT have awarded them with millions in state funding.

    Business communities are putting in their own efforts such as the Education Connection Launch by the Tampa Chamber. Business needs are increasingly being forecasted by some of the proactive universities.

    According to the CEO of Tech Data Bob Dutkowsky, company’s systems need bright young talent and it is a great help when they are already being well-trained in colleges. This company, through Saint Leo University is also offering weekend on-site MBA program bring in-house higher education expertise.

    According to Dutkowsky, there is a very strong working relationship between companies and higher education institutions now. Today there is a clear shift from knowledge and content focus to integrated skill generation. This is indeed a futuristic, encouraging trend that will certainly show results very soon.


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