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Ohio University to Grow Corporate Relations With Creation of New Corporate Engagement Office

Published: October 1, 2019 Author: Staff reports

To build greater capacity for corporate engagement and stewardship and to grow corporate relationships, Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis created the Corporate Engagement Task Force earlier this year.  

On June 20, 2019, the Task Force delivered a comprehensive set of action-oriented recommendations to President Nellis built upon the strengths and weaknesses of OHIO’s historical and current corporate engagement profile; the learnings from best practices of peer universities; and published information garnered from reviewing the literature, including expert recommendations on corporate engagement in higher education. 

“Corporate engagement is critical to Ohio University’s mission,” said President Nellis. “I am grateful to the Task Force members, led by Dr. Ken Johnson, for their hard work and dedication. They have made thoughtful recommendations that will help to advance corporate engagement and, consistent with our ‘Fearlessly First’
Strategic Framework, empower our campus community to build a strong corporate engagement ecosystem that will derive the maximum mutual value from each corporation relationship.“

The Task Force recommendations cut across broad areas including reorganization of existing corporate engagement infrastructures; modernization of policies and procedures; integration of corporate engagement activities with our entrepreneurial, alumni, and community networks; and additional strategic planning focused on targeted geographic or digital footprints, and research and academic strengths.  

In order to help advance the recommendations, President Nellis has announced the creation of the University’s new Corporate Engagement Office, which will serve as a central location for personalized and accelerated matchmaking and navigation services for corporate partners. This office is based on strategic restructuring and new efficient use of University resources.

The office, which will be located temporarily in the Research and Technology Center (RTEC) 104, will be established under University Advancement with a dotted line to the Research Division. The office will relocate when more centrally located space can be identified. 

Kevin King, who has served as Director of Industry Partnerships in the Research Division since June 2016, has been named Executive Director of Corporate Engagement. Matt Roberts, who currently serves as Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations in University Advancement, will report to King. 

“Kevin King has provided outstanding leadership in the creation of our Industry Partnerships Office, with a vision of cross-cutting collaborations with private-sector partners to benefit the University’s research and teaching mission,” said Joseph Shields, Vice President for Research and Creative Activity and Dean of the Graduate College.  “Bringing together his portfolio with philanthropy is a logical extension, allowing us to take our efforts in corporate engagement to the next level.”


Vice President of University Advancement and President and CEO of The Ohio University Foundation Nico Karagosian added, "University Advancement is excited to welcome Kevin to our team and is committed to working with partners across the University to enhance OHIO's profile and further its mission by engaging alumni and friends, as well as corporate and foundation partners in meaningful ways. Since my arrival in early 2018, Kevin has been working hand-in-hand with Advancement staff, including Matt Roberts, on strategic initiatives for the future of corporate engagement at OHIO. The Task Force's recommendation to align staff and resources for corporate engagement underscores the University's strategic initiative to increase alumni and corporate engagement and coordination." 

Other key recommendations include:

  • The creation of a Corporate Engagement Council composed of University leadership to support “fast track” resolutions to problems, questions, activities and agreements
  • The creation of a University-level Corporate Engagement Advisory Board to inform the University’s Corporate Engagement Ecosystem
  • A network of key University corporate engagement stakeholders that will work in concert with the Corporate Engagement Office
  • A Centralized “corporate-friendly” contracting function that will include a streamlined proposal and agreement process to “fast track” corporate partnerships
  • A robust assessment/referral process with key internal stakeholders to quickly identify the financial and legal pathways for corporate projects and relationships
  • Metrics to assess the progress and impact of the corporate engagement ecosystem
  • Physical space in a high profile, centralized location with visibility and accessibility for corporate engagement activities for both internal and external stakeholders
  • Unified technical solutions for partner and relationship data collection and analysis

The Task Force also developed a preliminary list of existing and emerging corporate partners for which more coordinated relationship development and management is recommended to realize maximum value for both partners.  This list will serve as a starting point for the creation of a portfolio of relationships of substantial strategic value that will be coordinated at the University level.

The OHIO Corporate Engagement Task Force was composed of these faculty and administrators:  
Ken Johnson, D.O., chief medical affairs officer for Ohio University and the executive dean of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Task Force Chair

  • Scott Miller, associate dean for industry partnerships, Russ College of Engineering and Technology
  • Hugh Sherman, dean, College of Business
  • Deb Shaffer, senior vice president for finance and administration
  • Teri Gartland, assistant vice president for central programs
  • Joe Shields, interim dean, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Lynn Gellermann, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship for TechGrowth
  • John Kopchick, Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar
  • Elizabeth Sayrs, senior vice provost for undergraduate education and student success, dean of University College
  • Kevin King, director of industry partnerships/ex-officio
  • Matt Roberts, senior director, corporate and foundation relations/ex-officio