College try: the benefits of having 32 independent colleges and universities in Indiana.

Author:Held, Shad
Position:EDUCATION - Company overview
 
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A GOOD "COLLEGE TRY" means "a serious effort to do or achieve something." Indiana's independent colleges and universities are making just such an effort to support their communities and state.

"The number one way in which we impact our local communities and the statewide business communities is simply through employment," says Dr. Hans C. Giesecke, president of Independent Colleges of Indiana. "We are a major employer in the state of Indiana, with approximately 20,000 employees.'

Some prime examples of business relationships between campus and community include Anderson University's Flagship Enterprise Center, with its state-of-the-art conference center. It mixes highly qualified staff and faculty with community needs and offers both internships and fellowships for students to work with local firms. MBA and undergraduates in the business program assist the Center with marketing strategies, accounting services, business plans and web site development. Three years ago Butler University began a business accelerator to develop consulting services and practices with Central Indiana businesses utilizing its MBA program and undergraduate business program students. Indiana Tech uses its MBA program as a wedge to help local companies expand and develop. "They've developed a number of onsite MBA programs as well as undergraduate programs in business to help professionals who want to expand their skill sets do so while they are working."

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Here is a look at the many innovative ways independent colleges are making a difference all over the state.

Anderson University. "Our first and best example would be the Flagship Enterprise Center (FEC)," says Chris Williams, director of university communications. Anderson University partnered with the City of Anderson to create the FEC, which serves as a small business incubator and growth-stage business accelerator. In 2007 the FEC was expanded to include the Anderson University Flagship Center (AUFC) which houses the Anderson University Falls School of Business Residential MBA program as well as programs offered by the School of Adult Learning and Purdue University's College of Technology. The facility's Professional Development Center can accommodate nearly 160 people for meetings.

Butler University, "At the core of the College of Business Administration's Real Life, Real Business curriculum is a unique partnership with the Central Indiana business community," says Courtney Tuell, director of public relations. "This means our students sometimes step into businesses and sometimes businesses come into the classroom. This process gives each student the opportunity to learn how to blend business concepts with business practice, and results in both students and businesses helping each other grow."

Butler's Integrated Capstone Experience pairs students with companies as diverse as Finish Line, Roche Diagnostics Corporation, Second Helpings, CMW, Inc. and Rolls-Royce Defense North America for a semester-long consulting project. Since fail 2007 the Butler Business Accelerator, part of the College of Business Administration, has been providing growth strategies and consulting services to private Central Indiana businesses such as Gilchrist & Soames, SaniServ, Royal Food Products, Cannon IV and Wellspring Pharmacy. Both undergraduate and graduate classes collaborate with businesses. For example, one retailing class partners with Finish Line each year to assist with a market research project, and a marketing research class is currently working with two Domino Pizza franchises on a marketing research projects targeted at the Butler student population.

The Butler University College of Business Administration fall 2008 enrollment has 650 undergraduates and 300 graduate students.

Earlham College. Earlham College has a close bond with the community of Richmond and many of its faculty and students volunteer their services to the community. Earlham is one of the 10 largest employers in Wayne County. College and student spending--current enrollment is 1,194--contribute more than $26 million to the local economy. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007, the college and its students accounted for more than $42.9 million in income for local businesses, organizations and people.

Earlham sponsors monthly forums that include community members as speakers. The community partnership council, which meets three times a year and has been in existence for five years, consists of 12 community members (one-third are alumni), one student and Avis Stewart, the College's vice president of community relations.

Earlham's Wellness Center boasts 425 memberships from the Richmond community, and most college events are discounted and open to the public. Earlham also shares a common theater space with the community and gives half of its radio station's airtime to...

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