The Progress and Future of Professional and Corporate Partnerships

The latest strategic planning campus forum, held Wednesday in the Skutt Student Center, focused on professional and corporate partnerships, outlining the strategic initiative’s progress and future goals.

The update was led by goal stewards Tricia Brundo Sharrar, JD, vice provost for academic administration and partnerships, and Anthony Hendrickson, PhD, dean of the Heider College of Business. Goal work group member Ryan Cameron, assistant vice provost of information technology and library services, also presented.

Cameron began by outlining the current landscape of credentials and the job market, highlighting both the continued need for higher education degrees and the growing demand for nondegree credentials. Additionally, data suggests racial and ethnic gaps in degree attainment, indicating an opportunity for skills-based training to fill knowledge gaps.

Cameron shared a quote from Rovy Branon from the University of Washington’s Continuum College that closely relates to the work of Creighton’s Center for Professional and Corporate Excellence: “We live in an ever-changing world where continuous learning isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. While college degrees remain the essential core of higher education, succeeding in the new economy requires new pathways for people to thrive.”

Next, Sharrar outlined the Center for Professional and Corporate Excellence’s ongoing goals and detailed how the team plans to achieve them. Along with creating new revenue-generating opportunities for Creighton, the center’s goal is to create an immediate and meaningful return on investment for partner organizations. Sharrar noted that developing credentials focused on job-related skills and competencies with employer partners is vital. She said Creighton is developing continuous learning opportunities in collaboration with employer partners that allow employees to gain the skills necessary to achieve industry competencies and close the knowledge gap to advance professionally.

An important part of meeting those needs is centralizing services at Creighton to scale and grow the partner network, while leveraging the University’s current capacity without adding faculty. That comes down to streamlining processes, building efficiencies and engaging with faculty to explore opportunities in respective content areas.

Sharrar also noted that the center has a goal of building a pipeline into graduate and executive certificate and degree programs, while calling out the benefits of also including groups who want to take individual courses.

The center has a number of achievements to date, including:

  • Reorganizing and centralizing services, specifically continuing education, to make the student experience more accessible and effective.
  • Working with the registrar and business offices to develop seamless processes, creating a better experience for students.
  • Leveraging Slate, a system currently used by Enrollment Management that integrates with campus systems, to process registrations, manage payments, customize communications and gain insight through prospect reporting and marketing mechanisms for program development and data-driven decisions.

Sharrar also pointed out the need for collaboration and communication within the Creighton community. She said the University needs to embrace the opportunity to develop multifaceted relationships, with the goal of developing well-rounded and inclusive proposals that incorporate a variety of options, expanding across Creighton’s colleges, schools and departments.

Current offerings include more than 60 professional development programs, which serve as a jumping-off point for organizations determining what they need. “We like to say, ‘Here’s our menu of options,’” Sharrar said, and offer fully customized and personalized solutions from there.

There are also seven current badge programs, 22 CE programs delivered since August and 16 scheduled before the end of 2018, plus a variety of Elevate Workshops developed by the Business Ethics Alliance.

“I absolutely love Creighton, and YES we have things to sell that people need,” Sharrar said. “And it’s not just about selling. It’s about educating and teaching people to go out into the world and do better and bigger things.” She added that Creighton has the ability to do it because of its complexity and because the University has the relationships, network and expertise.

You can find information about upcoming forums and see recordings of this and other past presentations on the Events and Forums page.