The Williams College of Business found a new way to interact with the business community to create a link between the corporate and academic worlds. The University partnered with Platform Lab, a non-profit IT test and training facility funded by the Ohio Department of Development.
Through Platform, mid-market firms lacking large research and development budgets can conduct IT test projects without investing in expensive short-term assets to increase their competitive edge. The idea is to provide flexibility and scalability for the local business community in a way that saves them about 90 percent of what it would cost to do it anywhere else.
So where does Xavier come in? “We provide faculty expertise that companies might desire,” says Mark Frolick, Xavier’s Western and Southern professor for information systems. For example, faculty members are directing IT research projects that participating companies fund collectively so they can all benefit.
“From a University standpoint, we can train faculty on the latest testing methods that we can take back and tell our students what’s going on in the business community,” he says. “And we can also put together groups of students and take them to the facility to demonstrate how disaster recovery and testing are done.”
Schools such as Case Western Reserve University and the University of Toledo partnered with Platform to the north, while Xavier is taking charge of Southwest Ohio. “Right now we’re getting it off the ground,” Frolick says. “It opens more opportunities for the University and ties us closer to the business community.”