ASU constantly on the lookout for unique partnerships

In recent years, Arizona State University has been unstoppable, forging partnerships with some of the biggest names in the game (think Starbucks, Adidas, Mayo Clinic, the list goes on). While some of these partnerships receive attention nationally and beyond, the institution does far more work to champion its innovative and inclusive mission than many realize.

Take Intel, for example, which is a stalwart champion of education and prosperity throughout the state. Over the years, Intel has supported more than 30 projects at ASU, ranging from research to career development and more.

“Our relationship with Intel is a great example of a natural, grassroots partnership that arose organically out of shared missions and vision,” said Grace O’Sullivan, assistant vice president of corporate engagement and strategic partnerships for ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “Intel does everything from providing adjunct professors to sitting on various ASU boards, and providing strategic direction.”

All of this, O’Sullivan says, is crucial to ensure that higher education is aligned with the needs of the state’s businesses and major economic drivers. In addition to helping businesses, partners like Intel have proven beneficial for students, who are provided an example of where their years of study could lead. A true testament to the professional pipeline ASU is constantly working to improve, around 5 percent of Intel’s behemoth global workforce comes from ASU.

Both global enterprises, together, ASU and Intel reach far beyond the state and even the continent. Through the Higher Engineering Education Alliance Program (HEEAP), a program originally funded in 2010 by the United States Agency of International Development (USAID), ASU and Intel work with the Vietnamese Ministry of Education to provide advanced education to prepare upcoming engineers for Vietnam’s high-tech industry. Since its inception, the program has only grown to include more programs for Vietnamese students and professionals, including administrative and smart business training opportunities among others.

ASU’s partnership with Intel is the perfect example of how ASU leverages corporate partnerships to break into new markets, providing access to higher education across the globe.

“We approach every potential partnership from a position of listening first,” O’Sullivan said. “We take industry needs very seriously, which is why we frequently sit down with new and prospective partners for curriculum reviews. We have to engage with businesses so we can know how to improve what we produce, which is in this case the students and future faces of the workforce.”

Unique corporate partnerships are essential to ASU’s continued investment in its global footprint. As ASU goes about forging these relationships, the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development is constantly looking for creative solutions to societal issues.

“In short, it is our responsibility to engage, locally and globally, to be socially embedded and to do the research,” O’Sullivan said. “We need to know what the problems are so we can find the right solutions. So we can mobilize around the cause in service of improving society.”

Ava Montoya

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