Partners in Growth

February 11, 2013

If there is a single phrase that best captures the motivation behind our current efforts — from our strategic plan Bold Aspirations to our comprehensive fundraising campaign Far Above — it is this one: flagship university.

The state of Kansas demands a flagship university in the top tier of public international research institutions. Such a university is a magnet for innovative minds, and innovation is the key to a flourishing and diverse economy.

Our Bold Aspirations goals will not only strengthen our research efforts, but just as importantly engage our scholarship for public impact. By investing our substantial intellectual capital and research infrastructure, KU can spur innovation, business partnerships, and economic prosperity.

One-stop shopping

Under the leadership of Julie Goonewardene, president of the KU Center for Technology Commercialization and associate vice chancellor for innovation & entrepreneurship, KUCTC has been reorganized with a goal as old as business itself — one-stop shopping for entrepreneurs and external business partners.

One exciting way KUCTC is pursuing its goal is the Strategic Partners Program. The program operates as a unique collaboration between the Office of Corporate Partnerships, led by director Julie Nagel, and Corporate and Foundation Development at KU Endowment, led by director Scott Zerger.

The Strategic Partners Program reinforces the more specific corporate programs already in existence, while also providing businesses the potential for broader involvement across the university — creating a synergistic relationship between a company and KU.

Companies often have broad interests spanning multiple units. KU will coordinate at the university level to address company desires and navigate institutional units and departments. A senior KU leader — such as a dean or vice provost — will serve as key administrator on behalf of all KU and work directly with the company’s designated key executive to help foster collaborative programs.

The Strategic Partners Program is nearing completion of its first master research agreement. Such agreements will simplify work for faculty and staff, help launch new projects quickly, and benefit students and research.

A data-centric approach

Making a connection begins with the challenge of tracking existing contacts and having the data needed to create new ones. The KUCTC is leading a concentrated effort to utilize information and IT infrastructure to support and enhance our strategic goals and our research.

Later in the spring, KUCTC will launch a new web presence to streamline the process of doing business with KUCTC and to highlight KU commercialization strengths on the national stage.

The site will provide potential partners a single point of entry to access the breadth of expertise and programs at KU. In coordination with the site’s launch, internal activities are being aligned to serve the goal of one-stop shopping.

KUCTC is also moving forward with a corporate Customer Relations Management system, a database to track external relationships and provide an enterprise-level analysis of KU’s relationship to any existing or potential partner. The business and industry CRM project is expected to have initial functionality available by April 2013.

Bits and Bytes

  • The Bold Aspirations Visitor and Lecture Series returns for the spring semester with one lecture next week and two lectures the following week:
    • Nobel laureate and financial economist Robert Merton will present A Next-Generation Solution for Funding Retirement: A Case Study in Design and Implementation of Financial Innovation on Friday, February 15 at 1 p.m. at the Dole Institute of Politics.
    • Recently retired Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Administration H. George Frederickson will present Organization in Public Administration as part of the School of Public Affairs Valedictory Lecture Series on Monday, February 18, at 3:30 p.m. in the Alderson Room at the Kansas Union.
    • Chuanbin Mao, the Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma, will present Genetically Engineering BioNanostructures to Develop NanoBiotechnology and Nanomedicine, on Thursday, February 21, at 4 p.m. at The Commons in Spooner Hall.
  • I encourage you to attend one of the two public forums being held as the university begins the process of creating a new campus master plan. Each open forum will present an opportunity to visit with Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company and share your thoughts on the future of KU’s physical presence.
    • A campus open forum will be held on Wednesday, February 20, from 11 a.m. to 1p.m. on the 4th floor of the Kansas Union.
    • A Lawrence community open forum will be held on Wednesday, February 20, from 5-7 p.m. in the Union Pacific Depot/Lawrence Visitor Information Center.
  • Finally, to recruit and retain high-quality staff, we must be competitive with current markets and ensure our position descriptions align with the work done on campus. The university has contracted with CBIZ to assist with a comprehensive classification and market study for all non-faculty positions. You can learn more at
Provost's Message Signature: 

Rock Chalk!
  -- Jeff

Jeffrey S. Vitter

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor

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