Tags Posts tagged with "partnership"

partnership

Meeting of the School of Graduate Studies, Research, and Innovation

Southern’s School of Graduate Studies recently expanded its portfolio to include research and innovation, to form the new School of Graduate Studies, Research, and Innovation (GSRI). “There are many exciting new initiatives at Southern,” says Christine Broadbridge, dean of GSRI as well as a physics/engineering researcher with expertise in nanotechnology and the education director for a National Science Foundation Center of Research Excellence at SCSU/Yale.  “We have a new president, a new provost, and a new strategic plan. Innovation is a big part of that plan.”

But how to define “innovation”? Broadbridge, who previously established the Office for STEM Innovation and Leadership (STEM-IL), points to innovation as the common theme between GSRI and STEM-IL. One of her goals, she says, is to engage in dialog with the internal and external communities to ask the questions, “What is innovation?” and “How does Southern define innovation?”

Nanotechnology students at SCSU's Academic Science and Laboratory Building

To begin the conversation, in May GSRI hosted a panel discussion at Southern on the Green to look at innovation in business and industry. This first “Defining Innovation” event was held in partnership between GSRI, UCONN School of Engineering, and the UConn School of Business. The panelists included representatives from a few companies listed by Forbes Magazine as among the World’s Most Innovative Companies:

  • From Alexion in New Haven: Rachael Alford, Vice President, Global Product Development
  • From Medtronic: Danyel Racenet, Director of Research and Development
  • From Assa Abloy: Amy Vigneux (Vigo), Director, Sustainable Building Solutions

“We started with experts – those that are in the trenches,” Broadbridge explains. The panel’s goal was to begin defining innovation for industry, and specifically Connecticut’s industry. “People at SCSU have been innovative for a long time,” Broadbridge says, “but how do we foster and encourage it? How do we teach students to be innovative as they move forward into their careers?  How do we most effectively reward and celebrate the innovations of our faculty, students, staff, and community? ”

professor and students in lab; SCSU Academic Science and Laboratory building

Essentially, she says, innovation is about collaboration and partnership – getting people to think about things in a way that they haven’t thought of before, and encouraging communication. Broadbridge has brought in an entrepreneur-in-residence, Deborah Santy, to help facilitate events around innovation and to help create partnerships with groups in the community. Santy says innovation is “anything new and different, and Christine has always been doing that.” She points to the SCSU BioScience Academic and Career Pathway Initiative (BioPath) and Southern’s systemwide Center for Nanotechnology as examples of innovation. Santy is working closely with industry to create curriculum that addresses its needs, while also helping students form partnerships with business.

She, along with Suzanne Huminski, who leads the Sustainability Office on campus, were organizers of the Innovation Connection event, as well as Robin Ann Bienemann, entrepreneur-in-residence at the UConn School of Engineering and the UConn School of Business. Huminski says that incorporating innovation into the classroom is best when it involves a process with protocols, as it does with business and industry. Innovation is about problem solving, she says, so the university needs to think about it educationally and offer programs that meet the needs of students.

Huminski makes the point that sustainability is at the intersection of multiple disciplines, and requires  innovative solutions to succeed. Fostering successful and scalable sustainability solutions means interdisciplinary collaboration, and asking what each discipline can bring to the table to solve sustainability challenges of many different types. She adds that students can benefit by learning to be innovative and how to create partnerships in their future careers.

Rain Harvester collecting water for recycling in front of SCSU Academic Science and Laboratory building

Both Santy and Broadbridge also emphasize that innovation is all about partnerships and collaboration. Previously, Santy was executive director of Connecticut’s SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) office, which worked with all the small businesses in the state and large businesses to bring innovation to Connecticut. Santy says that based on her experience, “I believe that every innovation I’ve seen involves partnership.”

Broadbridge is looking at continuing to define innovation and what it means at Southern. She points to the new Academic and Laboratory Science Building, designed as a collaborative, innovative space, as well as a new space in Buley, adjacent to the GSRI offices, designed for student collaboration. “We’re about initiatives that foster innovation and deliver it for our institution,” Broadbridge says. “I believe that there are many different types of innovation, depending on the context, and an infinite number of applications.”

students collaborating in private study room; SCSU Hilton C. Buley Library

From innovation in education to government, from healthcare to business, the resulting impacts on our society are without limit, Broadbridge says. “Innovation is a key driver for prosperity, opportunity, and growth in all sectors, and Southern is primed to become a regional leader in educational innovation through partnerships.”

The university has entered into an exciting partnership with The Elm Shakespeare Company (ESC) that promises to bring new energy to the Theatre Department and the entire university community.

The Elm Shakespeare Company, recognized as the premiere Shakespeare company in Connecticut and one of the very best in New England, has been offering free professional outdoor Shakespeare performances in New Haven for 20 years. Southern and Elm Shakespeare recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that brings Elm Shakespeare onto campus and integrates it into Theatre Department activities and facilities.

Under the MOU, ESC is officially “in residence” at Southern Connecticut State University. For two decades, ESC has rehearsed its actors and built the sets for its productions at Lyman Center; the MOU formalizes this relationship. As part of the agreement, ESC will reserve three non-union acting or technical positions for Southern students in its summer season; provide a member of its artistic staff to teach a Shakespeare workshop (THR 228) every semester; and offer additional free workshops to SCSU theater students. In addition, when available, a member of the ESC artistic staff will direct agreed-upon Theatre Department productions, and the company will provide formal fieldwork opportunities for qualified Southern students interested in theater education. The university, for its part, will provide office, classroom, and rehearsal space for ESC; allow access to the costume shop and scene shop; and offer the opportunity for qualified ESC staff to teach, direct or design in Theatre Department courses or productions. Both organizations will acknowledge the partnership in their advertising literature and publications.

Steven Breese, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, says of the new partnership, “We are delighted that Elm Shakespeare will be taking up residency at Southern. Our artistic and educational missions are deeply interconnected and, like any good partnership, we strengthen one another by joining our forces.

“While SCSU has, for many years, had a strong relationship with Elm, having the company and its artistic staff ensconced on our campus and interacting with students and faculty every day will be a ‘shot’ of creative adrenaline — something that all artists need and welcome.”

Rebecca Goodheart, Elm Shakespeare’s new Producing Artistic Director, says, “We at Elm Shakespeare are so excited to solidify our long-time working relationship and become the theater company in residence at Southern Connecticut State University. This partnership is the best kind of collaboration. Together we will create more classical performance at the highest standards, and more opportunities for students than ever before. Together, we will ensure that everyone in this great community and beyond has access to world-class arts and education. Together, we will be the example of what is possible in New Haven.”

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Breese acknowledges the efforts of Goodheart and Kaia Monroe, Theatre Department Chair, for the work they have done to bring this partnership to fruition, adding, “It represents a giant step forward for our theater program, while offering a secure home for one the region’s most respected professional Shakespeare companies.”

An official signing of the MOU will take place on March 2, at 4:30 p.m. in the Lyman Center lobby. The signing will coincide with Elm Shakespeare’s announcement of its 2016 season. For more information about Elm Shakespeare, visit its website.

 

In spring 2016, the first group of students will cross the Atlantic to study abroad under a new agreement formalized Dec. 3 by Southern and Liverpool John Moores University.

This “Trans-Atlantic Alliance” will offer students the chance to take classes in both New Haven and Liverpool, England, as well as benefit from dual-taught undergraduate and graduate-level programs, delivered by LJMU and SCSU faculty members through video link and guest lectures.

SCSU President Mary Papazian and Edward Harcourt, LJMU’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for External Engagement, formally signed the agreement in the foyer of Southern’s new science building.

“(LJMU) is an institution very much like ours,” Papazian told the New Haven Register. “This allows us to look at problems around sustainability, public health, health care management, business, creative writing from a variety of perspectives.”

Papazian predicted the partnership would be “a robust exchange, so many of our students have that chance to have that global experience.”

“It’s a great place, a safe place for our students to experience the world,” she said of the historic port city, home to the Beatles, the Cunard steamship line and Liverpool F.C., one of the world’s most well-known professional soccer clubs.

LJMU traces its roots back nearly 200 years to 1823 and the opening of the Liverpool Mechanics’ Institute. Over the decades, the institute merged with other institutions to become Liverpool Polytechnic; traditionally providing training, education and research to the maritime industry, before earning university status in 1992. Now ranked among the top 400 universities world-wide, LJMU offers 250 degree courses to 25,000 students drawn from more than 100 countries.

This spring, four SCSU undergraduates with academic interests in business, wellness, geography and global health will be leaving for Liverpool to study abroad for a semester. They include senior Shayne O’Brien (pictured with President Papazian and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Harcourt), who plans a career as a glaciologist. Additionally, Mark McRiley, a graduate student from public health, also will be attending LJMU in 2016 to earn his Ph.D. on full scholarship. Several students from LJMU are also expected to be attending Southern.

Liverpool John Moores University visit

Harcourt told the Register that the Alliance was a “game-changer for both institutions.

“We’re very similar, very connected to our local regions,” he said. “What we looked for is aligning comparable interests and strengths.”

Liverpool also has smaller-scale partnerships with colleges in China and Malaysia, Harcourt said, but with Southern, “the big prize longer-term is, could we get to the point where we’re presenting a joint prospectus of master’s programs,” which would be unique and enticing to students in overseas markets.

On the home front, several academic departments have hosted classes or colleagues from Liverpool via videoconference or in person. In November, the nursing departments from the respective institutions participated in a symposium in which Assistant Professor Christine Denhup presented her research on parental bereavement following the death of a child, an area of mutual interest for both groups.

In late November, John Morrissey, senior lecturer in environmental geography, natural sciences and psychology at LJMU, spoke about “Enabling Sustainability Transitions in the Coastal Zone,” during Southern’s Department of Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences’ Geography Awareness Week.

And in October, the visit of former Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent for the Dr. Joseph Panza Sport Management Lecture was broadcast live to LJMU so that sport management students there could participate and ask questions of the speaker.

More collaborations are forthcoming. During the most recent visit of the LJMU delegation, Tim Nichol, dean of the Liverpool Business School, met with SCSU School of Business colleagues (below) to discuss a wide range of potential initiatives. These include collaborative research and teaching, an MBA program in comparative healthcare offered by both institutions and a shared DBA that could be offered internationally.

Liverpool John Moores University visit

James Tait, professor of science education and environmental studies, is proposing a doctoral research project examining evidence of prehistoric hurricanes in the marshes of Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Conn., with a goal of plotting how the intensity of these storms have changed over thousands of years.

Tait has done extensive work researching and proposing solutions to beach erosion along Connecticut’s Long Island Sound shoreline in the wake of recent hurricanes. With SCSU geography colleague Elyse Zavar and faculty from LJMU, Tait recently visited Formby Point, home of the United Kingdom’s largest collection of sand dunes, an area that faces similar issues in the wake of violent storms.