Industry Relationships Support Program Quality and EnrollmentStacey Little | Program Director for Transportation and Logistics Management, American Public University
There are many lessons higher education institutions can learn from companies and industries that would further programming related to logistics management. The most obvious are those such as relevant skills needed, new technologies and emerging trends. But it’s possible to delve even deeper.
Most universities use Industry Advisory Councils to assist with defining relevant curricula and identifying and developing new degree programs. These committees are invaluable to the continuous improvement of programs in preparing students for the workforce.
But let’s look at this from a different perspective. The foundation of logistics management is demand. In order to create demand for a product (service) a company would need to build the brand to customer needs, create brand awareness and continue to strengthen the brand. Companies are very familiar with a traditional business model and the necessity to build and grow a brand.
With that in mind, some of the most important lessons that higher education industries can learn from the corporate world—and especially their colleagues on Industry Advisory Councils—are those about strengthening the program (building the brand), recruiting students (growing the brand), and knowledge of current issues or concerns that might require university involvement in research (brand awareness).
Companies and industries can provide valuable insight in how to strengthen a logistics program. A logistics program is strengthened by the introduction of relevant curricula, new technologies or introducing students to innovative logistical systems. Any logistics educational program curriculum should be supported through the input and approval of professionals in the field. Without the input of industry professionals, the graduates of the program are at risk of not having the relevant skill set for jobs in the field.
Relationships with companies can also help a logistics program recruit students. Through continued relationships and communication, universities can generate a great rapport with these companies because they provided input and endorsed the curriculum, so of course they would recommend the program to their employees. This will have a far-reaching effect on growing the program.
Finally, logistics programs can gain insight into issues or problems that can be addressed through academic research. This is a great opportunity to continue to bring awareness to a program and the university as a whole. Companies and industries are known to involve universities to help them solve problems and address issues. These experiences can be as simple as a problem-solving team and as complex as advanced research in an area. Regardless, this provides the students with practical experience and knowledge they can take away when they graduate. Not to mention, the research will bear the name of the university and the program increasing awareness of the university and its programs.
Advisory committees will always be an integral part of the university. It is also necessary to build relationships with other companies in the industry to gain other valuable lessons such as those mentioned above.
Author Perspective: Administrator