Equipping Higher Education Leaders to Manage Corporate Interests

Equipping Higher Education Leaders to Manage Corporate Interests

Morgan R. Clevenger (Hiram College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2177-9.ch013
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Higher education continues to face resource challenges; therefore, creating win-win, long-term relationships of all kinds is of high importance. While it is the primary function of the development or advancement office to raise funds, other leaders—such as presidents, board members, provosts, deans, community and government relations officers, corporate and foundation relations officers, and key volunteers—must spend time building relationships with individuals and other organizations' leaders (e.g., corporations, foundations, governments, and community initiatives) who can contribute to the needs and programs of the institution.
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Higher education is funded by a basic combination of tuition, endowment and investment income, ancillary sales (e.g., bookstore, athletics, etc.), and support from both individuals and other organizations (including private and public) such as alumni and alumnae, corporations, foundations, and strategic partnerships (Clevenger, 2019a; Drezner, 2011; Drezner & Huels, 2014; Essex & Ansbach, 1993; Hunt, 2012; Walton & Gasman, 2008). Additionally, state institutions receive state government funds—but those have been inconsistent and volatile (Bunce & Leggett, 1994; Press & Washburn, 2000). Colleges and universities may also receive federal funding for financial aid or research initiatives. Private sector resources are key—and continue to grow—to help fund higher educations’ purposes and goals (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2017; Ciconte & Jacob, 2009; Clevenger, 2019a; DeAngelo & Cohen, 2000; Drezner, 2011; Gould, 2003; Hearn, 2003; Hodson, 2010; Hunt, 2012). Goals include employing high-caliber leaders, faculty, and staff; creating accessibility for a wide diversity of students; and support for programming—including scholarships, classrooms, laboratories, co-curricular facilities, technology and library resources, discovery, technology transfer of intellectual property, and economic development. Goal implementation for this wide range of demands for leaders only occurs as appropriate resources become available. The competition for these resources continues to increase. Funding is required to operate academic institutions, so leaders must understand various complexities and their impact on how they approach resource development and corporate relations (Clevenger, 2014, 2019a; Clevenger & MacGregor, 2018, 2019; Drezner & Huels, 2014).

After World War II, the academy increased partnering with companies to determine professional and job demand areas to better serve the country and economic productivity (Fischer, 2000; Gould, 2003; Osman, 2014; Press & Washburn, 2000). Additionally, during times of double-digit inflation (i.e., the 1970s and 1980s), higher education leaders turned to corporate America to assist in efficiency systems to strive for balanced budgets. Likewise, corporations have had various reasons to be engaged with higher education, which typically “reflect national and international economic pressures and events” (DaSilva & Kerkian, 2008, p. 13). Some examples of corporate investment and engagement include: philanthropic support for scholarships and broader accessibility, managerial discretion and passion for social-related causes of mutual interest, ability to give from profitability and economic status, regional economic development, employee development, talent recruitment, and a host of strings-attached reasons such as sponsorships, advertisements, and co-sponsored research (see Clevenger, 2019a; Clevenger, MacGregor, Udomsak, Bosak, & Castano, 2019; Fortunato, Alter, Clevenger, & MacGregor, 2019; Mathewson, 2015). Positive inter-organizational relationships can be developed and maintained (Clevenger, 2019a; Siegel, 2007, 2008, 2012).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Best Practices: Principles, strategies, and tactics to aid higher education leaders in engaging with businesses and corporations such as AASCU, AAUP, AFP, CASE, and NACRO.

Higher Education Leaders: Individuals contributing to developing strategic partnerships with organizations such as corporations, management teams within an academic institution as well as governing representatives, and programmatic and academic individuals coordinating content areas in teaching, research, service, economic development, or entrepreneurship to engage audiences.

Ethics: The due diligence, actions, and mitigation of situations relating to individual leaders’ decisions and actions, aggregated policy and strategies of organizations (such as higher education or companies), and the on-going monitoring of behaviors by all organizational actors.

Corporate Relations: From a higher education perspective is the coordination of efforts to organize internal operations and opportunities to partner with businesses.

Corporate Motives: Are expectations and return on investment goals that companies have to engage in higher education.

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