Fostering university-business partnerships are imperative to address issues such as the looming shortage of security professionals, according to Bruce Maas, vice provost for IT and CIO at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Maas spoke with SearchCIO at the recent Fusion CEO-CIO conference, produced by WTN Media. In this video, he explains how to nurture university-business partnerships, how trust and communication are prerequisites to promoting cooperation between the private sector and educational institutions, and how these partnerships are mutually beneficial.
Why is it important to foster university-business partnerships?
Bruce Maas: First of all, I would say that national estimates are that we are going to have a shortage somewhere between a million and a half and two million security professionals by the year 2020. It is critically important that universities, community colleges, technical colleges and the private sector work together to be able to address this. We are in a time where institutions like the University of Wisconsin, which is a public institution, no longer have the kind of funding coming from the state that will allow us to develop everything based on state funding and or tuition. We now need business partners.
For us to be able to respond, I think we need to be able to establish trust with the business community that, first of all, we understand what their needs are and that we can communicate what our intention is with regard to curricular developments. A lot of this is really about trust and having dialogues so that universities can listen and hear what the needs of the business community are. The business community can understand that we are professionals in this area and we have ideas on what a well-rounded curriculum would look like. I think the best result is when we have the combination of both -- listening to each other and developing curriculum in this area.
How do you develop such university-business partnerships?
Maas: The starting point is you have to have relationships, you have to have trust. I'm here at the Fusion CEO-CIO conference, I've participated in this conference for about 13 years. I've gotten to know my colleagues in the private sector. We have opportunities to have a dialogue. I've heard how challenging this is for them. They cannot hire enough security professionals, and they also have challenges with regard to diversity in the workforce.
This combination of hearing what their challenges are, hearing where they want to go in terms of diversity in their IT organizations has really allowed me to have some discussions inside the university with our academics about how we might respond to this. In a way, I'm like a bridging agent between the academy and the private sector. All this happens because of trust, and it happens because of a willingness to have a dialogue on the part of not only me but my colleagues who are in the private sector.