Friday, 31 August 2012

A new approach for managing university-workplace partnerships

an article by Teemu Ylikoski and Mika J. Kortelainen (Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Lohja, Finland) published in Industrial and Commercial Training Volume 44 Issue 6 (2012)


University-workplace partnerships are becoming increasingly important as the demands for authentic learning are growing. Partnership management ensures availability of authentic learning environments, joint-learning tasks, and knowledge-producing commissions for the students. Universities, however, can have difficulties in managing these crucial partnerships. This paper’s purpose is to investigate the problems and to suggest a solution.
The approach is based on a case study of Laurea University of Applied Sciences in Finland.
In the case study, the programme is run by business students, who as a part of their education, learn important skills in managing “customers” and projects. This results in improved learning for the students as they not only gain first-hand experience in customer relationship management, but also deeper partnerships as the relationships evolve over time. Partnerships are centrally managed and available to all participants. This programme is non-exclusive: it does not assume or require participation from the educators. If an educator wishes to keep his/her own workplace contacts private, this is possible.
Research limitations/implications
The results stem from a case study. Even though good results are reported in the case, every organization is different and using a similar approach is not guaranteed to work.
Practical implications
The paper suggests a way for universities to deepen partnerships, overcoming typical hurdles.
The non-exclusive approach to partnership management described in the paper is original and will benefit universities in their quest for improving partnerships. The authors believe that the use of students as the task force of the programme to this extent is a novel idea and benefits the local workplaces (new knowledge) as well as students (authentic learning).

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