Expert in faculty-company collaborations to present workshop at RIT

Topics will include partnership research and structured on-the-job training

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RIT will host national consultant and educator Ron Jacobs for a workshop about managing corporate and academic partnerships 10-11:30 a.m. May 12 in the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences auditorium. The program, Partnership Research: Effective Faculty/Company Collaborations, is open to campus faculty and staff as well as graduate students.

Jacobs, professor of workforce education and development at Ohio State University, is known for his research about structured, on-the-job training, particularly, determining the financial benefits of this type of training, and for building successful alliances between corporations and universities.

His workshop at RIT will include strategies for doing research that balances corporate interests with advancing academic disciplines and knowledge within a faculty member’s given field.

The program is part of a broad direction by College of Applied Science and Technology to make collaborations with industry partners and other universities a priority, according to Donna Dickson, assistant professor and program chairperson of the human resources master’s program in the School of Hospitality and Service Management.

“I first met Dr. Jacobs in Beijing, China, where Senior Associate Dean Linda Tolan and I were presenting a paper at an academic conference. We realized that we have a shared expertise in on-the-job training,” Dickson says. “As a tenure-track faculty, I am always looking for mentors who can help me build my research and publication capability and I have benefitted from many of Dr. Jacob's published works in this area. He agreed to share his expertise with others at RIT.”

Jacobs has acted as consultant for organizations such as General Motors, KLM Airlines and Kuwait National Petroleum Company in an effort to develop internal training systems as organizations change and the need for new employee skill sets increases.

“Learning to expand and leverage these relationships in order to advance a discipline is the next frontier for professors like me,” she says. “Organizations are interested in hiring graduates who have the ability to think and collaborate in an interdisciplinary manner. Faculty must themselves build interdisciplinary collaborations within and across the university before they can effectively teach students to operate in this manner.”