On Feb 4th we had the pleasure of hosting the first Arkansas Technical Education Symposium. The event is designed to bring in representatives from Microsoft, UALR faculty, the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) and local businesses to present lectures and hands-on workshops on a variety of IT related topics to local IT professionals, students, and faculty from other institutions. You can read the press release here.
Unfortunately, we had a snow storm come through so they had to close the campus and that cut our event short. However, we were still able to have sessions presented by Dr. Bradley Jensen on business intelligence, Microsoft Developer Evangelist Chris Koenig on Windows Phone 7 development, Tim Lee from the ASBTDC on search engine optimization, and I even got in on the action and gave a presentation on social engineering exploits.
Thanks to Microsoft, specifically Bradley and Chris, for helping us put this event together. I especially have to give it up for Chris, who stayed long after they closed the campus to help some students that decided to stick around and get their Windows Phone 7 development questions answered. I am even more appreciative because one of those students is on my Imagine Cup team!
This event is an an example of how to develop partnerships with industry. It allows you to showcase your students and your program to the people in your community and beyond. Getting this type exposure communicates to various stakeholder groups that your program is producing quality students and that your faculty are willing to work with industry to help solve their problems. This can translate into businesses wanting to contribute resources to your program, increased graduate placement rates (which will increase enrollments), and more access to sites to collect data for your research projects. All in all, it’s a win-win-win for the students, faculty, and industry!