Companies in the region are changing the way they view partnerships with higher education, and Carlow University’s College of Professional Studies is committed to helping them understand that their ability to learn and quickly adapt gives them a competitive advantage.

“The traditional view of higher education as merely a degree-granting institution from whom organizations hire new graduates has transformed into an awareness that successful companies recognize the strategic advantage of being a”learning organization," said Jim Ice, EdD, dean of the College of Professional Studies.

This can involve partnering with a university to help the organization rethink their product and service offerings, upskill and develop their workforce with customized educational offerings, or provide its employees with leadership training or personalized cohorts, he said.

Carlow University’s College of Professional Studies is on the fore of this evolving relationship. It continues to expand its educational offerings while forging new academic and corporate partnerships with organizations–and even other colleges–in order to meet the demands of the region.

In June, the university launched an Executive Master in Business Administration program (E-MBA) that’s designed with the flexibility, knowledge and real-world experiences that modern leaders need to impact organizations and advance their careers. The intensive, completely online 10-month cohort model is designed for the experienced business professional with a minimum of eight years of professional experience. Carlow University also continues to develop cost-effective graduate-level certificate programs that enable working professionals to gain valuable expertise in high-demand areas, such as project management; fraud and forensics; cyber threat research and analytics; and online teaching.

It’s also expanded its educational offerings to include academic and corporate partnerships, among them the recently formed partnership with the Allegheny County Airport Authority (ACAA) and Redstone Highlands.

Carlow’s collaboration with the ACAA utilizes an industry-leading, social customer care skill-builder program that provides specialized on-demand mobile/digital support. Customer care agents, Carlow alumni, have been deployed as a mobile team in the terminal as part of a one-year pilot program working to improve the customer experience.

Christina Cassotis, ACAA CEO, said that improving the customer experience is a priority for the Airport Authority, and they view this program as a complement to their traditional customer service representatives.

“We want to engage with customers wherever possible,” Cassotis said in a June 19 news release. “Additionally, we’re extremely pleased to partner with another great Pittsburgh institution to help us get there.”

Redstone Highlands, which offers high quality living choices for senior citizens, has chosen Carlow University as its academic partner. The organization is providing scholarships for five employees to enroll part-time in Carlow’s RN to BSN program this fall, and Carlow is providing leadership training for their nursing leadership team.

“Redstone is excited to partner with Carlow University, a transformational and highly respected institution, to help solidify our commitment to lifelong learning and personal development,” said Christine Shope, director of education and informatics.

And the recently signed reverse transfer credit agreement between the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) and Carlow University will allow CCAC students who transfer to Carlow before earning their associate degree to apply credits earned at Carlow toward both a bachelor’s degree from Carlow and an associate’s degree from CCAC.

These partnerships, in addition to the hundreds that Carlow has historically developed, serve both the outside corporate community and the university —as well as the region.

“The ability for an organization to learn faster than its competition may be the only sustainable source of competitive advantage left today,” Ice said. ¡

For more information about the opportunities that are available through the College of Professional Studies, contact Ice at jwice@carlow.edu.

By Elizabeth Fazzini