Richard has written extensively on the role of the University in the Creative Economy... (check out the library for pieces by Richard including The University and The Creative Economy by Richard, Gary, Kevin, and Brian). His work has informed my work on the benefits of starting new ventures on campuses.
A recent story in the WSJ by Thaddeus Herrick (available w/out a sub via AOL) shows that corporations are beginning to try new strategies in leveraging the benefits of the university in the creative economy. Express Scripts, Inc., a company that does $18 billion in pharmacy benefits management, is relocating its HQ to the University of Missouri's St. Louis Campus. From the piece,
"So when Express Scripts announced in 2004 that it was seeking to relocate its headquarters, administrators saw a good fit. The company relies heavily on information technology, processing 1 million prescriptions a day, and such technology is one of the university's strengths.
It wasn't a hard sell. Express Scripts Chief Executive George Paz saw in the campus of 15,000 students a potential work force. And the unusual arrangement would give Express Scripts a hand in developing courses and joint programs with the university, likely defraying the company's training costs and reducing turnover. "This will allow us to get good people and keep them," Mr. Paz says.
The plan raised concerns among some faculty members, who worried that the partnership would undermine academics and research. "It may serve the needs of the company," says Joseph Martinich, professor of operations management and a member of a joint task force between the University of Missouri at St. Louis and Express Scripts. "But that's not necessarily our mission."
Still, most of the campus cheered last month when Express Scripts, lured in part by $12.5 million in state tax credits, traded its home in a suburban St. Louis office park for a $50 million brick-and-aluminum building near the university's athletics complex. The company is the first tenant in what university administrators hope to be a business-and-research park, creating what they say could become a technology hub.
Students at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, many of them from modest backgrounds, are particularly supportive. Senior Kelcy Siddall, an intern at Express Scripts this summer in information technology finance, says the partnership between the university and the company has allowed him crucial on-the-job experience. "I get to see what the corporate world is all about," he says.
Already, the university and Express Scripts are developing academic programs they say will be mutually beneficial. In one undergraduate course, students will be assigned to create software to test how much activity the Express Scripts computer system can handle. And the university will offer several courses for Express Scripts employees, including one that targets potential leaders identified by the company."
posted by David