The Evolution of Collaboration: Unveiling the EDUCAUSE Corporate Engagement Program

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To help implement one of the three strategic priorities in the recently released EDUCAUSE Strategic Plan, the association has created a new EDUCAUSE Corporate Engagement Program, designed to strengthen the collaboration between private industry and higher education institutions.

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Credit: metamorworks / © 2023

Recently we announced the new EDUCAUSE Strategic Plan for the next three to five years. The result of months of planning in 2023, the 25th anniversary of our association, the plan is a powerful confluence of reflecting on our past and reimagining our future.

Full details can be found in an earlier EDUCAUSE Review article.Footnote 1 There is one important part of the plan that I’m particularly keen to dive into more deeply: Influence the evolution of the higher education technology market to better serve institutions and learners.

By finding new ways to amplify and elevate campus users' voices to press for more responsive higher education products and services, this priority offers benefits to both institutional and corporate members. It centers on empowering our members to make informed decisions about buying and using technology to achieve institutional goals. With the help of the EDUCAUSE Corporate Engagement Advisory Committee (CEAC), which includes both institutional and corporate members, we plan to create new opportunities to help our members navigate a dynamic marketplace that has become more crowded and complex.

Our aim is to provide solutions and innovative pathways that address the challenges arising from the intricate landscape of higher education products and services. We see an opportunity to help campus members influence development, for example, by connecting technology users who need products or services that haven't been created yet with suppliers who are willing to collaborate on pioneering results. This kind of influence can be intensified through deep and authentic partnerships built over time and based in mutual values, shared goals, transparency, and collaboration.

Custom-Built Partnerships

To cultivate these types of relationships, EDUCAUSE has created the new Corporate Engagement Program. The program is designed to strengthen the collaboration between private industry and higher education institutions—and evolve the higher education technology market. The new program will do so by taking the following actions:

  • Giving higher education professionals better access to corporate thought leaders who can help create change at their institutions
  • Educating corporate partners on the nuances of higher education and the major challenges it faces so that they can help provide meaningful solutions
  • Giving the EDUCAUSE staff and leadership better access to corporate change-makers in order to advocate for change on behalf of our institutional community
  • Providing the institutional community with higher-quality content and services from companies that are deeply invested in the success of higher education
  • Providing the corporate community with custom-built packages that allow more meaningful connections with the institutional community—not only at our in-person events but also through online opportunities year-round

By building better bridges between our corporate and institutional communities, we can help accelerate our shared mission of furthering the promise of higher education.

So, what can you expect in the new year and beyond as an institutional or corporate member of EDUCAUSE?

  • Collaborative Insights: Integrating industry thought leaders into signature research efforts (e.g., the EDUCAUSE Top 10, EDUCAUSE Horizon Reports) and professional development opportunities (e.g., the EDUCAUSE Executive Leaders Academy, EDUCAUSE Leadership Series) to bring forth cutting-edge insights and solutions for the entire community
  • Joint Problem-Solving: Connecting industry and higher education in problem-solving events, such as the new EDUCAUSE Annual Partner Summit, to allow a comprehensive approach to addressing critical challenges
  • Up-to-Date Industry Knowledge: Providing corporate partners with registrations to The Higher Ed Guide for the Corporate Community program and with exclusive syntheses of our key research findings to ensure that our industry community remains at the forefront of knowledge in the field
  • Exclusive Access: Reserving opportunities for corporate members to share insights on technology trends and best practices to enable our members to receive high-quality content from those industry colleagues who are invested in the success of higher education

Announcing Our First Corporate Partner

As we head into the new year, we're thrilled to announce our first partner in the new EDUCAUSE Corporate Engagement Program: Vantage Technology Consulting Group, our inaugural Strategic Partner. Vantage embodies the spirit of this endeavor, and as our exclusive partner for the EDUCAUSE Executive Leaders Academy, company representatives will be working closely with EDUCAUSE to build and strengthen the pipeline of technology professionals and leaders in higher education. Vantage and EDUCAUSE will also collaborate to address higher education challenges, share high-quality thought leadership, develop resources, bring members together, and build community.

A Shared Vision of Innovation

The ultimate goal? We want to bridge the gap between current needs and future innovations through partnership-based innovation. Strong partnerships forged over time can pave the way for institutional technology users to influence product development, driving solutions tailored to their needs.

We envision a transformative higher education landscape in which campus technology professionals and industry thought leaders meet challenges together and thrive through collaboration and resource-sharing.

Here's to the beginning of an extraordinary journey. Stay tuned for more updates.


  1. John O'Brien, “Introducing the New EDUCAUSE Strategic Plan,” EDUCAUSE Review, October 6, 2023.Jump back to footnote 1 in the text.

John O'Brien is President and CEO of EDUCAUSE.

© 2023 John O'Brien. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.