President’s Blog – December 2021

December 20, 2021
A photograph of masked students working in a studio on computers and paper

A Year of Collaboration

As I pause to reflect on this transformative year, several important themes have surfaced, some precipitated by the pandemic and others catalyzed by our current strategic plan. One that has been on my mind a lot has been collaboration – within our own departments and with outside companies, nonprofits and other educational entities. This movement towards collaboration is critical to the success of much of higher education and especially CCS. 

Collaboration with external organizations brings new viewpoints, resources and opportunities to our campus community. For many years, our classrooms and educational partnerships have provided an important example of this kind of collaboration – with other departments within the college and with outside organizations. From BFA and graduate students working with Unreal Engine to photography and communication design students collaborating with the Detroit Historical Society, educational partnerships not only mimic the real world but also provide students with important industry and cross-departmental connections. 

This semester alone, we had a dozen such partnerships inside our classrooms. Departments like Community Arts Partnership, International Student Services Office, and Design Core Detroit brought their external partnerships to create new learning opportunities for students outside of the classroom.

And we went deeper through a new partnership with Oakland University to engage in their new Augmented Reality Center. This collaboration will increase our faculty and student exposure to the engineering side of augmented reality, but also raise awareness of the skills and perspectives creative disciplines bring to the success of this technology.  

External collaboration also leads to new students for our institution. Admissions and Pre-College and Continuing Studies have long developed these kinds of relationships. This year CCS also deepened its collaboration with DesignConnect to create and teach more design curriculum to Detroit high school students and the Michigan Design Council to support their K-12 statewide design competitions. 

I am especially excited about the opportunities that will result from our collaboration with PENSOLE Design Academy to develop a joint venture to bring back the Lewis College of Business as PENSOLE Lewis College of Business and Design at CCS. While the details are still developing, this collaboration will lead to unprecedented opportunities in design careers for students of color.  

Collaborating internally is just as important as collaborating externally. Working together, we can better leverage existing resources and talents to support our goals. A great example of this is how Facilities and IT worked together to recover from the flooding this past summer. Another is how Corporate Relations and Career Services came together to become the Office of Partnerships. Yet another is how all of the academic departments, IT, and the new Office of Educational Technology & Innovation worked together to implement Canvas, our new learning management system. 

There are so many more examples I could have mentioned, but all of these successful collaborations are marked by shared goals and mutual respect for what each partner is bringing to the collaboration. No matter what we do, these are important concepts to keep in mind as we look to 2022 and find even more ways to move forward with our shared strategic priorities