In today's globally and technologically interconnected world, old models of competition have become obsolete. Once segregated sectors of society are now, by virtue of economic necessity, seeking out new ways to collaborate and partner.
While Union will continue to occupy a distinctive educational niche, it continually seeks opportunities to work with other organizations to maximize efficiencies and provide opportunities to students that would be impossible without such partnerships. President Ainlay is committed to enhancing Union' s relationships with other educational institutions as well as with local and regional community, corporate and non-profit organizations.
Union has long been an active member in the Commission of Independent Colleges and Universities. President Ainlay is committed to further enhancing the College relationship with other independent schools, especially the fine collection of liberal arts colleges in the State of New York, six of whom formed a consortium known as the New York Six. Through the sharing of expertise and resources, the Consortium enhances options for students, faculty, and staff, while reducing member colleges' individual and collective costs. The consortium has already collaborated on a number of areas, including organizing a conference of diversity and multicultural leaders and negotiating discounts on common purchases such as residence hall furniture.
Union is also a member of Union University, comprised of Union College, Union Graduate College, Albany Medical College, Albany Law School, Albany College of Pharmacy, and the Dudley Observatory of the City of Albany. Through Union University, Union College students have access to additional joint degree and advanced degree programs. The College is also building upon its robust relationship with Hobart and William Smith Colleges by exploring new international study opportunities, while research partnerships with entities such as Albany Nanotech and the Albany Medical Center give Union students access to expertise, equipment, and funding for cutting-edge research.
The College also continues to pursue professional development opportunities, such as those with Skidmore and Hamilton, that have been generously supported by the Mellon Foundation. And we will continue to seek opportunities to share resources with other institutions in an effort to add value to the education we offer. Our library partnerships with entities such as the Oberlin Group and the Westchester Academic Library Directors Organization (WALDO) and our membership in the Adirondack Research Consortium are good examples.
Students have provided important leadership in the area of community partnerships by establishing the Union-Schenectady Alliance, which places Union students on boards of local organizations. And through our Kenney Community Center, students take an active role in community-based learning opportunities such as income tax assistance programs for local residents, tutoring and mentoring opportunities, and initiatives supporting the Schenectady City Mission.
Corporate and Non-Profit Partnerships
Our accomplished alumni are the basis for longstanding relationships with such prestigious corporations as IBM, General Electric and others. On the IBM side, for example, the College has only scratched the surface of the possibilities that can come from working with a global technology leader. In spring of 2011, a new Intelligent Computing Cluster donated by IBM was installed at Union, giving the College the greatest computing power of any undergraduate liberal arts college in the nation. This advanced tool gives us the chance to demonstrate what can be done in teaching and research within our sector. At the same time, IBM’s “Smarter Planet” initiative, interdisciplinary in nature, provides many potential local applications and has also led to global internship opportunities for our students. And on a recent visit to campus, senior executives from General Electric expressed their desire to enhance the GE/Union partnership.
Union also continues to seek ways of working with corporate and non-profit organizations to develop common projects and provide work and/or research experience for students. For instance, Union has a relationship with SuperPower and Cardomag in Schenectady, and has partnered with Habitat for Humanity, introducing a campus chapter of the organization. President Ainlay is committed to expanding such collaborations in the years ahead.