Osu Forms New Institute for Economic Development

Article excerpt

Economic Development is being formed at Oklahoma State University's Center for International Trade Development (CITD) as part of a restructuring of existing resources, said John R. Campbell, university president.

"The institute is designed to bridge the gap between researchers and the business community," said Campbell, who created the plan. "I am trying to add another dimension to CITD by bridging the gap between researchers and the business community."

A new vice president for university relations and public affairs is expected to be hired by July to oversee the new institute's operations. As chief administrative officer of the institute, the vice president will work with Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the Oklahoma Legislature and alumni to develop leadership policies, and bring university programs, particularly in the colleges of business and engineering to the attention of the public.

To bring focus to existing programs at the university, the new vice president will oversee the three directors of the institute, university extension and public service and communication services.

An independent lay board of advisors to the institute will also be formed with 50 percent local business people and 50 percent representatives of multi-national corporations, such as Kerr-McGee Corp. and Conoco Inc., Campbell said.

Assisting new and existing small businesses in Oklahoma is one of Campbell's biggest goals, he said.

"Many small businesses frequently don't have the expertise to put together a business and marketing plan and strategy to get their product out," he said. "Thomas Edison was a terrible business person. If he had a plan, he might have owned the world."

While new technology is published in the school journals, Campbell said we now have the obligation to transfer the technology into the business community to create jobs and expand the tax base.

"Research is the well spring from which new technology emerges," he said.

Since taking office last summer, Campbell said he has visited 30 communities in Oklahoma all who are reaching out for assistance in creating new jobs.

"My responsibility as the president of a publicly supported university is to help create those jobs," he said. …