Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The John Carroll "Mafia"

Our blogging friend Steve Goldberg, noting the startling collection of John Carroll-affiliated folk who seem to be everywhere throughout Northeast Ohio's web, business, entrepreneurial and related circles, recently referred to this cohort as "the John Carroll Mafia." And a mafia it is, in all the best senses of that term: a densely connected, loving extended network--a family, really--of people who look out for each other and do business with one another and stay in touch with and learn from each other for life.
And so I was especially pleased to notice late last week that our alma mater finally has a handsome new home page on the web. It's just graphically appealing enough to catch the eye, and it's nicely organized to channel visitors into one of four funnels: prospective students, current students, alumni & friends and the ever-present FSA (faculty, staff and administration).
Those of us who have an interest in these things could regale you with stories we've heard throughout the years about various stop-and-start efforts to improve the school's web presence, at least bringing it up to the 20th century before we worry about the 21st. More contractors, would-be contractors than you can shake a stick at have pitched the work, done some of it, and gotten nowhere. Now, finally, we seem to have broken through this seemingly never-ending logjam and into some meaningful web presence. It ought to only improve from here.
One small problem, though: I still can't seem to find anywhere on the site a link to the university's quarterly magazine, and the antiquated search engine (hope they're working on that, too) doesn't help either. I admit to a special bias here: I once edited the mag, and though I left my baby to other hands almost exactly 10 years ago, I continue to think of it as almost my own.
And there's more pleasing symmetry here: I've now written my first major piece for the mag since I edited it, and it's just come out this week--a long (one would hope not dull) piece on what I would consider a real revolution for JCU: the John Carroll Collaboration with Industry, ushered in (in part) by the new Dolan Center due to open this fall, but also pushed through vociferous faculty opposition by some courageous, visionary administration types who insist that universities in 2003 simply must meaningfully connect with their regions and economies if they're to have any hope of remaining relevant, let alone intellectually vital. And "tenured radicals" (to steal a nice line) stuck in a '60s time warp, oblivious to frivolous things like job markets facing their students, will simply have to get used to that.
What will be going on in that building, which should especially please our friend Jack Richiutto (author of the brilliant book "Collaborative Creativity"), is some really radical, provocative collaboration of the type that everyone should have had access to as a college student.
And finally, I feel really doubly blessed this week to be luckily positioned at the intersection of all of these exciting collaborations between business and academia in the region. I also have a piece just published in the new Cleveland Enterprise Magazine about the amazing scope of executive education going on at the CWRU Weatherhead School, in the new Peter B. Lewis building. I spent the month of November late last year mostly camped out in that building, not long after it opened, talking to students, professors, administrators and others, trying to put my arms around all the unbelievable energy and initiative going on there. Then I tracked down a few students who had come from overseas for Weatherhead classes, and did email interviews with folks from Mexico City, Japan and New Zealand. The results are in the new issue of Cleveland Enterprise, little of which is on the web. But we'll see if we can't somehow soon engineer links to these two stories about the lively things happening at the intersection of universities and the economy.


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