N.Y. Plans a College Database

Public and private colleges would be asked to pool resources for Web portal.
August 16, 2006

New York State's Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities and the State University of New York announced a partnership on Tuesday to create an online portal intended to give businesses access to information about academic research and enable college students to search for internships and jobs in New York State.

Project developers said they hope the portal stimulates the state economy by fostering partnerships between businesses, nonprofit organizations and private and public institutions. Companies would be able to search the site for research on a particular topic and find a professor who specializes in that field. Institutions that are members of CICU or that are part of SUNY -- about 175 between the two -- would be asked to provide relevant resources.

Abraham M. Lackman, president of CICU, said developers are still discussing what kind of information about the faculty research would be available -- anything from basic contact information to lengthy abstracts.

“We want to make our experts available to the business community,” said John R. Ryan, chancellor of the SUNY system.

Added Lackman: “You hear about town-gown issues. This is an effort to break those barriers.” The portal would be free and open to the public.

Students could also search the database for job or internship listings. Lackman said Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) has asked for a system in which New York companies and agencies can more efficiently recruit students and retain graduates of colleges in the state.

“[Clinton] was struck by the disconnect between the information that flows from college campuses and the business community,” Lackman said. "We do a good job attracting students to our colleges, which is the first half of the equation. What are we doing to keep them here? The portal is the concrete answer to that question.”

Lackman said he is unaware of other states that have attempted a similar project of pooling academic research from public and private colleges. No Web site exists yet for the project, and developers said they are still searching for possible vendors. They are aiming to have the portal running next year.

New York State Sen. Dean G. Skelos led the effort to free up $2.5 million in the state budget for the portal project.


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