NEWS FROM....KULPER & COMPANY SPECIAL Edition University Tech Transfer and Online Higher Ed 1
Special Edition: Technology Transfer and Online Higher Ed
February 19, 2014
KULPER & COMPANY….where academia meets corporate innovation
Our firm focuses on completing senior level search assignments for universities and companies. We enthusiastically work at the intersection of universities that create new knowledge through their research efforts and with companies that operate at the forefront of innovation. We are a retained search firm; exclusively serving clients--- hiring organizations---to help them qualify and attract proven talent to help drive growth and development. We strive to continually improve every element of our service capability and take pride in listening and responding in creative and highly individualized ways to best serve our clients.
NEWS FROM…KULPER & COMPANY provides the members of our confidential contact network with an insider’s view of what we are working on or thinking about here at KULPER & COMPANY. Important trends are discussed by leading industry experts as well as by me, the founder and president of the firm. We welcome your feedback and ideas so please contact us.
University Tech Transfer
A key economic driver and multiplier made possible through the efforts of
dedicated inventor/innovators residing inside top universities and companies around the world.
The first contributor to this edition of NEWS FROM is Joseph P. Allen. Joe is perhaps best known for being one the key architects of the BAYH-DOLE ACT which is the enabling legislation that allows universities and companies to retain ownership of intellectual property they develop with the assistance of government agency funding. Joe is a member of AUTM the Association of University Technology Managers.
Joe Allen staffed the Bayh-Dole Act through Congress where he worked for Senator Birch Bayh. Later he developed and oversaw federal tech transfer policies at the U.S. Department of Commerce, served as Executive Director of Intellectual Property Owners, Inc, and as President of the National Technology Transfer Center before starting his consulting company Allen and Associates in 2008. Recently he co-chaired the White House Lab to Market Summit and chaired a panel on University-Industry R&D Partnerships for the Congressional Technology Transfer Caucus.
We are very grateful for this exclusive contribution Joe is making to this edition of NEWS FROM….
Joseph P. Allen
Allen and Associates
The Little Known Law That Drives US Innovation
By Joseph P. Allen
A law passed by a remarkable bipartisan partnership in a Congress as bitterly divided as the present one transformed the U.S. economy. It did so without creating any new bureaucracy and without adding to the deficit. It seems incredible that this contribution has largely gone unnoticed. Indeed, when the law is mentioned in the media more often than not it’s being criticized. Perhaps its adoption by other nations in order to challenge our lead in technology development is the best evidence of its effectiveness.
The law in question is the Bayh-Dole Act. Here’s how the Economist Technology Quarterly characterized it:
Possibly the most inspired piece of legislation to be enacted in America over the past half century was the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980… More than anything, this simple policy helped to reverse America’s precipitous slide into industrial irrelevance.
The federal government is the prime supporter of university research, costing approximately $40 B annually. Academic research is where most of the basic research in the US is conducted and where breakthrough technologies creating new industries are most likely to occur. Yet the government does not fund commercial development of the resulting inventions, which are very early stage, more like ideas than products. Such development costs many times what the government spent on the initial research, easily taking 5-7 years for many discoveries-- and more than twice that long for new drugs. Obviously, this is a high risk endeavor for any company assuming this burden. And before passage of the Bayh-Dole Act, that was rarely done.
The reason was simple. Prior to 1980 government policies dictated that any invention made with federal funding was taken from the contractor or grantee by the funding agency. There was no incentive for the inventor to remain engaged in development, and no ability for any developing company to protect its investment if it found a discovery it wanted to commercialize. The result was that 28,000 federally funded inventions were wasting away on the shelves of the bureaucracy, benefitting no one.
Senators Birch Bayh (D-IN) and Robert Dole (R-KS) didn’t agree on much, but they did agree that such a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars should end. As they looked into the situation they discovered that not a single new drug had ever been commercialized when the government took the invention away from a university. Just as bad, industry was rightly afraid to work with universities because even if the government funded a small percentage of the research it could take away any resulting inventions.
The remarkable partnership of Senators Bayh and Dole as well as the compelling story they had to tell led to the enactment of their bill. It allows universities and small companies to own inventions made with federal funding. The university can license the invention for commercial development and use any resulting royalties to reward its inventors, to pay for more research, or to offset technology transfer expenses. The federal government retains the right to use the discoveries for its own purposes. The impact of the new law was immediate.
University research soon led to the creation of the US biotechnology industry. Spin out companies began driving the new technology. Biotechnology companies still cluster around our research universities.
Today we have 153 new drugs and vaccines combating the ravages of disease world-wide because of Bayh-Dole. A recent study http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v32/n1/full/nbt.2785.html found that federally funded inventions were more likely to be classified as “high priority reviews” by the Food and Drug Administration because of their significant potential for treating patients than new drug applications from any other source.
A study on the impact of university patent licensing to the US economy http://www.bio.org/sites/default/files/Bio%20Economic%20Impact%202012%20June%2020.pdf found it contributed as much as $836 B to US gross domestic output while creating 3 million “person years of employment” between 1996-2010. That’s an average of 200,000 jobs per year. In a U.S. economy which only created 74,000 jobs in December, when 90 million Americans can’t find work, and where 40% of the jobs created in the last four years pay low wages, the value of Bayh-Dole should be evident.
Universities also created 10,000 companies under Bayh-Dole with 4,000 still operating. In 2012 there were 705 new academic start-ups launched in an otherwise lackluster economy-- up 5% from the previous year. These numbers don’t look too shabby in light of stories like the Wall Street Journal’s “The Venture Capital Secret: 3 Out of 4 Start-Ups Fail” orBusiness Insider’s “Dear Entrepreneurs: Here’s How Bad Your Odds of Success Are”
However, even with this documented success a word of caution. Technology commercialization is not for the impatient. It is certainly not a get rich quick scheme for universities. It’s more like planning for your retirement. You need to be in it for the long haul and find partners with high ethical values.
More importantly, under Bayh-Dole universities are stewards for the interests of the American taxpayer. They have done a remarkable job and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. In the Bible, good and faithful servants are frequently used as examples of ideal conduct. Thanks to the Bayh-Dole Act and its implementation by universities and their private sector partners, this stewardship of our investment in R&D allows the U.S. to remain the most innovative country in the world. That should not go unappreciated.
Online Higher Education:
An opportunity for universities and companies to
innovatively work together to meet educational needs of students
and lifelong learners and extend the brand of the university.
I am now pleased to share two articles written exclusively for inclusion in this edition of NEWS FROM….by two leaders in the field of online higher education. William Clements, VP & Dean at Norwich University writes about the impressive efforts in online learning he is leading for Norwich which has been offering online programs for close to 15 years. Bill’s article traces the growth and development of online education at Norwich. Jonathan Haber discusses the highlights of his incredible journey in pursuit of a free Bachelors degree---delivered entirely online over one year. His website http://degreeoffreedom.org/ is packed with valuable insights about online higher ed that will be of interest to university and corporate leaders alike. Jonathan’s book about his experience pursuing a free online Bachelor’s degree will be published by MIT Press this fall.
William Clements, Ph.D., Vice-President and Dean
College of Graduate and Continuing Studies
The higher education landscape has entered a period of significant change and reorientation perhaps not seen in many decades, prompted by a combination of a technology, regulatory, demographic, and market factors. While much discourse tends to characterize higher education as a homogenous entity there is in reality significant variation in the institutions that collectively comprise the sector as well as challenges each face. This article is written from the perspective of Norwich University, a small comprehensive institution with an almost 200 year history as the nation’s oldest private military college. (You can learn more about the history of Norwich University at www.norwich.edu.)
Norwich University presently enrolls 2,200 residential students on its campus in rural Vermont and another 1,400 in online programs through the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies. The creation of what are now nine online master’s and two (soon to be four) bachelor of science degree completion programs was an important step for the university in many ways, perhaps not fully recognized at the time the first online program was created in the late 1990s. Online programs have become an essential strategic element for Norwich by diversifying revenue streams, contributing new revenue, expanding the ability of the university as leader in producing graduates who serve the nation in military and civilian careers, and contributing to the academic vitality of the institution. The MBA and B.S. degree completion programs (Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis, and Criminal Justice) were recently recognized as top tier by U.S. News and World Report in the 2014 online program rankings
Norwich University is similar to many small, private universities facing challenges of increased operating costs, regulatory burdens, and the impact of demographic shifts to name but a few. A strategic decision was made more than a decade ago to reformulate an existing hybrid graduate program into a new model of fully online master’s programs with the MBA being the first program launched in 2002. This decision proved wise as the online higher education market was poised for growth in the 2000s and the portfolio of programs was expanded in areas consistent with existing campus-based undergraduate program strength such as military history, civil engineering, diplomacy and international relations, information assurance, and nursing to name a few. There were three programs that did not prove to be successful but the decision to organize the new online programs in a semi-autonomous unit of the university allowed for either quick closure or merger with an existing program. In the contemporary language of innovation, we were able to “fail fast and fail (relatively) cheap.”
In many respects timing is everything. Norwich University entered the online higher education market at a time of significant growth and was able to build enrollment from approximately 30 in its first program to over 1,400 during that period. The online higher education market has continued to evolve and is characterized by significantly more competition, increased regulation, and technological evolution, all of which may pose notable barriers to entry. A major contemporary challenge for institutions considering creating or expanding their online offerings is in being able to articulate the institutional brand and relevant market opportunities. Norwich University continues to evolve and re-invest in new programs and technology primarily because online higher education market continues to represent ongoing growth and innovation opportunities. As a long-time faculty member and Dean it is gratifying to see the university continually evolve and improve and, more importantly, adapt to the times as we have throughout our almost 200 year history.
Chief Learning Officer
Degree of Freedom
MOOCs, an acronym for Massive Open Online Courses, is a phenomenon college administrators have been trying to get their hands around for the last two years. While experiments in large-scale and open online learning have been going on in graduate programs of education since the late 2000s, it was the emergence of the companies Udacity, Coursera and edX that began offering online courses from some of the world’s best known colleges and universities for free that first put MOOCs front and center of a debate over the direction of higher education.
During 2012 (which New York Times declared “The Year of the MOOC”), the only question being asked of college leaders is when they planned to get onboard the MOOC bandwagon (or risk being left behind). But once legislators in California and Florida began pushing for this new form of learning to be granted immediate college-credit worthiness, skepticism – followed by an all-out anti-MOOC backlash – settled in by the end of 2013. During all this tumult, it was clear that additional perspectives were needed beyond those provided by MOOC boosters and critics, (many of whom had no direct experience with learning in a massive open environment).
That was why I started my Degree of Freedom project, a one-year experiment to see if it was possible to learn the equivalent of what a student would get from a four year BA program in just twelve months using only MOOCs and other forms of free learning. MOOCs were (and still are) most well known for their offerings in technical areas like computer science. But with the course catalogs of companies like Coursera and edX expanding into more and more disciplines, I decided to see if the new learning tools could provide me what I needed to earn my “degree” in a non-technology subject: philosophy. The project involved taking to completion eight courses every three months, courses which met the distribution and degree requirements of a traditional liberal arts university (like the one I attended in the 1980s where I earned a degree in chemistry). And, in addition to documenting my own experience and reflections on a daily blog, I also spent the year interviewing students, professors and leaders of MOOC organizations to facilitate a conversation around MOOCs that did not center solely on their potential as a replacement for traditional higher education. This turned out to be a valuable exercise since, by the time I “graduated” at the end of 2013, it was fairly clear that the audience for MOOCs was not 18-22 year olds looking for a low-cost alternative to a traditional college degree. Even before the aforementioned California and Florida legislation was shelved or watered down, programs offering actual (and inexpensive) college credit for MOOC courses attracted little to no interest from students. And as more data became available regarding who was taking courses from providers such as edX, it became clear that large majorities of learners were older and better educated than the traditional college cohort (70-80% of enrollees in most MOOC classes are over 25 with at least one degree).
I’ve been synthesizing these observations in a book that will be published by MIT Press in the fall of 2014. But college administrators considering what MOOCs mean for them now that we have gotten past the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” and are climbing out of a “Trough of Disillusionment” (two terms borrowed from the Gartner Group’s Hype Cycle regarding technology innovation) should think about the following:
(1) While MOOCs may someday find a home alongside traditional credit alternative programs such as AP or CLEP, they currently draw independent learners who better fit the profile of an extension school student (or simple “recreational” lifelong learner).
(2) For an independent learner (including me) MOOCs can provide college-level education, although not all MOOCs are equivalent in terms of scope or rigor, and most do not ask students to do as much work as they would do in an equivalent residential class
(3) For those most committed to the growth of MOOCs (such as Harvard and MIT – the co-founders of edX), these programs have always been about enhancing (rather than replacing) the residential experience while sharing the resources of the university with the wider world
This last point is vital since academics, administrators and policymakers thinking about what MOOCs mean for them should be considering MOOCs in the context of their overall vision for online learning, a vision that may include expansion of paid online education models, the use of online content to “flip” traditional classrooms (where recorded lectures are assigned as homework allowing the classroom to be used to facilitate expanded discussion and project work), as well as the desire to contribute to the education of those not fortunate enough to dwell within their ivied walls.
These articles seem to beg a few important questions for university administrators:
•What is your online higher ed strategy?
•What is the feedback about your current offerings indicate?
•Do you think you have the right leader driving online initiatives for your institution?
Thank you, Bill and Jonathan for your timely and thoughtful contributions to this issue of NEWS FROM….
A special “thank you” to KULPER Advisory Board Member, Jaime Lavalle Robertson, for encouraging and challenging me to explore the impact online higher education is having in the fields of higher education and business. Jaime is the founder of Zermatt Dusk a business consultancy focused on management consulting and advisory services to middle-market companies.
I have been participating in a terrific online course offered through the Harvard edX program entitled ChinaX Designed and delivered by renowned scholars, Professors Peter Bol and William Kirby, The course surveys the history of China and is delivered through a series of short, but comprehensive, video lectures illustrated with maps and artifacts from Harvard’s extensive collections. The course includes online forums and even regular “office hours”. If you are interested in learning how China became the economic and political giant it is today, take a look at ChinaX; you will be treated to a learning experience that is inspiring, illuminating and enjoyable. You will see for yourself how the transformation of higher education is being enabled by technology through the creation of exciting new educational pathways. Moreover, you will be privileged to “sit before” master lecturers, Dr Bol and Dr Kirby, and be challenged to think deeply about how China’s leaders and workers as well as its scientific, aesthetic and political thinkers have been profoundly changing the world for over 5,000 years.
SPECIAL TREAT: Jonathan Haber interviews the creator of ChinaX , Dr Peter Bol
NOW…for a few words about KULPER & COMPANY…
As a prominent KULPER Advisory Board Member once said to me:
“Keith, I hope you will give me a few minutes to let me tell you about my business….after all, we all must sell!” I gladly obliged my friend as I hope you will now oblige me. We are very proud of the work we are doing for our clients, hiring decision makers at top universities and companies, who are creating new knowledge, developing new products and making the world a better place.
Using any professional service requires forethought. What is your need and are you ready to move ahead? This is a key element for success. Here are a few ideas drawn from many years of experience to help you and your colleagues determine readiness for your next executive search.
Not yet ready:
Consensus is not yet reached among key hiring decision makers with respect to hired candidate job deliverables “by when” and how achievement of job deliverables support strategically important goals and objectives of the organization. There is insufficient clarity regarding the level of financial and human resources to be allocated to the hired candidate to support achieving the key performance indicators of the position. There is a lack of consensus among the hiring team members relative to required experience, specific attributes, proven problem solving accomplishments and leadership style of the hired candidate. The hiring team is not clear as to how candidate interviews should be conducted, what questions to ask, how to assess candidate responses and present the defining attributes of the opportunity to well qualified and motivated “A” level candidates who may be considering multiple career options.
Ready to go
There is consensus among the key decision makers that it is time to fill the position. Budget dollars have been set aside and approved by the CFO to support the planned initiatives of the hired candidate once he or she is on-board. There is solid agreement about what the hired candidate needs to accomplish “by when” in order to be judged a success by the hiring team and other key constituents. There is agreement among the key decision makers concerning compensation for the finalist candidate confirmed with market data from HR or other sources. The hiring team and decision makers are comfortable working with a professional search consultant and broadly understand what is involved in executing an effective national search.
As we all know, it is always better to “aim, before shooting”. An experienced search firm can help you and your colleagues prepare for a key outside search and then assure that the right candidate is selected.
We will be glad to speak with you and your associates in confidence about your hiring needs; please contact us.
Sloan A. Kulper, Denise M. Kenny-Kulper, Ed.D., Harvey M Kahalas, PhD, Dean, Stuart School of Business, Illinois Institute of Tech with Keith D. Kulper
It is the Year of the Horse…so, if you are celebrating Chinese New Year with friends and family, Happy New Year! In the northeast and many parts of the US we have been treated to—or afflicted by—a series of snow storms and subfreezing temperatures. The cross country skiing is excellent but we are glad that this won’t last much longer….spring is going to be particularly welcome this year!
What’s going to be happening with the economy in 2014?
…..always worth pondering.
With interest rates being kept at all-time lows by incoming Fed Chair, Janet Yellen, it seems clear that economic expansion will continue to inexorably gain momentum. Our slow motion recovery---maddeningly deliberate though it is---will help us avoid some excesses of the past. There are always new excesses…or new takes on old excesses, but Fed Chair Yellen has made it clear that she intends to maintain stimulative monetary policy even as she gradually trims quantitative easing policy initiatives begun by her predecessor. At year end 2013, the DOW was 16,504.29…an all-time record. Because the stock market is predictive of future economic trends this should be good news for 2014 despite the recent January downdraft, punk job growth, ongoing political machinations, bad weather and the like. As Chairman Bernanke heads off to his new job at the Brookings Institution he joins the pantheon of Fed leaders whose policies and actions will be studied and debated for many years to come. Chairman Bernanke’s brilliant use of every “club in the bag”…and the creation of a few new ones, too… helped avert an economic depression for our country; and for that we can all be very grateful.
During the 1920s there was insufficient understanding of what actions the FED could and should have taken when the stock market crashed and employment soared to unprecedented levels throughout the country. Remember all the hand wringing about the bailout of GM? Was it right or wrong for our government to help them and the other domestic automakers at that time? What about the banks? History will be the final judge. As a child of Depression Era parents I heard the stories first hand from them as to how tough it really was during the 1930s and throughout WWII. The good times didn’t start for them until the late 1940s after my dad completed his college degree on the GI Bill while working a full time job to support my mom and my brother; I didn’t come along until a few years later. As scholars continue to study the events that led to the meltdown of 2008, we will perhaps achieve a better understanding of what really happened and which actions were most critical to bringing us back from the brink.
Time for my predictions for 2014: I believe that the DJIA should increase by about 10% by year end 2014, which means about 1,500 points above where it is now. Hiring conditions will remain tepid but unemployment should ease to close to 6%; GDP will be around 3.25-3.5% What used to take 5 people to accomplish—even in an office—is now done by 1 or 2. This trend will only keep accelerating in the days ahead. Repetitive/drudge jobs will increasingly be done by machines in the years ahead…AI (Artificial Intelligence) will usher in robots to assist the elderly, clean our houses and make our lives easier. We will need to cognizant that one day the machines themselves will become “self-aware”, hopefully, not in the same way seen in the Terminator series of movies! While I prefer not to think that one day my grandchild might somehow be viewed as the less intelligent life form ----by the very machines we humans are now rushing to build---I think that day will come to pass. Learning what we need to know to become productive members of society will become ever more vital; higher education will continue to provide the toolkit for people everywhere to ready themselves by learning to think critically, analyze and solve problems and communicate effectively.
Back to 2014…. because of the “blow back” from recent political excesses that culminated in the government shutdown, Congress is behaving somewhat more rationally; the federal debt ceiling was raised to keep funding the government. Also, it is somewhat reassuring to know that we finally have a federal budget in place for the first time in years. This will help assure continued funding of agencies like NIH, DOE, FCC, FTC and others, that support research completed by universities and companies to drive innovation. The coming mid-term elections will be very interesting. Congressional and Senate seats up for grabs could produce a shift in Congressional majorities; this bears watching. Overall, I believe that 2014 is going to be a solid year of growth for our economy.
BIG DATA New developments in the field of “Big Data” will help drive economic growth in unprecedented ways across many industries. Software platforms currently being deployed by established and emerging players like IBM, SAP, Tableau, Aspen and Palantir are making it much easier for decision makers to gain valuable, timely insights from information residing on multiple data bases as well as in real time social media platforms. Finding that “needle in the haystack” has gotten much easier and less costly. Ask your head of marketing: “Can you show me how we are currently using Big Data platforms to help refine our marketing initiatives?”
Bottom line: new Big Data software platforms will enable your organization to gain increased competitive advantage through speedier/more accurate decision making using predictive and prescriptive analysis. Significant strides in personalized medicine are now becoming possible. Here is a link to a recently published FDA Report worth reviewing: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ScienceResearch/SpecialTopics/PersonalizedMedicine/UCM372421.pdf
KULPER & COMPANY Initiatives
In our firm we have successfully developed a support team of experienced professionals who work with us here on specific search assignments. I match support team members with the hiring background need for each search. For example, a former university CFO, steeped in IT systems, assisted with candidate qualification and other key elements of a search for a university registrar. The results were terrific; our colleague very effectively utilized his deep operational and managerial experience to help assess candidate technical and leadership ability. Our clients were delighted. We will conduct more of our searches like this in 2014 and the years ahead.
We heard the news that Derek Jeter will be retiring at the end of the 2014 season after 20 years in a Yankee uniform; it had to happen someday, but baseball fans everywhere will miss the Yankee “Captain” after this season which hopefully will conclude with the Yankees’ 28th World Series Championship!
A few final words:
It is always nice to conclude with some news about what is happening with us in the Kulper family. Our son, Sloan A. Kulper, announced his engagement to Gahyee Tsui during 2013; the young couple will marry in Hong Kong this summer. We are excited about this wonderful news and look forward to a terrific wedding celebration. Sloan is currently completing a PhD at The University of Hong Kong where he is being advised by Professor William Lu. Sloan’s research deals with "A Novel Anti-leakage System for the Treatment and Prevention of Osteoporotic Fractures" ( of the spine). Our daughter, Kendall A. Kulper will be coming out with her first book this fall; it is entitled Salt & Storm; Little Brown is the publisher. Her book is a fictional work intended for young adult readers and portrays the life of a young girl living on an island similar to Martha’s Vineyard during the whaling days of the mid 19th c.
I hope that you and your family are doing well. It is a pleasure to hear from each one of you; I respond to every email I receive. If your company or university is contemplating a key search please contact us; I will be glad to listen, offer advice/counsel and be your guide in your search for a key leader.
Wishing you all the best,