News from the Business Engagement Center: Business and Foundation Engagement initiative


The new Business and Foundation Engagement initiative will serve as the central point of entry for corporations and foundations that are interested in investments, partnerships and/or collaboration with UM-Dearborn.

Business and Foundation Engagement

In early 2017, Institutional Advancement (IA) began a six-month thoughtful process to assess the philanthropic landscape in an effort to engage in continuous improvement in business and foundation relations. This effort was important to improving services to our campus stakeholders and external constituents, while messaging the pockets of excellence represented across the campus community to our philanthropic partners. As a result, Institutional Advancement launched the Business and Foundation Engagement (B&FE) initiative to sustain and elevate the university as a relevant solution-driver in southeast Michigan and the nation. The mission of B&FE is to serve as the central point of entry for corporations and foundations that are interested in investments, partnerships and/or collaboration with UM-Dearborn.

Clarinda Harrison, executive director of B&FE, describes the new office’s mission and intent as better equipping the university’s corporate and foundation development professionals to deliver more seamless and accessible service to the students, faculty and staff, and to enhance our partnership ability with other important service-delivery arms on campus. The university’s strengths and expertise will be at the forefront of addressing our region and state’s most prominent issues, and the B&FE team will be better equipped to respond to those needs by matching funder interests with those of the faculty and staff across campus.

Ann Serra is now the director of foundation and corporate philanthropy, and her charge will be to co-lead the strategic efforts on campus, specifically focused on increasing fundraising capacity for the campus. While the new office will enhance UM-Dearborn’s ability to secure vital resources for UM-Dearborn, the Business Engagement Center will maintain its position as the primary relationship management team and partnership-broker between industry and the university.

Fiscal 2017 year end recap

During FY17, the Business Engagement Center in partnership with campus leaders achieved tremendous success in connecting industry to the campus for the purposes of talent engagement, applied research and unique philanthropic partnerships. Take a look at some of this year’s highlights!


  • Total Philanthropic Giving:  $737,213 - 51% growth from FY16
    (Corporate and Corporate Foundations)
  • Total BEC Meetings:  370  - 71% growth from FY16
  • Total number of students and faculty engaged in events facilitated by the BEC:
    Students: 571Faculty: 83
  • Michigan Corporate Relations Network - Talent grants awarded to small businesses in Michigan for hiring 11 students through the Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN) program totaled $38,500. Students from CECS, CASL and COB were afforded opportunities to work on STEM internships with an average wage of $14.50 per hour, working an average number of 34 hours per week.

Events and Corporate Engagement

Campus & community partners host the inaugural Career Readiness Workshop for eligible Optional Practical Training (OPT) students

More than 20 international students attended the Career Readiness and Optional Practical Training (OPT) Workshop last month to learn about the core competencies employers are searching for in qualified candidates. The Office of International Affairs, Global Talent Retention Initiative of Michigan (GTRI) and Fakhoury Law Firm partnered with the BEC for the event to aid international students in successfully transitioning into the workplace.

BEC hosts Hitachi for faculty matchmaker

On June 1, research and development personnel from Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas were on campus to hear research presentations from CECS faculty in an effort to align university expertise with their technology interests. Six faculty members presented on topics including cybersecurity, materials/manufacturing, vehicular networking, human-machine interface, stereo vision and augmented reality.

The BEC continues to facilitate engagement activities with representatives from Hitachi, in order to increase their presence on campus as both a research and talent acquisition partner.

Upcoming events

Automation Alley Tech Takeover
Date: Wednesday, August 30
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Location: Automation Alley - 2675 Bellingham, Troy, MI 48083

Join Automation Alley, CECS, the BEC and a panel of UM-Dearborn faculty and industry leaders from Ford Motor Co. for a Tech Takeover dedicated to security and privacy challenges, solutions and recommendations in the next generation of mobility. Register for the event online..

Topics will include:

  • An overview of the smart mobility trend
  • Security risks and privacy implications in the next generation of mobility era
  • Recent research advances in security and privacy protection

This session is intended for professionals working for automotive companies dealing with disruptive autonomous and connected vehicle technologies, novel mobility data-driven service providers, or anyone who will be impacted by such new technologies and services.


  • Di Ma, Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science, Founder of the Cybersecurity Center for Research, Education and Outreach, University of Michigan-Dearborn,
  • Pramita Mitra, Mobility Research Engineer, Ford Research and Innovation Center
  • Brahim Medjihed, Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science, University of Michigan-Dearborn
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