By: Hailey Temple

Syracuse University and IBM’s System z Academic Initiative co-hosted the zEnterprise Summer Seminar at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) earlier this month.

This three-day seminar, held June 3 – 5, brought together IBM employees and college educators from across North America to review major trends in enterprise computing education. The seminar included a variety of sessions and lab exercises focused on improving enterprise systems curricula at schools across the nation. Topics included virtualization, mainframes, big data, and master data management.

In addition to learning key IT curriculum trends, educators also had the opportunity to meet with employers from various industries to understand what skills and demands their company’s require of young enterprise computing professionals. Companies in attendance included Bank of New York-Mellon, Fidelity, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, and Vanguard.

As Syracuse University’s director of Global Enterprise Technology and Systems and Information Science, David Dischiave saw the seminar as an opportunity to share the iSchool’s knowledge and technology with others.

“The IBM Summer Seminar was a great opportunity to have educators and professionals take part in these essential exchanges and to show the efforts we are making at the iSchool to ensure students graduate prepared to solve large-scale commercial problems. We were happy to work with IBM and hope to continue this relationship for future seminars,” said Dischiave.

The zEnterprise Summer Seminar also provided an update on IBM’s Academic Initiative activities for 2013. The IBM Academic Initiative works with high schools and universities around the world to assist with enterprise systems education and provides access to IBM technology for educational use. This year, IBM Academic Initiative continues to drive programs that connect the academic and business communities. Their updated initiatives include:

  • University profiles with detailed data that are accessible for professionals
  • Secondary education pilot program with learning modules for introductory education about enterprise systems
  • Contests and programs that engage students interested in enterprise technology
  • Enterprise system faculty skills education; including workshops, group conferences and live virtual classes

Kathy Pfeiffer, IBM Academic Initiative program manager, sees the positive impact the updates hold for educators, professionals, and students. “These initiatives will help students develop valuable enterprise system skills starting at the high school level and extending beyond graduation into the job market. Connecting educators and industry benefits students by helping them learn valuable skills that align with business needs. ”

As enterprise technology continues to evolve and develop, Pfeiffer also sees the need for continuous collaboration among educators and with industry professionals. Although this is the first time Syracuse University has hosted IBM’s Summer Seminar, Pfeiffer hopes these interactions continue to strengthen beyond the event. .

Since the iSchool began developing its enterprise technology program in 2006, educators have been working closely with IBM to develop a curriculum that prepares students for post-graduation positions in enterprise technology. John Turcheck, department head of Computer and Information Systems at Robert Morris University, was impressed with the breadth of knowledge and technology available at the iSchool. “After hearing from Dean Liddy and learning more about the iSchool’s focus on enterprise technology, I am definitely impressed by what they do and their hands-on approach to teaching information technology.”

For more information about the IBM Academic Initiative, visit or send an email to You can also reference the seminar information and session materials on the GET website.