Connecting our campus to our communities

By Arthur Smith on July 2, 2018

The Division of Innovation & Applied Research renamed to Division of Strategic Partnerships & Applied Research

On July 1, 2018, the Division of Innovation and Applied Research was officially renamed the Division of Strategic Partnerships & Applied Research. The new name more closely aligns with the Division’s work as well as the current goals and initiatives of Towson University.

The new name builds upon the Division's strong foundation in applied research and creates new pathways for the Division to expand strategic partnerships across Maryland.

One of six administrative divisions, the Division of Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research is the business and public engagement arm of Towson University. The eight teams that make up the Division open the university’s doors to solve pressing problems, further community collaboration, expand learning opportunities and generate economic development.

“Our Division really does set our campus apart from others throughout the region,” said Daraius Irani, vice president for the Division. “The Division’s relationships and connectivity to agencies and individuals across Maryland helps to advance TU’s role as an economic engine.”

The Division’s History

While the Division's name has changed multiple times, its commitment to the Towson University community and the state of Maryland is unwavering.

In January 2004, then TU President Robert Caret created the Division of Economic & Community Outreach to further TU's role as a premier metropolitan university. The Division combined already existing centers, including the Regional Economic Studies Institute and the Center for GIS, into a single division. The Division's charge was to provide a focus for engagement with the external community and to provide a path into TU's research and project talent. James Clements served as the Division's first vice president.

Under the leadership of President Maravene Loeschke, the Division was renamed the Division of Innovation & Applied Research in December 2012. During this period, Vice President Dyan Brasington led the Division with a focus on innovation, business incubation, and problem solving as they related to workforce and economic development issues.

“The Division is positioned to lead the way by doing what we do, and have always done, exceptionally well—putting the knowledge and resources of Towson University to work for the communities it serves,” Irani said.

The Division’s Work

The Division of Strategic Partnerships & Applied Research leverages the combined expertise of its 70+ person team to strengthen Maryland's communities and address opportunities and challenges. Strategic partnerships create engagement and enrichment opportunities for individuals and organizations to support TU’s longstanding commitment to serving Greater Baltimore’s business, nonprofit, and government sectors.

  • The Center for GIS (CGIS) empowers clients with GIS technology and solutions through data development and analysis, application design and development, and training.
  • Continuing Education jump-starts careers through professional certification courses that address critical skill gaps in high growth industries.
  • IT Services provides secured cloud and managed hosting services. Some of the most visible public facing web sites in Maryland have been developed and are hosted in our data center.
  • Leadership and Organizational Development designs and delivers customized courses and programs that strengthen capacity building at the individual, team, and organizational level.
  • The Office of Partnerships & Outreach manages the presidential priority BTU—Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore and provides communications and convening support to faculty and staff as well as external partners.
  • The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute provides continued learning and cultural enrichment through academic and social programs for adults, age 50 and older.
  • The Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) is the leading expert on Maryland’s economy and provides economic and policy analysis services across the region.
  • Venture Creation induces regional economic development through mission-driven business incubation via TU Incubator

Connect with the Division

Since 2008, the Division of Strategic Partnerships & Applied Research has maintained a blog that highlights people, projects, and solutions that strengthen Maryland's communities and address opportunities. As the Division’s name has changed, so has the blog. Today, the blog can be read at and includes viewpoints from guest bloggers from across campus.

The Division of Strategic Partnerships & Applied Research has also redeveloped and reorganized its website to bring more focus to the unique solutions it provides. The Division’s social media outlets have also been renamed with a focus on highlighting partnerships across the region. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.