Strengthening Ties with University of Delaware: Kendal Collaborations

It has been about a year since The Kendal Corporation office relocated to the FinTech building on the University of Delaware’s STAR campus. This move symbolizes how The Kendal Corporation has deepened the organization’s commitment to university connections, recognizing Kendal Affiliate’s longtime history of university-connected retirement living across the nation.

Kendal partnerships with the University of Delaware help pave the way for innovation, growth, and a platform to share knowledge, skills, and insights.  This collaboration aims to promote research and development of innovative practices to enhance the effectiveness of Kendal Affiliate operations and enhance the quality of life of older adults. The goal is to foster interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of Delaware, The Kendal Corporation and Kendal Affiliates.

As Director of Outreach and Engagement, The Kendal Corporation’s Diane Massey facilitates much of this collaboration with cross-department and System-wide connections.

Recent collaborations have strengthened Kendal’s ties with the University of Delaware in several ways.

  • SPIN-In

The Kendal Corporation submitted a project to the University of Delaware’s Spin-In program. Spin In® is an experiential learning program to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in the student community.  It aims to provide opportunities for the community to connect with the faculty, scientists, professionals, and students. Steve Bailey, KCorp’s Chief Strategy Officer, is the lead for our first Spin-in project that will focus on University-Based Life Plan Communities.

The program utilizes University assets and partnerships to provide interdisciplinary teams of students with unique opportunities to solve real-world business problems within a real-world entrepreneurial start-up environment. Working with The Kendal Corporation and some partner organizations, students will analyze the feasibility of an imagined senior living option on the University of Delaware campus and develop a concept plan for a prototype UBRC informed by market research.  In future semesters, Kendal and the UD students intend to work together through the elements of design, financing, construction and operation of a university-based retirement community.

Spin IN Program
  • Basics of Business Research Freshmen Seminar

KCorp has identified the University of Delaware’s Lerner College of Business and Economics as an opportunity to make a difference in the student experience and explore business concepts and research that may be helpful to an Affiliate or System as a whole. Diane Massey facilitates partnerships for the class seminars, where business research is taught to first-year students while utilizing real-life questions asked by businesses and, in this case, Kendal.

The partnership provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn business research from professionals in our field, while Kendal benefits from the hard work and analysis students engage in. Three seminars are currently underway for the fall semester.

KCorp – Basics of Business Research Freshmen Seminar (The Kendal Corp’s Diane Massey leads). Students will examine volunteerism and community service. They will help answer how to encourage employees in an organization to engage in company-sponsored volunteer or community service projects.

KaH – Basics of Business Research Freshmen Seminar (Kendal at Hanover’s Jodi Hoyt & Tyler Minnick lead). Students will examine what would be the ideal workplace to attract, retain and engage each of the five generations active in the workforce. This may include an investigation into types of benefits, flexibility desired, compensation models, preferred communication tools and new training methods.

KaO – Basics of Business Research Freshmen Seminar (Kendal at Oberlin’s Stacy Scott Terrell leads). Students will explore the potential use of various assistive technologies to maintain a home-like environment while enhancing safety for older adults and successful aging. Examples include smart home technologies, fall prevention and detection, voice command devices and silent alarm and alert devices.

  • Vital Aging Summit

KCorp’s VP of Health Services, Lisa Holloway, is a planning committee member for the Vital Aging Summit. Expected to take place in January 2024, the event brings gerontologists, innovators, and entrepreneurs together to discuss new technologies and innovations focused on aging populations.

  • Computer and Information Sciences Advisory Council

Kurt Rahner, KCorp’s VP of Information Technology, serves as a Computer and Information Sciences industry advisory council member along with other businesses such as Google, Amazon and Intel to help support the academic community’s IT innovation and curriculum. Membership on the council helps connect Kendal to IT professionals and ideas that may be helpful to the organization, as well as provide insight as to what skills employers are seeking from candidates and how the curriculum may be altered to help fill skill gaps.

  • Executive Mentoring

Steve Bailey is KCorp’s first mentor for the Lerner Business School’s Executive Mentoring program. The partnership is an excellent opportunity for Kendal leaders to share their knowledge and experience and expose students to the senior living and older adult services field, creating a spark for future leaders.

Steve is currently a mentor to Grace Marburger, a University of Delaware junior pursuing a degree in Operations Management.

  • LeadingAge Student Summer Intern

Rachel Boliver recently completed a successful paid summer internship with KCorp’s Innovation, Growth and Impact team. Diane Massey facilitated this internship in partnership with the LeadingAge Summer Enrichment Program, designed to provide leadership opportunities for students in aging services.

Rachel is a University of Delaware senior working toward a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology.  Her work included learning more about each of the roles at the organization, gathering and compiling information about sustainability projects from around the system, identifying senior living communities around the state of Delaware, and working directly with the IGI team on project management and new business development.

  • DSI & AI Hack-a-thon and Symposium
hackathon image

A joint Kendal and UD student team, “The Kendal Transformers” recently received an award at a day-long data science symposium on September 22. The Kendal Corporation (Kurt Rayner, Jason Eldridge and Ted Kirkpatrick) and students from the University of Delaware (UD) formed a tech-savvy team to compete in this year’s Data Science Institute (DSI) and AI Center of Excellence (AICoE) at the University of Delaware Hackathon.  The KCorp team worked directly with UD Masters and Ph.D. level students to digest and look for meaningful insights from the RAND Health and Retirement Study (HRS) data depository from the University of Michigan.  This is the start of looking at how data can help inform decisions across Kendal and improve health outcomes for Kendal residents/members and all older adults.

Just The Beginning

The Kendal Corporation’s collaboration with the University of Delaware provides a platform for sharing knowledge, skills, and insights through class work, mentorship, internships, and research, resulting in what we hope will be a symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship.

By deepening its commitment to the university connection, The Kendal Corporation seeks to utilize these connections to create a bridge between academia, senior living, and services for older adults and enhance Kendal’s efforts to transform the experience of aging©.