Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus convallis sem tellus, vitae egestas felis vestibule ut.

Error message details.

Reuse Permissions

Request permission to republish or redistribute SHRM content and materials.

What a Corporate University Is and Is Not

April Cover“There is a general lack of understanding of what a corporate university is,” says Mark Allen, Ph.D., a professor at Pepperdine University. “It is not a place, a building or a gimmick. A corporate university is an educational entity that is a strategic tool designed to assist its parent organization in achieving its mission by conducting activities that cultivate individual and organizational learning, knowledge, and wisdom.”

Here are differences between …

A corporate university and a training department. “A training department is tactical or operational, whereas a corporate university is positioned at a strategic level. A good training program helps you do your job better. A corporate university helps the organization achieve its mission,” Allen says.

A corporate university and a traditional university. Traditional universities conduct scientific research and grant degrees in a variety of disciplines. Corporate universities focus primarily—though not exclusively—on on-the-job skills, company-specific proprietary knowledge and branding, and certification. “At a corporate university, you are focusing on learning that will benefit the organization, not just the individual,” Allen says.

The author is a freelance writer and former HR generalist and trainer in Wixom, Mich.


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.