One of the biggest problems with universities is their disconnect from existing world problems. Academics can spend enormous resources to study or teach about issues that are marginally-relevant to existing social problems.
As one remedy, I propose that the federal government establish a fund for recognized members of the private sector to take sabbaticals at universities. The recipients would be expected to teach 1-2 courses, assist with research or prepare publications, an conduct seminars in their area of specialty. The resulting interactions are expected to foster an exchange of viewpoints and better understanding of relevant issues.