Commission on Economic & Community Engagement


The Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE) is facilitated by APLU’s Office of International, Community, and Economic Engagement (ICEE), both of which were established to lead and coordinate APLU’s mission pillar of “expanding engagement.”

CECE convenes senior university economic development and community engagement administrations, presidents and chancellors, provosts, senior research officers, Cooperative Extension leaders, communications and government affairs administrators, and others across APLU member universities and university systems across North America who maintain responsibility for planning, executing, or communicating their institution’s work in economic development and public engagement. CECE focuses on three key areas of work:

  • Talent and workforce development
  • Innovation, entrepreneurship, and tech-based economic development
  • Place development through public service, outreach, extension, and engagement

CECE members affirm that the development of meaningful and sustainable partnerships, founded on the principles of quality engagement between universities, communities, philanthropies, government, and industry, are key to maximizing the positive impact of the university on the economy and society. These efforts ensure the relevancy of public universities and reclaim public trust in the beneficial impacts of universities at large. ICEE and CECE spearhead projects collaboratively with national and international peer organizations, think tanks, and Washington, DC-based policy stakeholders in addition to other APLU offices, councils, and commissions on issues of mutual interest.

Campus leaders from APLU member institutions may join CECE at this link. Questions on ways to engage? Contact APLU’s Office of International, Community, and Economic Engagement (ICEE).

The Commission engages in five core activities that support, promote, and advance community and economic engagement across APLU universities:

CECE facilitates professional development and networking among its members by organizing summer conferences and programming at the APLU Annual Meeting, North America’s largest convening of public university presidents, provosts, vice presidents, and their senior staff. In addition, CECE provides year-round engagement opportunities via a member-led “Learning Exchange” Forum comprised of phone or web meeting-based discussion groups covering a myriad of topics.

CECE members help facilitate APLU’s Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Universities designation and awards program, an internationally recognized designation and awards competition designed to help higher education institutions codify, elevate, and advance their economic and community engagement enterprise. The commission also promotes and contributes to the selection process for APLU’s C. Peter Magrath Award for Community Engagement.

CECE members participate in projects undertaken by APLU’s Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement that research, test, and highlight best practices in community and economic engagement through “research and demonstration” projects funded by various federal, industry, community, and philanthropic partners.

CECE shares its work and opportunities via regular newsletters to its members and with the wider community. CECE also manages a national blog focused on university-based economic and community engagement. Additionally, CECE organizes special events that highlight the economic and community engagement impact of its members in Washington, DC and beyond.

CECE members provide policy input to APLU’s OEDCE which, in collaboration with APLU’s Council on Governmental Affairs, monitors federal policies and programs affecting economic and community engagement professionals. CECE ensures that member perspectives on federal policy are shared with federal agencies and Capitol Hill stakeholders and keeps members informed about changes in rules and funding opportunities in agencies such as the Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as federal science agencies, in cooperation with APLU’s Council on Research.

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