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What It Means to Join the Growing Community of Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities

In 2013, APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity (CICEP) launched the Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Universities program. The program has seen the successful designation of 48 universities, a dozen award winners, and countless stories of university accomplishment and work toward growth and improvement of the university economic engagement enterprise. The program is having tremendous impact and we invite to consider joining this community of practice as part of the 2016 cohort, or at least to learn more about the program.

One of the institutions to join the ranks of Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities in 2015 was the University of Kansas. In a recent interview with the Lawrence World-Journal, KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little noted the IEP Universities designation as one five key university accomplishments over the past year: “In June, KU was named to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities 2015 class of Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities, an honor for universities deemed to be making an economic impact,” the Chancellor said.

Recently, Colorado State University signed up to participate in the 2016 cohort, and reported to CICEP’s staff director that the university was getting engaged in the process partly at the prompting of the mayor of Fort Collins, CO, illustrating how the program can be an important part of stakeholder engagement in universities’ regions.

In 2014, Texas Tech University garnered the IEP University designation. “The IEP process has helped energize Texas Tech’s partnerships with key community leadership constituencies and facilitated a more engaged campus discussion regarding the need for an even stronger entrepreneurial culture in the curriculum and in general across the institution,” said Texas Tech’s president, M. Duane Nellis.

The new president of the University of Toledo, Sharon Gaber, noted the role that the IEP University designation played in her interest in leading that university. “As the new president of The University of Toledo, I can attest that one of the reasons why UT looked attractive to me as a place where I could make a difference was that it was designated as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by APLU. This indicated to me that UT was very much engaged with its community and was doing work to improve its regional economy. I was excited to offer my name as the university’s next president and was delighted to begin work this past July to continue to raise the stature of the university and to help increase prosperity in greater Toledo.”

Brian Darmody, Associate Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations at University of Maryland, had this to say about the program’s influence at UMD: “The APLU Innovation and Economic Prosperity process brought together diverse groups on campus to better realize the collective strengths individual units were making in the university engaging the state, region and nation. Our Governor is fond of saying Maryland is Open for Business and our CICEP designation shows in a tangible way that UMD is too.”

CICEP has extended the deadline to submit a letter of intent from your institution’s president or chancellor to participate in the program over the coming year. Learn more about the program at the IEP Universities web page, and if you are interested in getting your institution engaged, download this template for a letter of intent from you president or chancellor. Email your letter of intent by Wednesday, September 30. Contact Jim Woodell with questions.

  • Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, & Economic Prosperity

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