APLU’s Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement and its Commission on Economic and Community Engagement developed the Economic Engagement Framework which is a set of tools to help universities plan, implement, assess, and advance economic engagement efforts. The framework is the foundation of a number of APLU projects and programs in economic and community engagement including the Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities program.
Know, Measure, Tell, Engage
APLU’s member institutions are increasingly being asked to demonstrate their economic value and relevance. Among those APLU members participating in CECE, we frequently hear that we simply do not do a good enough job in telling our story. We are so focused on carrying out the learning, discovery, and engagement missions of our institutions that we do not take the time to frame our contributions in terms of the economy and a larger socioeconomic context.
CECE has been working for the last number of years on developing several tools in an attempt to help universities focus efforts not only on telling their economic engagement story well, but also growing, improving, and advancing their economic engagement enterprise and thereby accelerating economic development in their regions, nationally, and globally. The framework has at its core four simple ideas:
- institutions should KNOW what they’re doing well and what they need to improve with regard to economic engagement;
- institutions should be able to MEASURE the extent to which they are engaged;
- institutions should be able to TELL the story of their contributions to economic development, and
- institutions must ENGAGE with external stakeholders throughout the processes of knowing, measuring, and telling in order for their contributions to have meaningful impact.