Our Work


Alvaro Muñiz
Director, International, Community, and Economic Engagement

Caydan Henslee
Associate, International, Community, and Economic Engagement

Innovation & Economic Prosperity Program

Innovation and Economic Prosperity Logo

IEP Designation Program Summary

The IEP designation program helps higher education institutions better know, measure, tell, and enhance their economic and community development impact while recognizing institutions that have demonstrated a substantive, sustainable, and institution-wide commitment to and strategy for regional economic engagement, growth, and economic opportunity.

Institutions complete a rigorous self-assessment, engaging on-campus and off-campus stakeholders, to identify the strengths of the university’s economic engagement enterprise and, importantly, areas for growth and improvement—all while sharing and learning from an international community of practice comprised of peers.

Earning the designation is just the beginning—designees are eligible to apply for the annual IEP Awards given in the categories of Talent, Innovation, Place, and the overall award, Connections. Institutions continue to share, learn, and engage through research, projects, and events.

APLU and its Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE) established the Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Universities Program to help higher education institutions strengthen their strategy and practices in economic and community development while providing due recognition to institutions that are exemplary in their institution-wide commitment to regional economic engagement.

Ninety-one institutions have earned this distinguished recognition by working with on-campus (faculty, staff, leadership, and students) and off-campus (businesses, local and state government, communities, and others) stakeholders to complete a rigorous self-study of their economic engagement enterprise that allows them to identify their strengths and areas of growth and improvement in economic engagement.

Institutions complete the program collaboratively with APLU staff and a national community of practice. They exchange ideas, best practices, and shared challenges with like-minded peers across North America with the goal of strengthening their ecosystem that maximizes their institution’s economic and societal impact. Once designated, institutions implement the growth and improvement plan they implemented and participate in a variety of outreach efforts to elevate the visibility of their work in economic engagement – regionally and nationally.

Central to IEP and the work of APLU in economic and community engagement is helping institutions better “know, measure, and tell the story of” their holistic “economic engagement” impact which is defined in three primary categories of work and their intersections:

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

The IEP Program is open to both APLU member and non-APLU member institutions

Featured Project & Initiative

The Data Literacy Institute – a partnership between APLU and the Association for Institutional Research with funding from Ascendium – brings together cross-departmental teams from 11 Powered by Publics institutions from Cluster 14 to engage in training that enhance their use of data to improve equitable student outcomes. In May 2022, Powered by Publics held […]

Featured Publication

2022 APLU Annual Report