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IEP 2017 Connections Award Winner
Projects & Initiatives
Shalin R. Jyotishi

Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities

APLU Impact

  • The IEP program recognizes institutions that have demonstrated a meaningful, ongoing and substantial commitment to economic and community development, growth, and economic opportunity.
  • Institutions complete a rigorous self-assessment to identify the strengths of the university’s economic engagement enterprise and areas for growth and improvement—all while sharing and learning from peers and experts across North America.
  • Earning the designation is just the beginning—designees are eligible to apply for the IEP University Awards given in the categories of Talent, Innovation, and Place. Institutions continue to share, learn, and engage through annual 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 codify, elevate, and advance their campus enterprise supporting economic and community development. The designation recognizes institutions that have demonstrated a meaningful, ongoing and substantial commitment to economic and community development, growth, and economic opportunity.

The IEP Universities program helps institutions to codify, elevate and advance their "economic engagement" enterprise which encompasses the many and varied ways universities work with their public-private partners to carry out:

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

More than 60 institutions have earned this distinguished recognition. IEP University designees complete a rigorous self-study of their economic engagement enterprise that allows them to inventory their true societal and economic impact while identifying strengths and areas of improvement in economic engagement. They exchange ideas, best practices and shared challenges with like-minded peers across North America with a goal of strengthening their ecosystem promoting regional economic prosperity and community development.

The IEP Universities program was developed by APLU's Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE), convening chief economic and community engagement officers as well as presidents and chancellors, provosts, senior research officers, government and public affairs leaders, and other administrators with responsibility for planning, executing, or communicating their institution's work in economic and community engagement. Learn more and join CECE today. Questions regarding the IEP universities program? Contact Shalin Jyotishi.

Engage with the IEP Universities Program:

  • Earn the IEP University Designation 

    The first step to formally begin your pursuit of the IEP University designation is to review the designation guidelines which include full details on deadlines, process, timeline and more. Review the IEP designation guidelines found here. 

    Institutions pursuing the designation as well as designated institutions are highly encouraged to attend the annual IEP Universities workshop which takes place at each CECE Summer Meeting, APLU's signature conference for economic development and community engagement leaders. Engagement opportunities are also planned during each APLU Annual Meeting, the world's largest convening of public university presidents, provosts, vice-presidents, and their staff.  

    Pursuing the designation as an APLU member institution: The institution’s president or chancellor must send a formal letter of intent to pursue the designation directed to APLU's President (template available on request). Letters of intent are accepted in the fall of every year. The institution's designated IEP campus contacts participate in the program through annual classes or "startup cohorts." Through startup cohorts, institutions pursuing the designation have the opportunity to learn and engage with one another through a national network of economic engagement professionals and thought leaders.

    Non-APLU member institutions must submit their presidential letter of intent to the University Economic Development Association (UEDA), APLU's participation partner for non-members. Learn more about APLU's IEP partnership with UEDA. View the APLU and UEDA's IEP partnership overview video.

  • Apply for an IEP University Award (for IEP designees only)
    An institution must first earn the IEP University designation in order to be eligible for the awards competition. IEP University Awards recognize the best-in-class case studies in the categories of Talent, Innovation and Place as well as the top-prize Economic Engagement Connections Award. Finalists are recognized during the CECE Summer Meeting and awardees are recognized during a special ceremony during the APLU Annual Meeting, the world's largest convening of public university presidents, provosts, vice-presidents, and their staff. Review the IEP award submission guidelines found here. Deadline to declare an intent to apply is Feb 28. Deadline to apply for an award is March 29.
  • Review/submit testimonials of Impact
    Review testimonials and program endorsements from designees and national leaders in economic and community engagement. Have a testimonial of impact to share? Let's tell your economic engagement story. Contact Shalin Jyotishi.

Featured Project & Initiative

Economic Development & Engagement
A set of core ideas 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.

Featured Project & Initiative

Courtesy of North Carolina State University
Economic Development & Engagement
Education for employment upon graduation is important, but a four-year degree should also put graduates in a better position to adapt as employment requirements change throughout their careers.