N.C. A&T Chosen to Seek Prestigious APLU Innovation and Economic Prosperity Designation

By Jackie Torok / 09/11/2020 Research and Economic Development

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Sept. 11, 2020) – North Carolina Technical and Agricultural State University has been chosen to pursue the prestigious Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) designation from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and its Commission on Economic and Community Engagement.

N.C. A&T is the first historically Black college or university to pursue the designation, which helps higher education institutions strengthen their strategy and practices in economic and community development.

“A&T made the formal commitment last fall to embark on the 2020 APLU-IEP designation process and self-study of our current economic engagement practices,” said Bryle Henderson Hatch, Ph.D., the university’s executive director for community engagement. “By achieving this designation, we can enhance our commitment to innovation, identify research and funding opportunities, explore corporate partnerships, unify our personnel and processes, and build our economic ecosystem on local, state and global scales.”

As part of the 2020 cohort of the program, A&T will 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.

“A&T’s commitment to academic innovation and impact on economic development has been solidified since our founding in 1891,” said Tonya Smith-Jackson, Ph.D., senior vice provost for academic affairs. “The IEP designation also directly embodies Goal 3 of ‘A&T Preeminence: Taking the Momentum to 2023,’ the university’s strategic plan, which calls for elevating our commitment to global economic development.”

The IEP designation recognizes institutions that have demonstrated a substantive, sustainable and institution-wide commitment to and strategy for regional economic engagement, growth and economic opportunity. Earning it will allow A&T to better know, tell and maximize its contributions to economic engagement through talent and workforce development; innovation, entrepreneurship, and tech-based economic development; and place stewardship via public service, Cooperative Extension, outreach, and community engagement.

Designees also are eligible to apply for the IEP University Awards given in the categories of Talent, Innovation and Place. They also continue to share, learn and engage through research, projects and events.

Working group meetings, external stakeholder engagement activities and an internal review are under way as part of A&T’s self-study plan. The next steps will be to prepare the IEP designation application, followed by internal reviews by the steering committee and senior leadership, and revisions and final edits before the application is submitted for comment in February 2021, then revised as necessary and submitted for the IEP designation decision in August 2021.

In addition to Hatch and Smith-Jackson, who serve as co-leads of the effort, the internal steering committee consists of Thaddeus McEwen, Ph.D., founding director of the Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and professor in the Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics Department of Management; Eric Muth, Ph.D., vice chancellor for research and economic development; and Thelma Woodard, Ph.D., interim director of assessment; Todd Simmons, associate vice chancellor for university relations, and Ray Trapp, director of external communications. Laura Collins, director of intellectual property, served as a co-lead to begin the process. The project is also supported by academic affairs project manager Tanya Simmons.

Media Contact Information: jtorok@ncat.edu