N.C. A&T Earns Prestigious APLU Innovation and Economic Prosperity Designation

By Jackie Torok / 11/16/2021 Academic Affairs, Research and Economic Development

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Nov. 16, 2021) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has been awarded 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. 

IEP logoNorth Carolina A&T is the first historically Black college or university (HBCU) and the first of the 1890 member institutions to receive the designation, which recognizes institutional commitment to regional economic development. A&T is also a land grant, doctoral research university and member of the UNC System. 

“Our students and faculty have consistently served in significant ways in community and economic engagement, enabling our institution to be an anchor and change agent for local, national and global influence for 130 years,” said A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. “We are grateful to be recognized for that service, as it is a vital and beloved part of our land grant mission.”

“This designation is also important for our academic strategy, which provides students with an educational experience to be beneficial to society and impactful across the globe,” said Provost Beryl McEwen, Ph.D., executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

The university formally committed in fall 2019 to pursuing the designation as part of the 2020 cohort of the program. A&T completed 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. 

As defined by APLU’s Economic Engagement Framework – a series of tools and publications that help institutions better know, measure, and communicate their work in economic engagement – universities collaborate with public and private-sector partners in their states and regions to promote economic growth, competitiveness and opportunity through a variety of efforts. 

“Engagement is an integral element of A&T’s commitment to academic innovation, transformational achievement and impact on economic development,” said Tonya Smith-Jackson, Ph.D., senior vice provost for academic affairs. “We are proud to have earned this IEP designation, which further signifies our dedication to excellence in civic outreach and preeminence in all that we do.”

This is A&T’s second major recognition for engagement. In 2015, the university earned the Carnegie Foundation’s community engagement classification – like the APLU IEP designation, an optional credential for which campuses must apply and undergo a rigorous evaluation.

“Community engagement has been part of our work for many years, and occupies a prominent role in our strategic plan today,” said Lonnie Cockerham, Ph.D., the university’s executive director for community engagement. “The APLU’s self-study process provided us an opportunity to assess talent, innovation and place as economic engagement constructs to identify areas for growth. More than 600 projects reflecting the vision, mission and values of the university were examined to identify accomplishments and areas of improvement.”

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 allows 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.

The benefits also extend to placing students in roles that allow them to integrate public service, Cooperative Extension, outreach and community engagement with efforts to expand the economy and equitable prosperity both locally and across the globe. More than 70 institutions have been named IEP designees since the program was launched in 2012. 

“APLU congratulates this year’s IEP Award winners for their dedication to economic development through their commitment to cultivating talent, innovation, and place-based development in their communities,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “The excellence in economic development each winner has displayed illustrates how public universities can rise to meet the needs of their communities and make significant intellectual and economic contributions to promote the wellbeing of our nation.”

Media Contact Information: jtorok@ncat.edu

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