UNCW’s Campus-to-Community Efforts Earn APLU Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Designation

Monday, November 07, 2022

In recognition of its strong commitment to economic engagement, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) designated the University of North Carolina Wilmington an “Innovation & Economic Prosperity University.” The national designation acknowledges public research universities working with public and private sector partners in their states and regions to support economic development through a variety of activities, including innovation and entrepreneurship, technology transfer, talent and workforce development, and community development.  

“UNCW is a university like no other, and we are deeply honored to be recognized by the APLU as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University,” said Chancellor Aswani K. Volety. “UNCW faculty and staff are committed to enhancing our campus-to-community connections as we work with regional business and nonprofit leaders to evaluate market forces and address civic concerns to create and grow programs that are good for our students, the region and the State of North Carolina.” 

“Economic development is a major pillar of universities’ work,” said APLU President Mark Becker. “From talent development to pathbreaking research to entrepreneurship and beyond, institutions have a central role to play in economic development. We’re pleased to recognize UNCW for its commitment to engaging its community around these issues to advance regional economic development.” 

UNCW received the IEP designation after a two-year application process led by a campus-wide IEP Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. Under the advisement of Dr. Jeanine M. Mingé, associate provost for community engagement and impact; Mark Lanier, assistant to the chancellor and assistant secretary to the UNCW Board of Trustees; and Dr. Stuart Borrett, associate provost for research and innovation, the committee convened UNCW faculty, administrators, staff and community partners to work specifically in the areas of talent, innovation and place. The committee also hosted focus groups with leaders in business, education, the nonprofit sector and government. 

“UNCW is excited to join this prestigious collective of peer universities that share a dedication to enriching the student experience by facilitating a culture of civic engagement that supports economic growth and vitality,” said Mingé. “We know that communities thrive when the business, education, government and nonprofit sectors collaborate effectively. Through this process, we discovered both a wealth of accomplishment and essential areas of improvement.” 
University strengths were noted in three areas: 1) community engagement and equity; 2) Blue Economy, coastal resilience, innovation and entrepreneurship, and 3) the talent pipeline developed in partnership with surrounding communities.  

UNCW is one of only 80 higher education institutions nationwide designated by APLU as Innovation and Economic Prosperity universities.  
In keeping with the APLU IEP mission, Mingé cited a new UNCW initiative that promotes university and community collaboration for the greater good called “Change the TIDES.” TIDES stands for Talent, Innovation, Development, Engagement and Social impact. 

“Change the TIDES” will utilize the resources of UNCW to improve the quality of life, health, education, and employment for the people of our region and their communities,” Mingé added. “This makes me proud to be a UNCW Seahawk.” 

-- Krissy Vick 

UNCW is a Class of 2022 IEP designee by the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities (APLU).