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Western named 2019 Innovation & Economic Prosperity Designee

By Jordan Van Beek Western has been named a 2019 Innovation & Economic Prosperity (IEP) designee by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). In order to be considered for this designation, a university completes a self-study process that looks to better understanding the existing university engagements from both those internal and external of the university, according to James McCafferty, director of the Center for Economic and Business Research. University of Colorado Boulder, University of Mississippi and Western Washington University are the IEP University designees for 2019. According to the APLU website, this program recognizes institutions “that have demonstrated a meaningful, ongoing and substantial commitment to economic and community development, growth, and economic opportunity.” “From this process, we sought ways to improve potential future engagements to align with the university’s mission, vision and values,” McCafferty said. “All of this information was submitted to APLU which had multiple people review and provide feedback on our process and information. Based on the recommendation of the reviewers, APLU awarded Western the designation.” “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,” according to the APLU website. Sixty-five institutions have been named IEP designees since the program was launched in 2012, according to Western Today’s press release. Other schools that have been given this award include Washington State University in 2013, Montana State University and Arizona State University in 2016. “From a student’s perspective, the designation should communicate a dedication by the university to look for meaningful engagements within the region that may provide the opportunity for more and enhanced applied research opportunities and the infusion of innovation principles into the campus community both within academic areas as well as non-academics areas,” McCafferty said. The impact of the IEP designation include testimonials from higher-ed leaders across the nation who have affirmed the value of the IEP universities program, voluntary institutional change, time well invested, access for all and value of outputs, according to APLU’s website. “Earning the designation is the first step in a journey. Like other accreditations and designations earned by Western, there is a commitment to a growth strategy and a requirement to resubmit materials to continue holding the designation,” McCafferty said.

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