UNC with Chronicle of Higher Education
The Role of Universities in Economic Development
Building an Economic-Development Strategy
Thursday, February 7, at 12 noon, U.S. Eastern time
As many regions of the United States undergo economic transitions, expectations are increasing that higher-education institutions will play critical roles in creating jobs and revitalizing local economies. In fact, many colleges are embracing economic development as a central mission, from Rochester, N.Y., to Kannapolis, N.C. But how can colleges and universities work in their local economies in ways that are responsive and meaningful? How do institutions develop a strategic plan for dealing with long-term economic challenges while managing short-term expectations of the university as economic savior? And how do they encourage faculty members to marry their research goals with real-world needs?
Leslie Boney is associate vice president for economic-development research, policy, and planning at the University of North Carolina system. His duties include advising UNC's president, Erskine B. Bowles, on economic-development issues, conducting research and analysis in support of the university's economic-development strategy, and coordinating systemwide economic-development projects. He also serves on the Southern Growth Policies Board, the North Carolina Economic Development Board, and the board of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. Mr. Boney previously was executive director of policy, research, and strategic planning for the North Carolina Department of Commerce; a senior associate with MDC Inc., a nonprofit research firm specializing in economic and work-force development; and staff director for the North Carolina Rural Prosperity Task Force.