"UNC should be more actively engaged in enhancing the economic transformation and community development of North Carolina’s regions and the state as a whole."
- UNC Tomorrow Commission Final Report and Recommendations, Sec. 4.4
HOW UNC IS RESPONDING > > >
At General Administration:
Military Partnerships - In Fall 2008, UNC GA staff (including Jim Sadler and Courtney Thornton) conducted a series of meetings with NC military contractors to better understand their research and education needs as well as to explore more systematic ways of working with these organizations. Since October 2008, UNC GA has also been a vital partner in a North Carolina Military Foundation initiative to take a high-level look at the State's industry, R&D, academic strengths and weaknesses as related to six emerging defense and homeland security priorities. Other partners in the initiative include the Department of Commerce, the NC Community College System, and RTI International. Our findings, when combined with NC Commerce information, are contributing to the development of specific strategies for mature, emerging, and nascent market areas in the State. At a UNC GA presentation to the NC Advisory Commission on Military Affairs in December, Major General Carl Jensen, Commanding General of Marine Corps Installations East (eastern US), proposed a partnership that would facilitate enrollment of Marines at UNC institutions upon completion of active duty.
Targeted Industry Sectors Programs – UNC General Administration and the Community College System Office have been collaborating with the NC Department of Commerce to develop enhanced educational programs that respond to the needs of the aviation and aerospace industry as well as energy industry sectors, two key priorities of the state for new job creation.
On UNC's Campuses:
- Our regional campuses have been meeting with regional economic developers to determine how they can assist with economic development priorities, and UNC Chapel Hill has been advising the NC Department of Commerce on which industry sectors show most promise going forward, assisting the General Assembly Finance Committee in reviewing our state economic incentive policy to make it more effective in creating jobs, and offering seminars on recovering from bankruptcy.
- UNC Charlotte’s SBTDC Office is piloting an innovative effort to proactively reach out to struggling small and medium sized businesses, working with the NC Department of Commerce to identify, assess, and provide technical assistance to those businesses so that they can reduce costs and re-engineer processes to help them save jobs. If successful, the program will move statewide later this year.
- East Carolina University has received funding from the NC Division of Community Assistance to provide hands-on faculty and student assistance to struggling rural communities. UNC Chapel Hill, as part of its UNC Tomorrow Community Campus Partnership (CCP) effort, has been awarded a grant from the NC Rural Center to work with UNC-Pembroke and ASU to provide technical assistance to communities that are part of the Center’s Small Town Economic Partnership (STEP) program. The assistance from UNC campuses will include hands-on assistance with budget challenges, grant-writing, consultation on economic development priorities from faculty and students, and other efforts to assist struggling communities.
- Fayetteville State University continues to actively participate in the BRAC Regional Task Force, which represents eleven counties (including Cumberland County) that are planning and preparing for the significant impact that region due to the changes that will occur from the BRAC 2005 actions and other growth at Fort Bragg and Pope AFB. These actions require planning and preparation to maximize the benefits to our state and region. FSU is actively planning to support this effort.
Faculty Research – UNC campuses exceeded $1.1 billion in sponsored programs and research in FY 2008. This strong foundation positions our campuses well to compete for federal recovery research dollars, which will invest heavily in R&D and help stimulate job creation as a result of investments in innovation. For example, a new partnership with IBM has initiated an effort to improve the cultures of innovation on our campuses, to better value and understand the economic impacts of our innovations, and to strengthen University-industry relationships.
On UNC's Campuses:
- Elizabeth City State University is working closely with the Northeast Region to align and engage appropriate campus programs and assets with the Region’s targeted industry clusters particularly Aviation, Biotech/Life Sciences, and Automotive.
- NC State is in the midst of implementing a new university-wide Entrepreneurship initiative. The centerpiece of this program is a Certificate in Entrepreneurship which will offer undergraduates coursework and experience in innovation and business creation, working with faculty and successful entrepreneurs in the community. This builds on NCSU’s successful 20+ year program in engineering entrepreneurship.
- UNC Greensboro recently hosted the 21st Century Entrepreneurial University conference designed to assess the progress of entrepreneurship in higher education and ways to cultivate more innovation. The campus also announced the establishment of the NC Entrepreneurship Center.
- The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering has been established. Working together, UNC Greensboro and NCA&T State University recruited a nationally known scholar and expert in nanoscience and nanoengineering to serve as Founding Dean of the JSNN.
- UNC School of the Arts Chancellor John Mauceri co-chairs, along with Dr. Nathan Hatch, President of Wake Forest University, the University Transformation Team (UTT), a component of the Piedmont Triad Partnership’s Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development Project (WIRED). The UTT consists of the 11 presidents and chancellors of higher education institutions in the Piedmont Triad who have been working to find one common area where all the schools can collaborate to impact economic development in the region. After much discussion, the UTT has identified design and innovation as its primary area of focus.
Responding to Challenging Economic Times
In today’s challenging economic times, UNC campuses and programs are engaging with citizens, businesses and communities across our state providing expertise, technical assistance, and information. Since the economic downturn began:
- Leslie Boney and representatives from UNC Charlotte and the UNC-C SBTDC office have been working with community stakeholders in Charlotte to help them determine how to respond to impending layoffs in the financial services sector. The process has resulted in UNCC developing new expedited certificate programs in high-demand job sectors. The Charlotte SBTDC will work with the Kauffman Foundation and local partners to create additional training for laid-off workers interested in starting their own businesses.
- The Small Business Technology Development Center has worked with community college small business centers to deliver a series of eight free workshops for small businesses on how to succeed in tough economic times, with 52 more sessions planned; SBTDC is also mobilizing its resources to help small businesses learn about opportunities under the federal recovery package.
- NC State’s Industrial Extension Service recently hosted a free seminar in Greensboro for struggling small business on increasing efficiency and exports.
- Campuses across the UNC system have recruited 140 business, accounting and entrepreneurship students to provide hands-on, free consulting to struggling businesses.
- 250 local government officials took part in a webinar offered by the UNC-CH School of Government helping them understand how they could access water and sewer funding from the federal recovery package; the SOG is conducting more webinars around recovery opportunities, and is hosting a listserv for local governments and other interested parties to stay abreast of federal recovery developments.
- In western North Carolina, Appalachian State University is working with the Golden LEAF Foundation and the Rural Center to place recent public policy graduates in struggling small towns to help them determine how to make it through the economic crisis. 217 people attended a recent ASU seminar on how to increase business in a green economy. At Western Carolina University, eight teams of students are helping rural hospitals get more efficient in their business practices.
- In eastern North Carolina, ECU is working with the Division of Community Assistance to provide hands-on consulting to surrounding rural counties; UNC Pembroke is stepping up its training for laid off workers interested in starting their own businesses; Fayetteville State is working with owners of struggling existing businesses; Elizabeth City State is launching a new initiative designed to help create new jobs in the green economy; UNCW is offering workshops on credit repair and WSSU is offering similar workshops on financial planning (credit, counseling, and personal budgeting).
Check back here for more "In The Spotlight" features on how UNC's campuses and faculty are responding to the needs of North Carolina through teaching, research and scholarship, and public service.