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Texas Tech Recognized for Economic Development Efforts

School is one of 14 nationwide designated by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Written by Sally Logue Post

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Texas Tech University has been designated as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) University by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). The designation, which recognizes the university’s engagement in an array of economic development efforts, was announced by APLU officials today (July 10).

“The awarding of the Innovation and Economic Prosperity designation is yet another indication of the strides Texas Tech is making toward Tier One status,” said M. Duane Nellis, president of Texas Tech. “The IEP application process is an extensive self-study that helped us determine not only our strengths in connecting with our community but also the areas in which we need to focus more attention.”

The designation, instituted in 2013, acknowledges 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 engagement.

“Today’s knowledge-based economy makes it vital for universities to work effectively with innovative businesses to create and apply new knowledge to improve our economic conditions and the health and prosperity of our citizens,” said Robert Duncan, Texas Tech vice president for research and team leader for the application process.

To earn the designation, Texas Tech solicited feedback through surveys of both internal and external constituents, alumni and students. Town hall meetings with external partners and faculty and staff also were held, and information was gathered about current and planned innovation efforts on campus.

“We are proud to build on this national designation at Texas Tech,” Nellis said. “Through the IEP process we learned that our faculty and students are strongly interested in economic engagement and entrepreneurship. We will use this process as a foundation to continue to grow in these areas.”

Before beginning the application process in January, the university reached out to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance for support.

“The current Texas Tech University administration clearly understands Texas Tech’s leadership role in economic development and engagement on the South Plains of Texas,” said Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Alona Beesinger. “Earlier this year, Texas Tech reached out to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce to help evaluate the university’s current regional economic engagement activities, but also to help assess plans for growth and improvement in this area. The Chamber was fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with the university to help administer surveys to our 2,100 business members in order to gage the impact and perceptions of the university’s economic development efforts.

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“Texas Tech’s designation by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University is an important next step for providing advanced educational opportunities and workforce development in West Texas.”

“On behalf of the team at the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA), we are thrilled that Texas Tech University has been given the Innovation and Economic Prosperity designation,” said John Osborne, LEDA chief executive officer. “This honor not only supports our joint efforts to promote and engage in economic growth for the Lubbock community, but it solidifies LEDA’s and others’ cooperative partnerships with Texas Tech.”

Applications for the designation were scored by a panel of reviewers. Scoring was based on a range of criteria emphasizing universities’ development of their economic engagement enterprise, their planning efforts around economic engagement, strategic communications around these efforts, and participation in encouraging economic engagement among peer institutions.

Texas Tech and 13 other public institutions comprise the second annual class of Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities: Georgia Tech, Indiana University, North Carolina State University, the Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, South Dakota State University, the University of Houston, the University of Illinois, the University of Massachusetts-Boston, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, the University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, and Wayne State University.

APLU is a research, policy and advocacy organization representing 234 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations.

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