2014 Civic Engagement Institute
"Anchoring Community Vitality: Linking Campus Community Engagement and Economic Development"

Post Institute Follow-Up


Closing comments by Dr. Bryan Toney, Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Development, UNC Greensboro

As we’ve seen today, community engagement and economic development are really two sides of the same coin.  One of the best definitions I’ve heard of economic development was from UNC’s Maryann Feldman at the University Economic Development Alliance annual meeting in Pittsburgh last fall: “Economic development is the expansion of capacities that contribute to the advancement of society through the realization of individual, firm, and community potential.” Couldn’t that just as easily be a good definition for community engagement?  If it wasn’t clear before today, it should be now that those of us who work in community engagement and economic development have the same goals – helping individuals and communities prosper in the 21st century. 

We all face common challenges:
- All organizations are trying to do more with less.
- Communities need more jobs, and better jobs.
- Many communities are redefining economic development and seeking new strategies.
- Students need more experiences and better soft skills.

But we also have lots of opportunities in front of us:
- We need longer-term, more abiding relationships in the community vs. one-off projects. Or as Chancellor Miller says, we need to “listen and hang in there to get it done.”
- Colleges and universities can help shape policies and programs as economic development gets redefined.
- We need to blur the lines between campuses, businesses and community groups.
- Community engagement and economic development can lead to new revenue and resource opportunities for colleges and universities.

So how do we meet some of these challenges and pursue new opportunities?

It starts with “win win” partnerships – two way exchanges of knowledge, ideas and talent – in which universities, community organizations and businesses work together in ways that allow us to do much more than any of us could do alone. Community engagement and economic development aren’t things we do FOR our communities; they should be things we do WITH our communities. And it starts with listening and dialogue.

In the end, economic development is about helping to create better paying jobs for better prepared individuals.  By working together, those of us in community engagement and economic development can have a huge impact in making that happen.  Our colleges and universities need us to do more. Our communities need us to do more.


Follow-Up Recommendations

So, what are the next steps?  Continue the conversation and expand your campus strategy by integrating ideas learned after the Institute.  Below are a few recommendations and opportunities.

  1. Meet and discuss with your campus team what you have learned. Set goals, and integrate those with your campus’s agenda. 
  2. Listen to those involved in economic development in your community to see how your institution can play a bigger role. How?
    1.  Host a meeting at which you seek input.
    2.      b. Find out which meetings are being held in your community and attend. 
  3. Review workshop presenters’ PowerPoints or handouts on the Institute website.
  4. Pursue training to introduce Asset-Based Community Development on your campus or in your community. NC Campus Compact will sponsor a training in May or June, to be facilitated by Dr. Jody Kretzmann, co-founder of the ABCD Institute, and a workshop presenter at this year’s Institute. Please indicate your interest to Dr. Lisa Keyne.
  5. Set concrete campus goals that serve as benchmarks for your campus’ work to build and integrate community engagement and economic development. The University of Alaska in Fairbanks has posted their goals and strategies online. 
  6. Plan now to attend next year’s Community Engagement Institute, Tuesday, February 17, 2015, at Elon University: A Common Agenda, Collective Impact: Campus, Community, Compact.
  7. Stay connected to NC Campus Compact to learn about additional resources and conferences. Sign up for the e-mail newsletter here.
  8. Return to this page to check out recent journal articles (listed below) that may expand your campus’ conversation.

Contact  Dr. Lisa Keyne, Executive Director, if you have questions regarding the Institute.


Building a More Diverse, Sustainable and Robust Central Appalachian Region through Entrepreneurship Development, by Deborah Markley, An essay prepared for the Appalachian Transition Initiative and the Central Appalachian Prosperity Project, December 2009

Civic Health and the Economy: Making the Connection (2013 Issue Brief)
National Conference on Citizenship (NCOC)

Civic Studies, a Bringing Theory to Practice monograph edited by Peter Levine and Karol Edward Soltan -- Civic Studies is described by AAC&U as “an emerging field that considers public problems and issues from the perspective of citizens, understood as co-creators of their worlds. What knowledge, skills, strategies, and values do citizens themselves require in order to create a good community or a just society? What methods are available to provide citizens with the ideas they need? Posing these questions implies a significant change in mainstream scholarship across most disciplines.”

Civic Leadership for Societal Prosperity: A Commitment Across Domains, by Kevin Kruger, Laura E. Sponsler, and Caryn McTighe Musil (Diversity and Democracy, Volume 16, No. 4, Fall 2013)

Educating for Community Change: Higher Education’s Proposed Role in Community Transformation through the Federal Promise Neighborhood Policy, by Elizabeth Hudson, Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, Volume 17, Number 3, p. 109, (2013)

Engaged Learning Economies: Aligning Civic Engagement and Economic Development in Community-Campus Partnerships (Campus Compact White Paper)
By Drs. Amanda Wittman and Terah Crews (2012)

Growing an Economy that Works for All: A 21st Century Approach to Economic Development in North Carolina, by Allan Freyer, Policy Analyst, Budget and Tax Center, NC Justice Center (October 2013)

Iowa Harvests the Wind for Economic Development, Education, and Innovation,
by Carol Kreck (August 2013), Education Commission of the States (ECS)

Port Richmond Partnership with Wagner College

Strengthening Local Capacity for Data-driven Decisionmaking, by G. Thomas Kingsley, Kathryn L.S. Pettit, and Leah Hendey (June 2013)