Public Service & Community Relations

Innovation and Economic Prosperity

East Carolina University’s (ECU) mission is to serve as a national model for student success, public service and regional transformation through six strategic directions. We define public service broadly as ECU faculty, staff, and/or students working to improve communities in eastern North Carolina and beyond. This work involves communities and benefits communities. Regional transformation occurs when ECU faculty, staff, and/or students align, link and leverage regional assets to achieve measurable strategic outcomes through open and shared leadership networks within and outside ECU. 

In 2014 ECU completed a self-study designed to identify how well ECU is fulfilling its role in innovations and economic prosperity. The self-study was framed within the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities IEP designation

Innovation is breakthrough thinking that results in the advancement of new knowledge, technologies and products to solve significant societal problems. Economic Prosperity is an outcome of community-campus partnerships that results in a more competitive region and healthy communities that attain economic, educational, environmental, cultural, and entrepreneurial goals to improve the vitality and quality of life of the community. 

The self-study identified innovation and economic prosperity accomplishments that build rural capacity, enhance regional health, and improve the local environment. At the same time, the study revealed that ECU needs to do a better job to enhance faculty rewards processes and procedures, opportunities to appropriately use space for community-campus partnerships, and improve internal and external communication related to economic prosperity and innovation. 

To understand the importance of innovation and economic prosperity, it must be placed in context. ECU’s motto is servire, to serve. We are geographically located in the eastern region of North Carolina, an area that includes fishing, farming and forestry. Over the years, the economic base has shifted from dependence on the land to opportunities in technology and tourism. Our primary region of the 26/40 counties east of I-95 are tier one counties and employment ranges from 6.3% to 13.5%. We continue to be an access university, dedicated to serving students from North Carolina and focused on degrees that will result in employment and regional growth. 

ECU’s Economic Engagement Enterprise

Economic development is a dimension of regional transformation and includes reciprocal, sustained and intentional efforts of ECU and its partners that promotes economic vitality in the region. ECU’s efforts focus in three areas-talent, innovation and place. 

Talent involves developing human capital for the 21st century knowledge economy. Examples at ECU include:

Innovation includes economic engagement efforts with an emphasis on entrepreneurship, innovation, and applied research. Examples at ECU include:

Place involves economic engagement efforts focused on creating smart places where people live and enjoy a good quality of life. Examples at ECU include: