Color image of three students in lab coats working in lab.
Students in CSUN’s undergraduate research-training program, BUILD PODER. Pre-pandemic file photo by Lee Choo.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today awarded California State University, Northridge the Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Talent Award, recognizing the university’s exemplary initiatives in education and workforce development.

APLU is a research, policy and advocacy group that represents more than 230 public universities across North America. CSUN was eligible for an IEP Talent Award because it previously had been designated an IEP university by the APLU, which recognizes institutional commitment to regional economic development. The IEP designation helps member universities assess and communicate their economic development work — including promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and fostering community and “place” development, which the APLU defines as contributions to social, cultural or community development and the stewardship of place.

CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison (right), who accepted CSUN's Class of 2018 IEP University Designation plaque, stands beside CSUN director of external relations Julia Potter (left).
In 2018, CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison (right) accepted CSUN’s IEP University Designation plaque from the APLU. Left: CSUN director of external relations Julia Potter (left). Photo courtesy of Shalin Jyotishi.

The IEP Talent Award honors universities for “excellence in education and workforce development that help prepare students for jobs, careers and a lifetime.” The award was announced today by the APLU.

“This IEP Talent Award given by the APLU is a wonderful recognition of CSUN’s engagement in creating and fostering partnerships that change students’ lives and help strengthen our communities throughout Southern California,” said CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison. “Our commitment to student and faculty innovation and entrepreneurship, and to workforce development, is making a lasting impact in Greater Los Angeles and beyond.”

In making its case for the award, CSUN highlighted three programs that help students succeed academically and advance toward their career goals: BUILD PODER, CSUN Connections and IntersectLA.

CSUN’s BUILD PODER programsupported by the National Institutes of Health, is an undergraduate biomedical research training program. BUILD has supported and trained nearly 200 students and more than 100 faculty mentors who work together on mutual biomedical research projects and present their work at professional conferences.

CSUN Connections is a collaboration between CSUN, L.A. Mission College, L.A. Pierce College and L.A. Valley College, enabling students who had stopped attending CSUN to combine course credit from CSUN with credits earned previously in community college, to claim an associate degree. CSUN Connections also offers an integrated pathway from CSUN to community college and back again, helping to address many barriers to success.

IntersectLA is a student-operated and faculty-managed, full-service brand and creative strategy agency at CSUN, helping students from a wide range of disciplines build skills on the creative side of business by working with real-world clients. The result is a high-impact student enterprise that incubates talent, builds confidence, instills a sense of purpose, and provides financial resources to help students succeed while in school and beyond.

CSUN’s commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship and workforce development is especially important as the nation recovers from the economic damage from COVID-19.

“Many communities are reeling from the economic devastation wrought by the global pandemic,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “As leaders in economic development, this year’s designees and award winners are well positioned to play an important role in our economic recovery and help drive longer term economic growth and prosperity.”



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