University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken today became the new chair of the Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity, a national group focused on the expanding role universities play in local and regional innovation.
Milliken assumed the CICEP chairmanship during the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities in San Francisco. CICEP is a commission within APLU that includes representatives of leading universities around the country. Milliken takes over for past chair Jack Wilson, president of the University of Massachusetts. He will serve a two-year term.
“I look forward to building on the excellent work that CICEP has done over the past few years to understand and promote the critical role of universities in economic development,” Milliken said. “Universities are talent magnets and hubs of innovation and creativity, and they are an integral component of the economic competitiveness of a region or nation. I think this is becoming increasingly clear in today’s global, knowledge-based economy.”
Milliken said he is especially pleased that his CICEP chairmanship coincides with Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman’s chairmanship of the National Governors Association. Gov. Heineman has identified “Growing State Economies” as his signature NGA initiative for the year, and Milliken said that as CICEP chair, he looks forward to engaging the nation’s governors on this shared goal.
Milliken also will explore potential collaborations with external groups such as business and government leaders. Over the past few weeks, Milliken has written to public- and private-sector leaders in Nebraska and nationally to solicit their thoughts on what the nation’s public universities should do to support economic growth.
“I’m interested in developing a shared agenda that reflects the best thinking of our partners in education, business and government – and I’m excited to see what we come up with together,” Milliken said.
Additionally, Milliken said he hopes to develop new strategies for raising the visibility of universities’ work in regional economic development and building stronger linkages to business and government. He also plans to build on ongoing CICEP objectives to develop tools to measure how well higher education institutions are engaging with local and regional economies and recognize those that are exemplars.
Milliken will host CICEP’s meeting next summer in Omaha. The meeting is expected to draw about 100 university leaders from around the country who are responsible for economic development initiatives at their institutions.
“The meeting will be a great opportunity to showcase success stories in Nebraska and at the University, and to bring leading experts in economic development to the state,” Milliken said.