The purpose of the IEI Faculty Fellows Program is to enable IEI to collaborate with faculty and students across colleges at NC State University strategically leveraging IEI’s contributions to NC State’s ongoing collaborative economic development mission. In fiscal 2018-19, IEl collaborated with 3 faculty members and 3 graduate students on the following initiatives:
- ReCONNECT to Community (November 2018, Asheville)- Blake Martin, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, conducted a literature review and produced a white paper that helped IEI define the term “connectedness” and the dimensions of connectedness and disconnectedness at the individual and community levels. Her work was used to help shape the Forum agenda. Brad Johnson, a Ph.D. student in Public Administration, collected statewide perceptions of civic engagement from across the State. Prof. Lou Addor (College of Natural Resources) presented two sessions during the forum (one plenary and one breakout session) on promoting civic dialogue. Dr. Becky Bowen (NC State Extension) provided strategic planning support to the five communities in the ReCONNECT to Community cohort. So far, three of the five communities have received strategic planning support from Becky (Edgecombe County, Elizabeth City, and Elkin City). Carolyn Bird (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; current chair of the NCSU Faculty Senate) is a member of the overall ReCONNECT series Steering Committee, providing guidance and support to the series.
- ReCONNECT Rural & Urban (February 2019, Raleigh) – Beginning with their second Forum in the ReCONNECT series, IEI invited Mitch Renkow, Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics as an “NCSU Faculty Chair” to help shape the Forum agenda. Under his direction, a graduate student, Jennifer Lautzenheiser, is assembling data on commuting patterns across the state to analyze how much of employment growth in counties is associated with changes in commuting flows, changes in migration flows, and changes in labor force participation. This analysis will help determine the extent to which new jobs in North Carolina counties are taken by current county residents, new residents (in-migrants) or non-residents living in nearby counties. IEI also engaged NCSU expertise by inviting Kristin Feierabend (NC Cooperative Extension) and Abby Piner (NCSU Center for Environmental Farming Systems) to join their Forum Advisory Council. Looking to the future of the ReCONNECT series, IEI intends to engage an NCSU Faculty Chair for each of the four remaining events through February 2021 and has invited continuing KIETS support in this regard.