Colleagues and Friends:
I am writing to you from my position as President of the Educational Association of University Centers (EAUC). The purpose of this communication is to provide a brief status report of the transition of the association to its new administrative home on the West Coast. Also to provide the planned schedule of events over the next 12 months, and to give you a glimpse of my perspective of the current and future challenges and opportunities at the Federal level in DC.
We are in the final stages of placing the membership, communication and administrative responsibilities for the association under the purview of the new Executive Director of the EAUC, Dan Ripke who directed the EDA University Center Program at the University of California- Chico for over 30 years very successfully. He has been very active with the EAUC, UEDA, IEDC and other organizations and associations over those decades, and is eagerly helping lead our association into a new era. I have complete confidence in his ability to do so. As many of you know the association has deferred membership dues for the past year during the transition period and will resume the requirement of dues payment into the future so you will be receiving that information soon also.
Two events are planned over the next months, the first being a meeting that will be scheduled consecutive to the UEDA Annual Conference that will occur September 29- October 2ed in Reno/Tahoe Nevada. The next date to save will be for the EAUC Annual Conference in Washington DC next Spring. We are in the process of establishing the venue and the dates which we expect will be in March or April, so stay tuned for that announcement in the near future.
Now, briefly, to the state of affairs in DC of Congress and Federal agencies. The fiscal year (fy19) that began on October 1st, of 2018, began in fits and starts with continuing resolutions on the budget, culminating in the longest ever government shutdown over the holiday season and continuing for 35 days. That has resulted in an environment in which there are challenges and very real opportunities. The challenges are mostly faced by Federal agencies who were not able to release funds until recently, because of the uncertainty of appropriation amounts and timing. This means that they must spend an entire fiscal year of funding in the remaining 9 months (actually less because they generally want to have all funds obligated by September 1st).
This circumstance provides a clear opportunity for institutions and organizations that are seeking funding. The key to success are proposals that have a high potential for results, outcomes, and deliverables that help the funding agency achieve its goals and objectives and meet the expectations of the appropriators in Congress. Therefore, if you have a well-formed plan for a project or program that will yield benefits to a region, state or a segment of the population look for the agency that funds that area of activity and submit a proposed scope. Something to keep in mind is that agencies always look favorably when grantees include other Federal programs that can collaborate. An example is for EDA University Centers to include the NIST MEP program whenever working with manufacturing firms on technology and business assistance or other projects.
From the perspective of the Economic Development Administration, the EDA University Center Programs can make an impact by stretching their funding further through partnerships with regional, state, and local partners (including nonprofits and Economic Development Planning Districts), and by sharing their successes broadly – making sure to state that they are an EDA‐funded University Center. Funding for the University Center Program is at great risk of being cut, so the top priority of university centers absolutely must be fighting for the sustainability of their funding through messaging both to their stakeholders and to EDA’s appropriators who want to cut program funding.
A better proposal and idea is only as good as the availability of money to fund that project. In that regard every university center needs to contact their members of congress both through the congressional district offices and DC offices to convey the value proposition of funding for the EDA University Center Program in their districts. Specific examples of assistance provided to regions, communities, organizations and companies, and jobs created and/or retained as well as other economic development benefits are most effective.
In closing, I wish you and your programs success in the coming year and look forward to seeing you at upcoming events. In the meantime EAUC leaders continue to monitor the congressional and agency latticework in DC and are always willing to provide guidance or answer any questions.
Lawrence A. Molnar, President
Educational Association of University Centers
Mobile: (734) 355-5062