Innovator Profile: Northeastern State University in Tahlequah

Article excerpt

Organizers of a regional summit called "Giving Voice to Northeastern Oklahoma" are hoping ideas generated from the meeting can catapult the area out of its current dire economic situation.

The summit concept emerged from a series of conversations between Northeastern State University President Don Betz and representatives of Sequoyah-Adair-Cherokee County Enterprise Zone and the Cherokee Nation.

The two-day event last November was hosted by Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and brought together leaders from business, industry, government, education, nonprofits and non-government organizations to discuss challenges facing communities and businesses and to develop networks and partnerships that encourage economic growth and an improvement in the quality of life in northeastern Oklahoma.

Workshops that focused on identifying industry clusters, economic development, regional collaboration and marketing the region offered participants an opportunity to discover ways the private and public sectors can work together.

Mark Kinders, vice president for NSU University Relations, said the main benefits to come out of the summit were a "shared understanding of the region, including its demographics, economic make-up, industry clusters poised for expansion; and the best practices that have worked in other regions to establish a common vision."

The November 2009 regional summit was the first of this scope to be held in the area to address economic and sociological issues. …