An Industry Leader
Dr. James K. (Jim) Woodell helps higher education institutions to demonstrate their value to economic and societal growth within their communities and regions. His professional services focus on planning and building partnerships between the institutions and their current and prospective partners in the private, civic, and government sectors.
Jim’s 30+ year career has spanned multiple areas of expertise and impacts. To date, he has worked in:
- Community development where he and his partners demonstrably improved quality of life in regions through higher education engagement, outreach, and public service
- Education, training, and workforce development, including strategies for design and delivery of programs
- Research and Development and innovation, including technological advancement, entrepreneurship, and regional technology-based economic development
From 2011 to 2018, Jim worked at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) in a number of roles, most recently as vice president for economic development and community engagement. He worked closely with member institutions to develop tools and resources to enhance their regional engagement and economic development efforts. He served as the staff director for APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity (CICEP), and also the organization’s Council on Engagement and Outreach (CEO), advancing APLU’s economic and community engagement agenda. Dr. Woodell maintained APLU’s strong presence in national issues related to the economic and social impacts of public research universities.
At APLU, Jim worked with member university leaders to create the Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Universities designation and awards program. The program has had a tremendous impact on institutional transformation. More than 60 institutions earned the designation in the program’s first five years, and participating institutions all report a significant effect of the application process on alignment of organizational plans and resources toward economic and societal outcomes. Woodell also led the development and publication of a series of tools for university economic engagement—the CICEP Economic Engagement Framework—which are central to the IEP Universities program application process. The flagship publication in this series is Higher Education Engagement in Economic Development: Foundations for Strategy and Practice.
A skilled and dynamic facilitator, Jim has led the planning and implementation of nearly 20 national meetings of public research university leaders. Through his network and ambitious work at APLU, he has brought together leadership of APLU member universities, including presidents and chancellors, senior research officers, provosts, and associate and assistant vice presidents with responsibility for innovation, entrepreneurship, talent development, and community engagement.
Jim has also served in an advisory capacity to national organizations focused on the economic and societal impacts of higher education, including:
- Advisory Board for the Center for Advancing Research Impact in Society’s National Alliance for Broader Impacts
- National Leadership Council for MForesight—the Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight
- Fellows Selection Committee for the National Academy of Inventors
- Policy and Outreach Committee for the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science
He has been sought for his expertise and spoken at national and international forums, including:
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Council on Education; Association of University of Technology Managers
- Engagement Scholarship Consortium
- Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China
- National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine
- National Alliance for Broader Impacts
- University Industry Demonstration Partnership
- Western Extension Directors Association, and many others
Prior to joining APLU, Jim served as Assistant Director for Transformative Regional Engagement (TRE) Networks, focused on bringing together participants in the “quadruple helix” of business, government, universities, and non-profits for innovation-driven regional development.
Having worked in distance education, instructional media, and e-learning for nearly 20 years, Dr. Woodell has experience ranging from the design and production of video for training, to coordinating the distribution of satellite-based videoconferences, to the development of online courses for teachers.
Dr. Woodell was a college teacher and administrator for ten years, including managing a large-scale distance learning program for Southern New Hampshire University. Woodell also served as Dean of Academic Technology and Distance Learning at North Shore Community College in Massachusetts.
Jim earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education at Penn State University, a top-ranked Higher Education program in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Schools. His doctoral dissertation—Wilson’s Mantra: Sensemaking, Loose Coupling, and the Intramural Economic Engagement Interface at the University of Massachusetts—examined how a public research university responded to regional and state stakeholder expectations related to university contributions to economic development. His research also explores how economic and research policy affect university initiatives in technology transfer, innovation, workforce development, and community engagement.
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