UNA Pressroom

Office Of Regional Engagement Awarded Atp Grant

Sep. 14, 2021

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

By Ellen McDonald
For the Office of Media and Public Relations

FLORENCE, AL - The Office of Regional Engagement, which is home to the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area and is on the University of North Alabama campus, has been awarded an Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) grant. UNA is one of 17 colleges and universities across the Appalachian Regional Commission region chosen to participate in the program.

The ATP grant is funded by the ARC, and the goal of the program is to engage students within the Appalachian region with economic development initiatives that benefit their communities.

"Recreational opportunities are expanding dramatically across our region, bringing with them economic development opportunities,” said Dr. Carolyn M. Crawford, Director of the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area. “This real-world project experience is an incredible opportunity for our students."

Students enrolled in the course will have the unique opportunity to work in conjunction with the Tennessee RiverLine and the Singing River Trail, two long-distance trails in the ARC region. Students will also be able to work alongside students from different colleges and majors across campus. While in the course, they will learn about economic development models, how to identify desired strategic outcomes, and how to work as a member of an interdisciplinary team to complete four modules.

"Engaging with the Singing River Trail and the Tennessee RiverLine, both of which are looking to the future of recreation in the region while also sharing the rich history of the Tennessee River landscape, will provide opportunities for students to think creatively about the economic development process in Limestone and Lawrence counties," Crawford said.

At the conclusion of the four modules, each team will pitch their idea for economic development opportunities in an "Idea Audition" on campus. During the audition process, teams of students will present their ideas for their economic development projects connected to the recreation initiatives in Lawrence and Limestone counties. Members of the UNA community will be invited to attend the event, along with those from Lawrence and Limestone counties.

Student will also have an opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., for the annual ATP meeting. There, students will be able to present their work to other student delegations, ARC leadership, and community leaders at ATP.

"Student teams have the opportunity to participate in an experiential activity which will positively impact the community, train them to pitch their ideas professionally, work in collaboration with others, and present the final project in a poster session at a professional conference," said Dr. Sara Lynn Baird, dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. "We are proud to have CASE faculty, staff, and students involved in this exciting project. The college strongly supports activities like this that cross disciplines and afford students with unique experiences."

Twelve students are enrolled in the course and are working to bring innovating economic development projects to the Shoals.

About the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area

The mission of the MSNHA is to promote cultural tourism by education, preservation, and conservation of the heritage and culture within the six northwest Alabama counties Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, and Morgan of the Tennessee River basin. We inform, educate, develop, and interpret visitor-ready sites, create living history experiences, chronicle evolution of the area’s landscape, and extend these opportunities to the largest audience possible.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission, or ARC, is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.


Office of Regional Engagement