University Relations & Community Development has new name, organizational changes

Effective with the start of the new fiscal year, the University Relations Division is now named University Relations and Community Development (URCD).  The new title reflects organizational changes that have added new programs within the Division.

The operational entities that now call URCD home are the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Web Communication Technologies (Web Tech), and the Front Door to Discovery. They join a division that includes Government Relations, Community Relations, Communications and Marketing, andwaterfront development planning.  The reorganization also led to the move of Copy Services, which had been part of the division, to the Business and Financial Affairs Division. 

As a part of its Community Relations program, URCD is an active partner in community economic development efforts and the SBDC is a vital program in the outreach efforts.  Since 1983, the Small Business Development Center has enabled Western Washington University to give back to the business community and has helped to shape the economic future of Whatcom County. The SBDC provides free, confidential advising, technical assistance, and research to business owners and managers in an effort to help businesses thrive throughout Whatcom County.   SBDC previously reported to the College of Business and Economics.  URCD also represents Western on the boards of the Northwest Economic Development Council and the Whatcom Council of Governments.

The move of Web Tech from Academic Technology and User Services to URCD enhances Western’s ability to provide a comprehensive, efficient, and cohesive spectrum of marketing and communications services.  Web Tech will work in close physical proximity and in collaboration with University Communications and Marketing to achieve this goal.

The Front Door to Discovery Program will continue to be developed this fall under the leadership of a .25 FTE Director.  The scope of the program has been fine tuned to provide a classroom laboratory for special campus and community projects.  The director will be working to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum that is focused on concepts such as design innovation, innovation engineering, and lean startup.