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Carnegie Selects Eastern for 2015 Community Engagement Classification

Published on January 07, 2015

Carnegie Selects Eastern for 2015 Community Engagement Classification

On Jan. 7, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching announced that Eastern Connecticut State University has received the 2015 Community Engagement Classification. Eastern is one of 240 institutions across the nation selected this year, and joins 121 other institutions that earned the classification in 2010 — in total, 361 institutions now hold the classification.

In order to be selected, Eastern had to provide descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership and practices.

“We are thrilled to have been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for Eastern’s community engagement work,” said Kim Silcox, Eastern’s director of the Center for Community Engagement. “Our students and our community benefit from the diversity of interactions offered by Eastern faculty and staff, and we look forward to continuing to have an impact in our local community.”

The Community Engagement Classification was first offered in 2006 as part of a restructuring of The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Unlike the foundation’s other classifications, which rely on national data, this is an “elective” classification — institutions participate voluntarily by submitting materials describing their community engagement efforts and achievements, local and afar.

“The importance of this elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national and global communities,” said John Saltmarsh, director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”

Central to the classification process is a “documentation framework” developed by a team of advisors to help applicants and reviewers assess the nature of an institution’s community engagement commitments. Of the 133 first-time applicants for the 2015 classification, 83 were successfully classified as community engaged institutions. Similarly, of the institutions selected in previous years, 188 were eligible for re-classification, and 157 were successfully re-classified.

Eastern’s classification is valid until 2025, at which time it will need to seek re-classification if it intends to retain its Community Engagement Classified status. Upon re-classification, Eastern will need to provide evidence of how community engagement has become deeper, more pervasive and better integrated on campus.

Written by Michael Rouleau