SUU Community Engagement Earns Carnegie Nod

Published: January 06, 2011 | Category: Community Outreach

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected 115 U.S. colleges and universities for its 2010 Community Engagement Classification, and Southern Utah University is among the elite group that will now join the 196 institutions identified in the 2006 and 2008 selection process.

This classification is based on an institution’s engagement with the community, be it local or beyond.

A random survey of service-learning at SUU proves the University’s place in this elite list, which includes the likes of the University of Notre Dame and Cornell University.

Other Utah schools ranked alongside SUU include the University of Utah and Westminster College.

Of this recognition, SUU Provost Brad Cook said, “This recognition is a powerful statement on SUU's commitment to its stewardship of place.”

A survey of the partnerships between SUU’s Service and Learning Center and regional non-profit and community organizations is testament to the vital role SUU plays in advancing community interests.

SUU’s application made specific mention of programs that range from The Utah Center for Rural Health to artsFusion.

The Utah Center for Rural Health aims to improve access to healthcare through education. It introduces University students to health care careers and provides support services that enable them to achieve their academic and professional goals. The Center also supports clinical training and service-learning experiences for students who are pursuing health profession degrees.

ArtsFusion is a community outreach program that offers professional development in the fine arts in rural elementary schools through small, on-site workshops.

Of SUU’s bid for Carnegie classification, Anthony C. Byrk, Carnegie Foundation president, said SUU displayed “excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.”

Byrk made note of SUU’s “exemplary” institutionalized practices of community engagement.

For SUU, such recognition only reinforces the University’s recent steps to enhance the liberal arts and sciences approach to a more personalized and hands-on higher education through the recently outlined “Academic Roadmap: 2010-2013.”

Of this, Cook added, “Community engagement has always been a core value of the university. By making engagement a part of the academic fabric, as we have done though our Academic Roadmap process, we simply deepen and expand the way we serve our broader community.

Back on campus, Cook notes the benefits of such curricular focus are equally impressive.

“Engaged and experiential education is proven to increase faculty involvement and enhance student academic success through such activities,” said Cook.

Other notable civic programming run through SUU obviously includes the University’s Service & Learning Center and The Voyager Mobile Science Lab.

SUU’s Service & Learning Center was established more than a decade ago to provide centralized, current communication about existing community service opportunities for SUU students, faculty and staff and by facilitating service-learning across the curriculum.

The Voyager services rural elementary schools across the southern half of the state by loaning the latest in scientific technologies and proven curriculum to rural teachers who may not otherwise have such resources.

The above examples are just a sampling of the varied programming that qualified SUU for this distinct national recognition.

According to a Carnegie Foundation press release announcing the 2010 Community Engagement list, “Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification.”

According to the release, “The Foundation took particular interest in the nature and extent of [an institution’s] engagement with the community, be it local or beyond.”

The release noted, “Through a classification that acknowledges significant commitment to and demonstration of community engagement, the Foundation encourages colleges and universities to become more deeply engaged, to improve teaching and learning and to generate generation socially responsive knowledge to benefit communities,” said Carnegie President Anthony Bryk. “We are very pleased with the movement we are seeing in this direction.”

Of the 115 institutions among the list, 66 are public institutions and 49 are private. In terms of representing Carnegie’s Basic Classification, 35 are classified as research universities, 41 are master’s colleges and universities, 25 are baccalaureate colleges, 12 are community colleges and 2 institutions have a specialized focus—arts, medicine and technology. They represent campuses in 34 states.

The Foundation, through the work of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, developed the first typology of American colleges and universities in 1970 as a research tool to describe and represent the diversity of U.S. higher education. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education continues to be used for a wide range of purposes by academic researchers, institutional personnel, policymakers and others.

A listing of the institutions in the Community Engagement Classification can be found on the Carnegie website.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center that supports needed transformations in American education through tighter connections between teaching practice, evidence of student learning, the communication and use of this evidence, and structured opportunities to build knowledge. The Foundation is located in Stanford, Calif. More information may be found on the Carnegie Foundation Web site.


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