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UND achieves Carnegie Foundation's community engagement classification

Posted on 1/6/2011

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has announced that the University of North Dakota is one of only 115 institutions of higher education to achieve Carnegie's Community Engagement Classification.
"This is an important education organization independently verifying the work UND is doing to connect our faculty and students to communities inside and outside of North Dakota," said UND Provost Paul LeBel. "It also confirms the University's efforts to engage students in service learning for the benefit of our communities."

UND is the only North Dakota institution to receive the community engagement classification. In 2006, the University received a "high research activity" classification from the Carnegie Foundation.
In making the announcement, Carnegie Foundation President Anthony Bryk said UND "has demonstrated excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement."

The foundation defines community engagement as "the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity."

UND was classed in 2006 as a community engaged institution by the Carnegie Foundation under the outreach and partnerships category. After successfully completing the curricular engagement application process this past year, the University received the full Community Engagement Classification. There are now 311 public and private institutions under this classification.

The application process was headed by Lana Rakow, director of the Center for Community Engagement, who was assisted by Sarah McKenzie and Muriel Kingery, AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members serving at the center.

To be selected, institutions provided descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.
In its application, UND identified 511 service learning courses last year in which nearly 18 percent of students had participated. In addition, 48 departments (79 percent) were identified as participants in service learning.

To qualify as a service learning course at the University, the curriculum must meet at least one of the following goals:
Prepare students with the skills to participate in the public lives of their communities
Help students participate knowledgeably as citizens in public life
Teach students how their fields, professions or careers can contribute positively to public life
Improve community well-being through academic service.

Examples of UND's community engagement activities cited in the University's application included:
Fifteen criminal justice students contributing 4,200 hours of professional service to nonprofit organizations
Geography faculty routinely involving their students in community-based projects
A course on refugee integration that studied local immigration issues
Law students who conducted research on proposed energy projects on Indian reservations
Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered by an act of Congress in 1906, the Carnegie Foundation is an independent policy and research center. Its mission is to support 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 at Stanford University in the San Francisco Bay area.
"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 socially responsive knowledge to benefit communities," Bryk said. "We are very pleased with the movement we are seeing in this direction."

Useful links
*The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
*UND Center for Community Engagement

Lana Rakow, director
UND Center for Community Engagement

Patrick Miller, writer/editor
Office of University Relations

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