Carnegie Foundation Recognizes UW Tacoma Community Engagement

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Collaborations with hundreds of regional partners garner all three UW campuses the coveted Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

The University of Washington Tacoma, along with UW campuses in Seattle and Bothell, is among the 119 U.S. higher education institutions to receive the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification this year, an elective designation that indicates institutional commitment to community engagement.

The designations were announced by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, an education policy and research center established by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1905.

Carnegie Foundation Elective Community Engagement Classification - sealThe classification is awarded following a process of self-study by each institution, which is then assessed by a national review committee led by the Swearer Center for Public Engagement at Brown University, the administrative and research home for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

“I am not at all surprised, and incredibly proud, that we got the classification,” said UW Tacoma Chancellor Mark A. Pagano. “It is the South Sound community that willed us into existence 30 years ago. That same community, with all its densely connected networks, has been at our side as we have grown and is right there with us now as we look to the future.”

The designation provides an important external validation of UW Tacoma’s urban-serving mission. That mission calls on the campus to foster teaching, scholarship, research and creativity to address the challenging problems of our time and place; to partner and collaborate for the common good; and to catalyze the economic and social vitality of our region.

“As we grow, we extend our roots ever more deeply into the larger South Sound region,” said Dr. Ali Modarres, Assistant Chancellor for Community Partnerships. “With the deeper relationships comes a deeper accountability. If we are to thrive and prosper, so must our community, and vice versa.”

The assessments across each of the three UW campuses identified hundreds of examples of partnerships that embody the definition of community engagement that the Carnegie Foundation puts forth.

Partnership with JBLM

For example, a collaboration between Joint Base Lewis-McChord and UW Tacoma provides transition opportunities for soldiers and airmen departing from the military and moving into civilian life. In addition, UW Tacoma partners with the base and its command structure on initiatives that result in it being a better place for local military members and their families to live, work, play and learn. Almost 20% of the UW Tacoma student body is military-connected: veterans, active-duty or family of active-duty.

Partnerships for K-12 Education

Through the Whole Child Initiative and the Action Mapping Project (AMP), UW Tacoma and Tacoma Public Schools have been working to address the need to increase academic excellence, school safety, and social and emotional learning throughout the school district and among the youth of Tacoma. Graduate Tacoma is a network of 265 community partners, including UW Tacoma, that works to support student success in Tacoma schools.

Partnership with Infoblox

The School of Engineering & Technology (SET) and Infoblox, a Bay Area-headquartered cybersecurity company with a major engineering center in Tacoma, have launched a research and educational collaboration. Company scientists and SET faculty and students partner on research to advance computer and network security. Students get real-world experience through internships and a gateway into full-time jobs.

Partnerships for the Healthcare Careers Academy

In 2018, UW Tacoma partnered with MultiCare, Tacoma Public Schools, CHI Franciscan, the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma Community College, Bates Technical College, Goodwill Industries and the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation to launch a new Healthcare Careers Academy at Tacoma's Stadium High School.

Partnership with Greater Tacoma Community Foundation

The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation serves as a hub for partnerships across the South Sound. The UW Tacoma collaboration extends from fundraising for student scholarships to faculty and student research efforts on joint community projects. Activities include supporting the Whole Child Initiative through a significant grant from the Wallace Foundation, and enviromental science and sustainabillity efforts at the Center for Urban Waters.

The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification has been the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in U.S. higher education for the past 14 years with multiple classification cycles in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2015 and 2020.

The UW’s three campuses join other Washington universities in achieving the distinction, including Washington State University, Western Washington University, Gonzaga University and Seattle University. Classified institutions have the opportunity to reclassify every six years by showing how their community engagement work has deepened and broadened across the campus. UW Tacoma already is capitalizing on the assessments to build on its community-engaged research, teaching and service, paving the way for greater impact in the years to come.

Written by: 
John Burkhardt / January 31, 2020
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or