Carnegie Classification

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What is the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification?

The Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement is the Foundation’s only elective classification, meaning that it requires a voluntary application process by institutions. It is supplemental to the Foundation’s main category (UW Tacoma and Bothell are both M1 institutions; UW Seattle is an R1). Initial classifications were awarded in 2010 and applicants were considered for renewal or new classification in 2015. The next cycle is in 2020, with applications due in April 2019. The classification is for a 10-year period.

This classification is not simply an “award.” It requires evidence-based documentation of institutional practice to be used in a process of self-assessment and constant quality improvement for community engagement. The documentation is reviewed by the Foundation to determine whether the institution qualifies for recognition as a community engaged institution. UW Tacoma, UW Bothell, and UW Seattle are applying separately for the classification as required by the Foundation’s process.

How does the Carnegie Foundation define Community Engagement?

“Community engagement describes 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.

The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.”

Why is UW Tacoma pursuing the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification for 2020?

As stated in our strategic plan, we recognize that the most successful UW Tacoma community partnerships are transformative and result in each partner achieving more together then they can alone. Our pursuit of the Carnegie Classification is our way of acknowledging this fact and is both a means and an end. It is a means of becoming more intentional and systematic as an institution about how we develop community engagement infrastructure in alignment with national best practices, including institutional partnership strategy, faculty rewards, curricular integration, and assessment of outcomes for students, faculty, partners, and the institution. It is an end in that it enables us to become a visible member of a national learning community made up of institutions that share our commitment to community engagement.

In other words, it is a means to the end of ensuring that we actually practice what we say is “part of our DNA of being borne of an engaged community” and that we are consistently reflecting upon and improving our practice in collaboration with others.

How is the UW Tacoma application process being organized?

In November 2017, Chancellor Pagano charged the Assistant Chancellor for Community Engagement to organize and lead a Community Engagement Council (CEC) whose primary charge is to serve as the campus’s consultative body for issues pertaining to our public engagement agenda. As such, select CEC members serve as the Leadership body of the Carnegie application process responsible for developing sections of the application that deal with institutional issues including identity and culture, communication, and Community Engagement outreach and initiatives. The leadership team will manage the application process overseeing the timeline and deliverables. The team is led by Linda Ishem, Assistant Chancellor for Community Engagement and includes Chancellor Pagano, Bonnie Becker, and Lisa Isozaki.

Substantive work on the application will be completed by five working groups aligned with the primary focus areas of the Carnegie application. The working groups will be responsible for drafting significant portions of the application with iterative review by CEC members and the Carnegie Leadership Team. Final application review and editing will then be completed by the Assistant Chancellor for Community Engagement with key support from the Office of Strategy and Assessment, Office of Research, and Office of Advancement.

The five working groups are:

  1. Infrastructure
  2. Faculty and Staff
  3. Curricular Integration and Student Success
  4. Assessment
  5. Strategic Partnerships

What is the application timeline?

Formation of Carnegie Leadership Team and Working Groups June 2018
Working Group meetings and project deliverables July – September 2018
Drafting of application October – January 2019
Final review and editing February - March 2019
Application deadline April 15, 2019
Campus notifications December 2019
Public announcement of 2020 Carnegie Community Engaged Institutions January 2020

Carnegie–Identified Institutional Motivations

  • Institutional self-assessment — a way to bring the disparate parts of the campus together in a way that advances a cohesive and strategic agenda. At the same time it allows for the identification of promising practices that can be shared across the institution.
  • Legitimacy — national public recognition for UW Tacoma’s teaching, scholarship, and service.
  • Accountability — a way to demonstrate that the institution is fulfilling its vision and mission partnering and collaborating with our community partners for common good.
  • Catalyst for Change — a tool for fostering institutional alignment for community-based teaching, learning, and scholarship.
  • Institutional Identity — the classification is a way to clarify institutional identity and mission as an urban-serving institution.