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Carnegie's Community Engagement Classification

The Community Engagement Classification recognizes higher education’s commitment to involvement with society. Obtaining the nationally recognized classification reaffirms institutional commitment to deepening the practice of service and to strengthening bonds between campus and community.

Carnegie 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.

An elective classification, institutions must apply to be listed. Of the 133 new applications submitted in 2015, 83 earned the classification. Currently 361 U.S. higher education institutions have won the designation. In 2015, 157 institutions that had first gained the recognition in 2006 or 2008 were continued and the 2010 selection process awarded the classification to 121 institutions.

Texas has a dozen institutions on the list, including Angelo State University, Sam Houston State University, the University of Arlington at Texas and Texas Tech. Gaining the classification is an objective of the Tarleton Strategic Plan.

The application process requires institutions to provide extensive data that supports their level of engagement with their communities. The next opportunity to apply for the classification comes in 2019.

Benefits of the process of applying for and earning the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification include:

  1. Provides a compelling point of distinction when recruiting students, pursuing external research funding and working with potential donors;
  2. Promotes expansion of scholarship, creative activities, initiatives and projects that bring faculty, staff, students and other resources to bear on addressing community needs at the regional, state, national and global levels;
  3. Establishes a structure and a future vision for nurturing what is distinctive about Tarleton;
  4. Allows evaluation of and support for programs responsible for enriching teaching and learning, increasing student motivation, generating successful academic partnerships and measuring the impact of outreach and service;
  5. Offers student opportunities to enrich learning by linking theory to context, enhancing a sense of civic responsibility, developing personal and interpersonal strengths and promoting an appreciation for diversity;
  6. Propels Tarleton beyond its current aspirational peer institutions;
    1. Gives Tarleton affirmative external validation for our ongoing commitment to and culture of community engagement;
    2. Fosters celebrating successes, further deepening existing community partnerships, and building opportunities for future partnerships;
    3. Clarifies messages about our mission and brings enthusiasm to community engagement and service learning overall;
    4. Helps provide a narrative when sharing our remarkable story of engagement and illustrates how Tarleton, collaboratively with our partners, makes a difference well beyond our footprint locally, regionally and globally; and
    5. Enables the university to reflect on how well our institutional priorities, programs, core values, and the assessment of student learning outcomes align with evidence-based community engagement standards.

In order to meet the criteria for the classification, Tarleton has engaged the help of a diverse, campus-wide committee. Dr. Denae Dorris, director for academic outreach and engagement, will lead the effort, and the Carnegie Steering committee will work with members of the university community to collate evidence of Tarleton’s commitment to community engagement.