Colorado State University is one of 157 colleges and universities reclassified as a community engaged university in 2015 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This is in addition to CSU’s existing classification as a Carnegie doctoral research university (very high research activity), according to the Carnegie Institutions of Higher Education classification system.
CSU received its initial engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation in 2008. Unlike the Foundation’s other classifications that rely on national data, engagement is an “elective” classification — institutions participate voluntarily by submitting required materials describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community. In order to be selected, institutions must provide proof of institutionalized practices of community engagement that show alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.
In 2014, CSU was also selected for the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The Honor Roll annually highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes in the communities they serve.
Important core mission
“Engagement is among the most important core missions for land-grant universities like Colorado State,” said CSU President Tony Frank. “Meeting the needs of Colorado citizens for information and service has been paramount for CSU for more than a century. These two classifications – community engagement and community service – offer well-earned recognition of our faculty’s commitment to serving Colorado and to our overall strength in outreach and programming across the university.”
Other universities receiving the Carnegie Community Engagement classification in 2015 include Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Oregon State University, the Pennsylvania State University, and Texas Tech University.
“The importance of the Carnegie elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national, and global communities,” said John Saltmarsh, director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE). “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”
“This is the first time that there has been a reclassification process,” noted Amy Driscoll, Consulting Scholar for the Community Engagement Classification, “and we are seeing renewed institutional commitment, advanced curricular and assessment practices, and deeper community partnerships, all sustained through changes in campus leadership, and within the context of a devastating economic recession.”
“The CSU Office of Engagement is an active state and national partner in university engagement,” said Lou Swanson, Vice President for Engagement. “CSU is a member of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, and active in APLU’s Council on Engagement and Outreach. Engagement has a long legacy at Colorado State — CSU Extension celebrated 100 years of service in 2010.”
The current Office of Engagement was established in 2006 to integrate and expand outreach, community development, online learning, and the scholarship of engagement. Programs are connected through units including CSU Extension, the Colorado Water Institute, CSU OnlinePlus, and the Office of Community and Economic Development.
The Carnegie 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 (now housed at Indiana University Bloomington’s Center for Postsecondary Research) continues to be used for a wide range of purposes by academic researchers, institutional personnel, policymakers and others.
A complete listing of institutions that hold the Community Engagement Classification can be found on NERCHE’s website.