Carnegie selects ISU for new Community Engagement classification

December 6 2006

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has named Indiana State University to a new classification of colleges and universities that focuses on community engagement.

Indiana State is one of only two institutions in Indiana, and only 62 in the nation, included in a new Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships category that recognizes substantial commitments to both an academic approach to mutually beneficial and respectful community collaboration and extensive outreach and partnerships.

An additional 14 institutions are included in separate categories of either Curricular Engagement or Outreach and Partnerships.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment for our campus," said ISU President Lloyd W. Benjamin III. "Being among only 62 institutions across the country to obtain the classification in both areas is compelling evidence of the progress we have made in implementing the strategic goals we defined nearly six years ago. The results are transforming the experiences our students have in ways that will impact them long after they leave our campus."

Alexander McCormick, who directs Carnegie's classification work, called the new classification "an exciting move in Carnegie's work to extend and refine the classification of colleges and universities. It represents a significant affirmation of the importance of community engagement in the agenda of higher education."

Institutions were classified in one of three categories:

* Curricular Engagement describes teaching, learning and scholarship which engage faculty, students and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration. Their interactions address community-identified needs, deepen students' civic and academic learning, enhance community well-being and enrich the scholarship of the institution.

* Outreach and Partnerships describes two different but related approaches to community engagement. The first focuses on the application and provision of institutional resources for community use with benefits to both campus and community. The latter focuses on collaborative interactions with community and related scholarship for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration and application of knowledge, information and resources (research, capacity building, economic development, etc.).

* Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships includes institutions with substantial commitments in both areas.

Institutions had to provide descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.

According to ISU?s Center for Public Service and Community Engagement, from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006, more than 5,400 Indiana State students were engaged in community service programs and activities ranging from constructing a house for Habitat for Humanity and painting a mural at the Terre Haute Boys and Girls Club to tutoring struggling young readers through the Indiana Reading Corps. Of those students, more than 1,900 contributed more than 20 hours during that term.

The activities are only part of a much larger picture, said Nancy Rogers, director of the Center for Public Service and Community Engagement (CPSCE).

"Our students, staff and faculty members are committed to the community. While applying what they have learned in the classroom, they see the value to the organizations they are working with and to themselves. From learning new skills to seeing other ways to apply their degree, it enhances their learning experience. From our standpoint, through the participation in community engagement activities, the level of interaction between our students and faculty has increased," Rogers said.

CPSCE has many partners in support of the institution?s commitment to community service, including the Office of Sponsored Programs and many academic departments.

The Office of Sponsored Programs provides the opportunity for faculty and staff to designate their grants as having a community engagement focus. During the 2005-2006 fiscal year, 93 projects with a community engagement focus were funded. Those projects totaled more than $4.6 million.

The academic departments are doing their part as well. Seventy-five percent of Indiana State?s major programs provide at least one experience for their students in the community engagement area.

"Finding new and better ways to connect with their communities should be a high priority for higher education institutions today," said Lee S. Shulman, president of the Carnegie Foundation. "The campuses participating in this elective classification provide useful models of engagement around teaching and learning and around research agendas that benefit from collaborative relationships."

In addition to the new elective classification, the Carnegie Foundation continues to recognize Indiana State as a research-intensive doctoral university.

This is the second time this year ISU has been recognized nationally for its community engagement efforts. In October, Indiana State was named to the first President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for distinguished community service in recognition of its volunteer efforts to Gulf Coast communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and overall community service activities.

"I'm elated that ISU has received this designation. I hope, through the support of the campus and the community, that we can build on our successes and continue to pursue other collaborative efforts," Rogers added.

Contact: Nancy Rogers, Center for Public Service and Community Engagement, 812.237.2335 or nancyrogers@indstate.edu

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812.237.3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu

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The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has named Indiana State University to a new classification of colleges and universities that focuses on community engagement.

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