Resources from 2015 Cycle and Earlier

2015 Classification

The Carnegie Foundation selected 240 U.S. colleges and universities to receive its 2015 Community Engagement Classification. Of this number, 83 institutions received the classification for the first time, while 157 were re-classified, after being classified originally in 2006 or 2008. These 240 institutions join the 121 institutions that earned the classification during the 2010 selection process. Currently, a total of 361 campuses have the Community Engagement Classification.


Among first-time recipients of the classification, 47 are public institutions and 36 are private.  In terms of Carnegie’s Basic Classification, 29 are classified as research universities, 28 are master’s colleges and universities, 17 are baccalaureate colleges, three are community colleges and five institutions have a specialized focus—arts, medicine and other health professions. They represent campuses in 33 states and U.S. territories.


Campuses that were not successful in the 2015 classification process received general feedback from the Foundation. Classified campuses received feedback noting that even among the most effective applications, there are four areas of practice in need of continued development.

1.    The assessment practices required by the Community Engagement Classification must meet a broad range of purposes: assessing community perceptions of institutional engagement; tracking and recording of institution-wide engagement data; assessment of the impact of community engagement on students, faculty, community and institution; identification and assessment of student learning outcomes in curricular engagement; and ongoing feedback mechanisms for partnerships. That range of purposes calls for sophisticated understandings and approaches to achieve the respective assessment goals. We urge institutions to continue to develop assessment toward those ends.

2.    Partnerships require a high level of understanding and intentional practices specifically directed to reciprocity and mutuality. Campuses have begun to attend to processes of initiating and nurturing collaborative, two-way partnerships and are developing strategies for systematic communication. Maintaining authentically collaborative, mutually beneficial partnerships takes ongoing commitment and we urge institutions to continue their attention to this critical aspect of community engagement.

3.    With regard to faculty rewards for roles in community engagement, it is difficult to create a campus culture of community engagement when there are not clearly articulated incentives for faculty to prioritize this work. We would like to see more examples of campuses that provide evidence of clear policies for recognizing community engagement in teaching and learning, and in research and creative activity, along with criteria that validate appropriate methodologies and scholarly artifacts. We urge Community Engagement institutions to initiate study, dialogue and reflection to promote and reward the scholarship of engagement more fully.

4.    Community engagement offers often-untapped possibilities for alignment with other campus priorities and initiatives to achieve greater impact—for example, first-year programs that include community engagement; learning communities in which community engagement is integrated into the design; or diversity initiatives that explicitly link active and collaborative community-based teaching and learning with the academic success of underrepresented students. There remain significant opportunities for campuses to develop collaborative internal practices that integrate disparate initiatives into more coherent community engagement efforts.

2010 Classification

In January 2010, the call for applications for Carnegie’s elective Community Engagement Classification was announced. Interested institutions were asked to register to apply by March 1, 2010. Three-hundred five (305) institutions registered and on April 1 applications were sent to those colleges and universities. By the Sept. 1 deadline, one-hundred fifty-one (151) institutions had withdrawn from the application process, primarily declaring a lack of readiness for the classification requirements. One hundred fifty-four (154) institutions did apply and the review process was conducted through Dec. 1.

The National Advisory Panel served as consultants in the review process to the classification team at the New England Resource Center for Higher Education of John Saltmarsh and Consulting Scholar Amy Driscoll. One hundred fifteen (115) institutions were successfully classified in Community Engagement, while thirty-two (32) institutions were not classified in this process. Five (5) campuses that had previously received the classification under the category of Outreach and Partnerships added the category of Curricular Engagement. One (1) campus that had previously received the classification under the category of Curricular Engagement added the category of Outreach and Partnerships. (Starting with 2010, there are no longer any separate classification categories – all campus applications have to be successful in both Curricular Engagement and Outreach and Partnerships.)

Of the one-hundred fifteen (115) successfully classified institutions, sixty-one (61) are public institutions and fifty-four (54) are private; thirty-seven (37) are classified in Carnegie’s Basic Classification as research universities, forty (40) are master’s colleges and universities, twenty-eight (28) are baccalaureate colleges, six (6) are community colleges and four (4) institutions have a specialized focus – arts, medicine, technology. The classified institutions represent campuses in thirty-four (34) states. 2010 Classified Campus Data (PDF).

2006 and 2008 Classifications

In 2006 and 2008, campuses could seek the classification in three categories: Curricular Engagement, Outreach and Partnerships or both Curricular Engagement and Outreach and Partnerships. For 2010, campuses seeking the Community Engagement Classification were no longer able to apply under Curricular Engagement only or Outreach and Partnerships only; there is only one classification that includes substantial commitments in the areas of Curricular Engagement and Outreach and Partnerships. A small number of campuses that received the classification under either Curricular Engagement only or Outreach and Partnerships only submitted applications in 2010 for the additional category. Clicking on the highlighted links below will take you to a list of the campuses in the particular category.

Curricular Engagement (2006 and 2008) includes institutions where teaching, learning and scholarship 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 & Partnerships (2006 and 2008) includes institutions that provided compelling evidence of one or both of two approaches to community engagement. Outreach focuses on the application and provision of institutional resources for community use with benefits to both campus and community. Partnerships 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 (2006, 2008, and 2010) includes institutions with substantial commitments in both areas described above.

Note: For 2010 (and beyond), campuses seeking the Community Engagement Classification will no longer be able to apply under Curricular Engagement only or Outreach and Partnerships only, which was the case in 2006 and 2008; there is only one classification that includes substantial commitments in the areas of Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships.