Capital University is one of the 119 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, an elective designation that indicates institutional commitment to community engagement, the Carnegie Foundation has announced.
This important classification is awarded following a process of self-study by each institution, which is then assessed by a national review committee led by the Swearer Center for Public Engagement at Brown University, the administrative and research home for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.
“This classification signifies that Capital is a national leader in community-engaged learning that is collaborative, ongoing and reciprocal - benefiting students in their learning outcomes and community partners in fulling their missions,” explained Dr. Stephanie Gray Wilson, assistant provost for Experiential Learning at Capital, who led the team that applied for the classification. “It’s also comprehensive, reflecting community engagement work that takes place at the undergraduate level, and in graduate programs at the Bexley campus, Trinity Lutheran Seminary and the Law School.”
While the roots of community engagement run deep at Capital, documenting, assessing and formalizing those activities - and centrally planning for their growth and improvement - is a new endeavor. Being recognized by the Carnegie Foundation, which set the gold standard for quality community engagement, is a major accomplishment. Only 40 percent of first-time applicants succeed in receiving the classification.
The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification has been the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in U.S. higher education for the past 14 years with multiple classification cycles in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2015 and 2020.
Of the 119 institutions classified in the 2020 cycle, 44 - including Capital - are receiving the classification for the first time while 75 are now re-classified after being classified originally in 2010 or 2015. These 119 institutions join the 240 institutions that earned the classification during the 2015 selection process, for a total of 359 campuses that are currently active holders of this important designation. Among the 2020 recipients of the classification, 67 are public institutions and 52, like Capital, are private. For Carnegie’s Basic Classification, 52 are classified as research universities, 39 are master’s colleges and universities - including Capital. Twenty-two are baccalaureate colleges, three are community colleges, and three institutions have a specialized focus-arts, medicine, and other health professions. They represent campuses in 37 states and U.S. territories.
Following the guidelines of the Carnegie Foundation, Capital University defines community engagement as the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in the context of partnership and reciprocity. A Civic/Community-Engaged (CE) class is one that works with a community partner on a challenge or issue identified by the community partner. This can be done as the full focus of the class or as a significant project within a larger curriculum. In CE designated classes, all students must participate in the community engaged project, although what this looks like for each student may vary. Some courses fulfill this more indirectly through research or civic action and less time working directly with a community partner. Some do this through hands-on projects where students spend a significant amount of time at a community partner doing direct service and special projects. The format will depend on the instructor, the community partner, and the nature of the class, discipline and community issue. At least 25% of the course content and assessment focuses on civic and/or community engaged learning. This may include activities that occur in-class, out-of-class and/or in the community.