Elon selected for new Carnegie classification recognizing community engagement

Read this note to learn more about Elon's selection for The Carnegie Foundation's Community Engagement Classification, which recognizes the university's commitment to community service...

Elon University is included in a new classification that recognizes colleges and universities for their commitment to community engagement. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has released the list of 76 U.S. schools that are included in the new Community Engagement Classification. Colleges and universities applied for inclusion in the new classification by submitting an application that gave examples of community engagement in their mission, culture, leadership and practices.
Elon was chosen for a subcategory recognizing schools that have made substantial commitments to curricular engagement, community outreach and community partnerships. These universities have curricula that address community-identified needs, deepen students’ civic and academic learning and enhance community well-being. These schools also commit institutional resources for community projects that benefit the campus as well as the surrounding community, and collaborate with their local communities to share research, scholarship and information for the public good.
“The Community Engagement classification is an exciting move in Carnegie’s work to extend and refine the classification of colleges and universities,” said Alexander McCormick, who directs Carnegie’s classification work. “It represents a significant affirmation of the importance of community engagement in the agenda of higher education.”
Smith Jackson, vice president for student life and dean of students, and Nancy Midgette, associate provost, served with representatives from 12 other colleges and universities to help The Carnegie Foundation create the framework for the new classification.
“This new classification system will encourage colleges and universities to increase their commitment to prepare students for lives of civic engagement and fulfill their public service missions through mutually beneficial relationships with community partners,” Jackson said.
Midgette says the new classification validates an important part of Elon’s mission.
“For Elon, inclusion in this classification signifies that community engagement is a core value shared by students, faculty and staff,” Midgette says. “It is part of the fabric of who we are as an academic community.”
Elon was recently named one of the nation’s top three universities for community service, earning a Presidential Award in the first President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Nearly 90 percent of Elon students participate in service activities during their time at the university, working through the Kernodle Center for Service Learning, academic service-learning courses, the student-run Elon Volunteers, fraternities and sororities and 27 other student organizations. More than 2,800 Elon students participated in a variety of community service projects during the 2005-2006 academic year, contributing more than 88,000 hours of service. Approximately 350 students contributed more than 8,000 hours of service to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Students, faculty and staff made five relief trips to Bay St. Louis, Miss., and raised $53,000 in cash and in-kind donations for hurricane victims.
Community engagement is emphasized in the classroom at Elon. During the past year, 28 faculty members taught 37 service-learning courses that allowed students to apply discipline-specific knowledge to community issues, contributing more than 21,000 hours of service locally and internationally.
Elon is taking an active role in assisting Cummings High School in Burlington, one of 44 high schools designated as low-performing by the state of North Carolina. Students, faculty and staff are lending their time and talents to enhance the learning environment and student performance at Cummings.
The university will also launch the Elon Academy in summer 2007, an intensive enrichment and leadership development program for academically talented students in the Alamance-Burlington school system who may not be considering higher education. 

Read the Carnegie Foundation’s news release at the link below…