UNC Earns Community Engagement Status from Carnegie Foundation

The national organization known for classifying colleges and universities based on institution type has selected the University of Northern Colorado as one of 240 U.S. colleges and universities to receive Community Engagement Classification in 2015.

UNC is one of only three universities in Colorado to hold the designation from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (Colorado State and the University of Denver are the others.)

Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification, first offered in 2006 as part of an extensive restructuring of The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

"This is an important recognition that reaffirms what we know is UNC's distinctive identity and educational experience," said Deborah Romero, director of Engagement and associate professor of ESL and Bilingual Education at UNC. Romero led efforts to complete and submit the application, which highlights UNC's institutional commitment and engagement initiatives that include:

  • Academic and scholarly engagement as evidenced in the curriculum through community-engaged and field-based learning, internships and practica experiences that impact students and communities. And also reflected in the excellence of UNC's engaged faculty research and scholarship in the public interest.
  • Co-curricular engagement opportunities that connect students to communities through events such as Bears Pay-it-Forward and Alternative Spring Break.
  • Outreach and partnerships that reflect a vested commitment to support and engage with local communities as evidenced through the University District and events like Community Fest, together with over 20 community- oriented learning and professional development centers.

For more information on Community and Civic Engagement at UNC, visit www.unco.edu/cce.

The Carnegie Foundation, which has overseen management of academic designations for colleges and universities, is widely considered the leading framework for recognizing and describing the diverse types of institutions in U.S. higher education over the past four decades. That includes UNC, which is described by Carnegie as a doctoral granting, research university.

Unlike Carnegie's other classifications that rely on national data, the Community Engagement Classification is "elective" — institutions participated voluntarily by submitting required materials describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community. This approach enabled the Foundation to address elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness that are not represented in the national data on colleges and universities.

"The importance of this 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, home of the Community Engagement Classification. "These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions."

The full listing of schools with Community Engagement Classification is available to download as a PDF here.