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Clayton State Selected for Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching 2015 Community Engagement Classification

Clayton State Selected for Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching 2015 Community Engagement Classification

Jan 13 2015

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has announced the selection of 240 U.S. colleges and universities to receive its 2015 Community Engagement Classification. Included in this important designation for the first time is Clayton State University.

Of 240 institutions so-named, 83 are receiving the classification for the first time, while 157 are now 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. Of the 361 total institutions nationwide with the 2015 Community Engagement Classification, 10 are from Georgia, and five, including Clayton State, are institutions of the University System of Georgia.

“The receipt of the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation reflects excellent work by our campus and so many of our colleagues and students,” says Clayton State President Dr. Thomas Hynes. “It also reflects the achievement of a goal of our strategic planning process that advances our mission, in part committing us to cultivate `…an environment of engaged, experienced based learning, enriched by active community service…’”

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. Unlike the Foundation's other classifications that rely on national data, this is an "elective" classification -- institutions participated voluntarily by submitting required materials describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond. 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," says John Saltmarsh, director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE). "These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions."

To achieve the 2015 Community Engagement Classification, Clayton State provided documentation on both the University’s curricular engagement and outreach and partnership efforts, both of which also track to Clayton State Quality Enhancement Program, PACE (Partnering Academics and Community Engagement), a requirement of the University’s recent reaffirmation of accreditation with SACSCOC.

According to a letter to Clayton State Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Robert Vaughan, who led the University’s efforts to attain the classification, “Your application documented excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement, and it responded to the classification framework with both descriptions and examples of exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement. The application also documented evidence of community engagement in a coherent and compelling response to the framework’s inquiry.”

Central to the classification process is a "documentation framework" developed by a team of advisors to help applicants (and reviewers) assess the nature of an institution's community engagement commitments. This year, 241 first-time applicants registered to receive the application, 133 institutions submitted applications, and 83 were successfully classified as community engaged institutions. Similarly, 188 campuses were eligible for re-classification, 162 submitted an application, and 157 were successfully re-classified. 

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. 

The Foundation, through the work of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, developed the first typology of American colleges and universities in 1970 as a research tool to describe and represent the diversity of U.S. higher education. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education (now housed at Indiana University Bloomington's Center for Postsecondary Research) continues to be used for a wide range of purposes by academic researchers, institutional personnel, policymakers and others.

A listing of the institutions that hold the Community Engagement Classification can be found on NERCHE's website.

For more information, please contact Saltmarsh at; (617) 287-7743, or Amy Driscoll, consulting scholar for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification (

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to developing networks of ideas, individuals, and institutions to advance teaching and learning. We join together scholars, practitioners, and designers in new ways to solve problems of educational practice. Toward this end, we work to integrate the discipline of improvement science into education with the goal of building the field's capacity to improve.

The New England Resource Center for Higher Education is committed to collaborative change processes in higher education to address social justice in a diverse democracy.

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