Carnegie Foundation cites BGSU for engagement

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Bowling Green State University is among five U.S. colleges and universities nationally whose curricular engagement with the community has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

The Stanford, Calif., foundation, which has used national data to classify higher education institutions since 1970, recently created its first elective classification, for community engagement, requiring applications for consideration.

From 88 applicants, 76 institutions were chosen and classified in one of three categories, including curricular engagement, which the foundation describes as “teaching, learning and scholarship which 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.”

In addition to BGSU, California State University-Monterey Bay and three private colleges—Pitzer, in Claremont, Calif.; Spelman, in Atlanta, and Tusculum, in Greeneville, Tenn., earned the curricular engagement designation.

"I am delighted that we were able to secure the ‘community engaged university' classification for our campus, particularly in the area of curricular engagement,” said Sandra A. MacNevin, director of the BGSU Office of Engagement.

“This past year our priority in the Engagement Initiative at BGSU has focused on pedagogies of engagement, including community and service learning, cooperative education, internships, study abroad, study away and other pedagogical approaches that engage our faculty, students and staff in partnerships and collaborations with the external community,” she continued. “It is a great achievement to be recognized nationally for our efforts in this area, and to be included in the inaugural group of universities that has been classified this year as community engaged institutions."

The other engagement categories are outreach and partnerships, in which the University of Cincinnati and Kent State University are among nine designees, and a category for institutions with “substantial commitments” in both curricular engagement and outreach and partnerships. That list includes 62 colleges and universities but none from Ohio.

“Finding new and better ways to connect with their communities should be a high priority for higher education institutions today,” said Lee Shulman, president of the Carnegie Foundation. “The campuses participating in this elective classification provide useful models of engagement around teaching and learning and around research agendas that benefit from collaborative relationships.”

By requiring descriptive documentation the foundation indicated it was able “to address elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness that are not represented in the national data on colleges and universities.”

To be selected in any of the three categories, institutions had to provide descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement demonstrating an alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.

# # #

(Posted December 27, 2006 )