08:17 AM

Ohio State recognized for community engagement by the Carnegie Foundation

The Ohio State University has earned the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s 2015 Community Engagement Classification. The honor recognizes the university for its extensive engagement programming and how its mission, culture, curriculum and resources are structured to support high-impact community engagement.

“As a land-grant university, Ohio State must ensure that our teaching, research and service are relevant and useful to the citizens of Ohio, our nation and the world,” President Michael V. Drake said. “This affirmation of our efforts by the Carnegie Foundation speaks to the impact of the engagement between our faculty, staff, students and community partners every day.”

It is the second time Ohio State has earned this important designation, with the first coming in 2008. Universities designated in 2006 and 2008 were invited to participate in the foundation’s first re-classification process for 2015.

“What we re-discovered through this process is that community outreach and engagement scholarship is a significant and unique quality of our institution,” Vice President for Outreach and Engagement Valerie Lee said. “The spirit of our land-grant heritage remains vibrant and alive, and it is that spirit that will continue to sustain our status as an ‘engaged university’ in the 21st century and beyond.”

Unlike the Carnegie 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. 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 (NERCHE), which serves as Carnegie's “administrative partner” for the purpose of managing and administering the Community Engagement Classification process. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”

Central to the classification process is a “documentation framework” developed by a team of advisers to help applicants (and reviewers) assess the nature of an institution’s community engagement commitments.

“This is the first time that there has been a re-classification process,” noted Amy Driscoll, consulting scholar for the Community Engagement Classification, “and we are seeing renewed institutional commitment, advanced curricular and assessment practices and deeper community partnerships, all sustained through changes in campus leadership, and within the context of a devastating economic recession.”

Ohio State’s newly received classification will run through 2025, at which time the university will be required to apply for re-classification.

A list of the institutions that have earned the Community Engagement Classification can be found on NERCHE’s website.

More information is available at http://go.osu.edu/2015carnegie.