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How do you get to Carnegie classification? … (Sustainable) practice.

Long an advocate for genuine external partnerships, MSU Denver seeks official distinction for community engagement.

December 5, 2016

What the NCAA and NAIA are to college athletics, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is to colleges and universities. A snapshot into current research and teaching efforts, it provides a benchmark for collective vision and strategy.

One part of this educational taxonomy is the Community Engagement Classification, an elective distinction schools can apply for. This evidence-driven designation serves as an indicator for institutions committed to civic involvement and showcases reciprocal collaboration at the local, regional and (inter)national level. And, according to Mark Potter, Ph.D, associate vice president of Undergraduate Studies, inclusion in this area would place the University in a group of peer institutions who share a similar mission.

“[This] classification is an external affirmation of our commitment to community engagement,” said Potter.

Set to apply in 2019 for receipt in 2020, MSU Denver has been working with Boston-based nonprofit Campus Compact to reaffirm commitment to local and regional stewardship. The University has joined more than 500 institutions in signing an action statement and is committing to the creation of Campus Compact’s Civic Action Plan, expected to be finalized this upcoming March.

Campus Compact’s website says the Civic Action Plan aims to operationalize five goals: empower campus communities; prepare students for engaged citizenry; embrace and enable community wellness in all forms; harness institutional strength to confront inequality; and foster environments committed to the public role of higher education.

Given MSU Denver’s ongoing commitment to the community-driven tenets found in its Strategic Plan 2020, Potter described how achieving this designation is a natural overlay to a school firmly nested in a tradition of sustainably engaging the citizenry of Denver – and beyond.

“Any preeminent urban institution needs to be deeply engaged as an anchor institution in the community it serves,” said Potter.

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