Carnegie Foundation Cites Springfield College with Community Engagement Classification
February 4, 2009
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Feb. 4, 2009 – The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected Springfield College as one of 119 U.S. institutions of higher learning to receive its Community Engagement Classification. They join 76 institutions selected in 2006.
The classification recognizes Springfield College for exemplary community involvement. The college was cited for a curriculum that involves students and faculty in addressing community needs, and for outreach and partnerships that benefit both the community and the campus.
Responding to the notification, Springfield College Vice President for Academic Affairs Jean A. Wyld said, “This new classification is highly respected and valued at Springfield College. The essence of a Springfield College education is preparing students for careers and personal lives that improve the lives of other people. This new classification attests to that.”
In a letter to Springfield College President Richard B. Flynn, Carnegie Consulting Scholar Amy Driscoll, who directs the community engagement classification process, and Chun-Mei Zhao, director of Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, wrote, “Your application documented excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement, and you were able to respond to the classification framework with both descriptions and examples of exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement.”
Among examples of curricular community engagement that the college submitted is the fact that all 18 academic departments involve students in learning through community service that is related to their studies. Included in examples of community outreach and partnerships is the Springfield College AmeriCorps program, in which students are academic coaches for school children, and counselors and health case managers for community agencies, and perform other vital leadership functions for service organizations.
The Carnegie Foundation introduced the new community engagement classification in 2006 as part of restructuring The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The basic classifications rely on national data to categorize all U.S. colleges and universities by what they teach, characteristics of their student body, and their size and location. It is popularly known as the source of categories of institutions in the “U.S.News & World Report” annual “America’s Best Colleges” issue.
Unlike the foundation’s basic classifications, the community engagement classification is elective. Institutions may apply by documenting the nature and extent of their involvement with the community, local or beyond. The category enables the foundation to address characteristics of the institution’s mission and distinctiveness that are not represented in national data.
According to Carnegie President Anthony S. Bryk, “We hope that by acknowledging the commitment and accomplishment of these engaged institutions, the foundation will encourage other colleges and universities to move in this direction. Doing so brings benefits to the community and to the institution.”