University Receives Prestigious Designation from Carnegie Foundation

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has reaffirmed UNC Charlotte’s community engagement classification, which the University earned originally in 2008.

Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification, which is an "elective" process, unlike the Carnegie Foundation’s other classifications that rely on national data. To receive community engagement classification, institutions voluntarily submit required materials that describe the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond.

As part of the application process, the University outlined how it continued to integrate community engagement into the overall day-to-day programming of the institution.

Since its initial classification in 2008, the University completed its quality enhancement plan "Prospect for Success," which includes a focus on service-learning to prepare students to become civic-minded individuals through curricula that incorporate service and field-based learning.

In 2010, UNC Charlotte was one of five institutions selected by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities to develop a prototype of civic education, which is the University’s Civic Minor in Urban Youth and Communities.

Community service hours are required by many of the 350-plus student organizations and other campus programs. Also, the University established the Office of Off-campus and Volunteer Outreach, and the University Career Center broadened its mission to include service-learning initiatives.

The UNC Charlotte Faculty Council has moved to revise the institution’s tenure and promotion guidelines to reflect the University’s commitment to community-engaged scholarship, and the Provost’s Faculty Award for Community Engagement was established.

Within the Division for Academic Affairs' Metropolitan Studies and Extended Academic unit, personnel work actively with local and regional governments, nonprofit organizations and citizen groups to link UNC Charlotte resources to area policy and research needs. In the last year, the unit arranged 128 new community collaborations.

The Office of Community Relations in the Division for University Advancement coordinates a wide range of events, partnerships, campaigns and initiatives to extend the spirit of "Giving Green in the Community."

"Community engagement has been essential to UNC Charlotte since its founding," said UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. "A renewed commitment to deepening the scope of community engagement across all parts of the University has led to an action-oriented and sustained community engagement approach involving students, faculty and staff."

Owen Furuseth, associate provost for metropolitan studies and extended academic programs, and Jeanette Sims, senior director of community relations and University events, led the team that completed the University’s application to the Carnegie Foundation. They noted many people contributed to the effort, but key team members were Carolyn Aguilar and Tamara Johnson, academic affairs; Sean Langley, student affairs; and Jenny Matz, University advancement.