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2006.12.11 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

UNO Included in Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Listing

Omaha - The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has included the University Of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) among only 76 U.S. colleges and universities for its new Community Engagement Classification. 

Unlike the Carnegie Foundation's other classifications that rely on national data, this is an "elective" classification—institutions elected to participate by submitting required documentation describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond.  UNO has been a leader at the state, regional and national level in service-learning, said UNO Interim Chancellor John Christensen.

"As a metropolitan university, UNO is committed to building bridges between the campus and the community," he said.  "The success of service-learning and community engagement serves everyone – students, faculty, and our state's citizens."

The "elective" classification approach enabled the Carnegie Foundation to address elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness that are not represented in the national data on colleges and universities.

"The Community Engagement Classification is an exciting move in Carnegie's work to extend and refine the classification of colleges and universities," said Alexander McCormick, who directs Carnegie's classification work. "It represents a significant affirmation of the importance of community engagement in the agenda of higher education."

Institutions were classified in one of three categories:

·      Curricular Engagement, which describes teaching, learning and scholarship, which engage faculty, students and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration;

·      Outreach and Partnerships describes two different but related approaches to community engagement. The first focuses on the application and provision of institutional resources for community use with benefits to both campus and community. The latter focuses on collaborative interactions with community and related scholarship for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration and application of knowledge, information and resources;

·      Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships includes institutions with substantial commitments in both areas described above.

UNO was listed in the Curricular Engagement and Outreach and Partnerships category along with just 27 other public institutions and 34 private institutions.  DePaul University, Michigan State University, New York University, Tufts University and the University of Pennsylvania are in the same category with UNO.   UNO's category listing is Online at www.carnegiefoundation.org/classifications/Community_Engagement/CEOP

In order to be selected into any of the three categories, institutions had to provide descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.

Since 1998, the UNO Service-Learning Academy has served more than 200 community agencies and thousands of UNO students have taken service-learning classes or worked on volunteers efforts that have had taken them out of the classroom and into Omaha's neighborhoods.  Earlier this year, UNO was also included in the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

"Faculty at our university have embraced community engagement because it makes what they discuss in the classroom meaningful," said Paul Sather, director of the UNO Service-Learning Academy.  "UNO is not a higher education ivory tower.  We have faculty and students assisting at non-profit agencies, small businesses community centers, even the county jail."

Sather added that UNO now has a community service tradition that includes even student vacation days.  Low-income community renovation projects take place during both fall and spring break.  Hundreds of students from a cross-section of majors take part,

"Finding new and better ways to connect with their communities should be a high priority for higher education institutions today," says Lee S. 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."

The new Community Engagement Classification was developed as part of an extensive overhaul of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education and represents a second phase of work that began last year. Last November, Carnegie released five new classification schemes, and last February released a revised version of the basic classification (the traditional framework developed in 1970). The Foundation has also created online tools that allow institutions and researchers to examine institutional classifications and generate custom listings.

The Foundation, through the work of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, developed the first typology of American colleges and universities in 1970 as a research tool to describe and represent the diversity of U.S. higher education. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education continues to be used for a wide range of purposes by academic researchers, institutional personnel, policymakers and others.

For more information, call (402) 554-3502.

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