OMAHA – In an announcement made today, the Carnegie Foundation has once again named the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) as one of the nation’s leaders in engagement and outreach with a 2015 Community Engagement Classification.
As one of just 74 institutions named to the elective classification when it launched in 2006, UNO is now one of 361 institutions nationwide, and just three Nebraska universities or colleges, to be recognized.
“We have worked diligently to transform UNO into a premier metropolitan university,” Chancellor John Christensen said. “Community engagement is not a buzzword to us. It’s a commitment. It’s a way of life. It’s a passion.”
The renewal of the Carnegie classification continues a number of important milestones reached by UNO in 2014, including the opening of the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, being named a Presidential Award Winner as part of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and the opening of the Barbara A. Holland Collection of community engagement scholarship.
“The application for this classification required an extensive review and documentation of UNO’s institutional commitment to community engagement in all aspects of university life, especially with our curriculum, outreach and partnerships,” explained Deborah Smith-Howell, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “While our longstanding commitment to community engagement was recognized in 2006, it was exciting and gratifying to document how the university has deepened and broadened its commitment to community engagement over the years.”
As one of UNO’s three strategic goals, community engagement efforts at UNO have included everything from nearly two weeks of signature service days, which have contributed more than $1 million to the Omaha economy, to award-winning service learning projects that bring together K-12 students with UNO students and nonprofits in the community to blend classroom learning and metropolitan needs.
Through the Weitz Community Engagement Center alone, UNO students, faculty and staff can regularly connect with more than two dozen area nonprofits for volunteer, internship and research opportunities.
“We strive to provide our students with unlimited opportunities to be involved,” Christensen said. “By growing these opportunities, we will continue to grow and strengthen our relationship with the Omaha community as a whole while also benefiting our students’ educational learning.”
Unlike other Carnegie classifications, including the Doctoral/Research University classification UNO earned in 2011, the Community Engagement classification is elective, in which institutions participate voluntarily because nationally-reported data does not address community engagement efforts, despite their importance educationally, economically and socially.
“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. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”
With its 2015 classification, UNO will be considered a Carnegie Community Engagement institution through the year 2025, at which point the classification will be able to once again be renewed.
For questions or media requests, please contact Charley Reed, UNO media relations coordinator, at email@example.com or 402.554.2129.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.