Capital University is one of the 119 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, an elective designation that indicates institutional commitment to community engagement, the Carnegie Foundation has announced.“Community-engaged learning is embedded in every facet of the Capital education, from the learning that takes place in our classrooms to the experiences and partnerships that stretch across our Bexley and Columbus campuses – lifting up neighborhoods in Columbus and far beyond,” Capital President Beth Paul said. “Capital is honored to receive this formal recognition for the purposeful way of living, learning and leading that has been in our values for nearly two centuries.”
– Stephanie Gray Wilson
This important classification is awarded following a process of self-study by each institution, which is then assessed by a national review committee led by the Swearer Center for Public Engagement at Brown University, the administrative and research home for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. “This classification signifies that Capital is a national leader in community-engaged learning that is collaborative, ongoing and reciprocal – benefiting students in their learning outcomes and community partners in fulling their missions,” explained Dr. Stephanie Gray Wilson, assistant provost for Experiential Learning at Capital, who led the team that applied for the classification. “It’s also comprehensive, reflecting community engagement work that takes place at the undergraduate level, and in graduate programs at the Bexley campus, Trinity Lutheran Seminary and the Law School.”While the roots of community engagement run deep at Capital, documenting, assessing and formalizing those activities – and centrally planning for their growth and improvement – is a new endeavor. Being recognized by the Carnegie Foundation, which set the gold standard for quality community engagement, is a major accomplishment. Only 40 percent of first-time applicants succeed in receiving the classification.
“These newly classified and re-classified institutions are doing exceptional work to forward their public purpose in and through community engagement that enriches teaching and research while also benefiting the broader community,” noted Mathew Johnson, executive director of the Swearer Center.
The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification has been the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in U.S. higher education for the past 14 years with multiple classification cycles in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2015 and 2020.
Of the 119 institutions classified in the 2020 cycle, 44 – including Capital – are receiving the classification for the first time while 75 are now re-classified after being classified originally in 2010 or 2015. These 119 institutions join the 240 institutions that earned the classification during the 2015 selection process, for a total of 359 campuses that are currently active holders of this important designation. Among the 2020 recipients of the classification, 67 are public institutions and 52, like Capital, are private. For Carnegie’s Basic Classification, 52 are classified as research universities, 39 are master’s colleges and universities – including Capital. Twenty-two are baccalaureate colleges, three are community colleges, and three institutions have a specialized focus—arts, medicine, and other health professions. They represent campuses in 37 states and U.S. territories.