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K-State Recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as a Community-Engaged University

 

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Kansas State University was awarded the 2010 Community Engagement Classification from the prestigious Carnegie Foundation. This elective classification is given to institutions where teaching, learning, and scholarship engage faculty, students, and community. In addition, Carnegie looks for a mutually beneficial exchange, exploration, and application of knowledge, information, and resources.

K-State was one of 115 awarded this classification in 2010 and one of only 61 public institutions to receive the engaged institution designation.

"K-State was able to demonstrate, through the evidence provided, that it has institutionalized community engagement as a core commitment of the university in both curricular engagement, outreach, and partnerships," said John Saltmarsh, New England Resource Center for Higher Education director.

The Center for Engagement and Community Development (CECD) started the application process for the classification in April 2010, inviting a team of 23 university professionals and faculty representing K-State's numerous colleges, departments, and centers. The team met once a month for four months to brainstorm information and organize ideas for the application.

"The application process was a challenge for CECD but also very rewarding," said Esther Otis, CECD research assistant. "There was a lot of research, meetings, phone calls, and emails to numerous centers and departments."

An application detailing K-State's engagement activities was sent to the Carnegie Foundation in late Aug. 2010. David Procter, CECD director, received notification in Jan. 2011 of K-State's engagement status. K-State's reputation strongly benefits from the classification as it lends credibility and gives recognition to K-State faculty, students, and staff who are dedicated to engaging the community through a variety of engagement initiatives.

"The Community Engagement designation is a powerful affirmation that Kansas State University remains committed to its Land-Grant mission in the 21st century," said Procter. "Being designated as an engaged university is a recognition that K-State's engagement and outreach work continues to help Kansans and communities worldwide address their significant and challenging issues."

Additionally, the classification will encourage continued and sustained growth in the area of community engagement. In 2015, all universities currently classified as engaged universities, will be required to resubmit an updated application.

"The self-evaluation required for the submission of the Carnegie application helped sharpen our awareness of both the strengths and weaknesses of K-State's engagement activities," said Otis.

In order to highlight the engagement work of K-State faculty, staff, and students, CECD is in the process of creating an online database of the numerous engagement initiatives collected during the application process for the Carnegie Classification.

The classification also helps K-State prepare for the Higher Learning Commission's (HLC) visit in April 2012. The HLC requires each university to submit a self-report over several topics including the university's commitment to engagement. The classification is a building block for analyzing and detailing the university's engagement and writing its self-study.

CECD plans to reapply for the classification in 2015 in hopes to further improve the university's commitment to engagement.