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Carnegie Foundation recognizes KU for outstanding commitment to community

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has recognized KU for its outstanding commitment to and involvement with the community. The university was one of 115 institutions selected for the foundation’s Community Engagement Classification.

Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification. KU’s application included information about programs that interact with and serve the community on local, state and national levels.

“To be classified in community engagement, KU needed to show how its mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices each supported its community engagement endeavors,” said Amanda Schwegler, assistant director of the Center for Service Learning. “We were able to do that easily, as university-community involvement is apparent at so many levels. Our commitment to serving the public and the state doesn’t just appear in the mission statement and strategic planning. It's apparent at our research centers, in our classrooms, through our outreach units and in specific examples too numerous to name.”

This is KU’s first selection for the honor. The classification is valid for five years, and the university will apply again in 2015.

The certification is recognition of the partnership between the university and community but is especially beneficial to students.

“Students can be proud that their university is invested in the community and that their own education can include engaged learning because of it,” Schwegler said. “The classification will also be an attraction to prospective students interested in being able to work with the community through any number of disciplines.”

To be selected, KU had to provide examples of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices. Examples included

— Audio-Reader, a service that records and broadcasts printed materials for blind, visually impaired and print disabled individuals in Kansas and western Missouri

— The Center for Community Outreach, dedicated to expanding student involvement in community service

— The Lied Center’s Forte Program, which provides educational events to the community through discussion programs, demonstrations, workshops and other events

— The Life Span Institute’s Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, which works with the Kansas City, Kan., community to improve developmental and educational experiences for area youth

— The School of Law’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, which prepares tax returns for Kansas, Missouri and Illinois residents making less than $49,000 per year with no itemized deductions

The Community Engagement Classification is not only a way to recognize institutions that are committed to their communities, it is meant to encourage schools to go even further in their dedication.

“Through a classification that acknowledges significant commitment to and demonstration of community engagement, the foundation encourages colleges and universities to become more deeply engaged, to improve teaching and learning and to generate socially responsive knowledge to benefit communities,” said Carnegie President Anthony Bryk. “We are very pleased with the movement we are seeing in this direction.”

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