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Texas Tech Earns Prestigious Carnegie Honors For Service Learning, Community Involvement

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has recognized Texas Tech University for its commitment to community-based service and outreach initiatives.

Written by Michael Castellon

DATE: Dec. 19, 2006
CONTACT: Michael Castellon, michaelcastellon@gmail.com
(806) 742-2136

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has recognized Texas Tech University for its commitment to community-based service and outreach initiatives.

Texas Tech is one of 76 U.S. colleges and universities selected by the foundation for its new Community Engagement Classification.

“Texas Tech is dedicated to service learning and community outreach, and the Carnegie Foundation’s recognition underscores that commitment,” said Jon Whitmore, president of Texas Tech University.

Unlike the 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.

This approach enabled the foundation to address elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness that are not represented in the national data on colleges and universities.

“Texas Tech’s commitment to community engagement was clearly demonstrated earlier this month when architecture faculty member Kristina Yu and her students presented the South Plains Food Bank with a mobile farmer’s market trailer,” said Morgan Mercer, the coordinator for the Service Learning program at Texas Tech University’s Teaching, Learning and Technology Center. “The trailer was designed and constructed by the students as part of a service-learning project, and will be used by the Growing Recruits for Urban Business program, which teaches job and leadership skills to at-risk youth through lessons learned on a pesticide-free farm.”

“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.”

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.

“Finding new and better ways to connect with their communities should be a high priority for higher education institutions today,” said 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.”

CONTACT: Morgan Mercer, coordinator for the Service Learning program at the Texas Tech University Teaching, Learning and Technology Center, (806) 742-0133, or morgan.a.mercer@ttu.edu.

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