January 7, 2015
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching again has recognized Texas Tech University for its commitment to community-based
service and outreach initiatives.
Texas Tech is one of 240 U.S. colleges and universities selected by the foundation for its 2015 Community Engagement Classification. The university was one of the original 76 colleges and universities to receive the classification in 2006. Since then, 361 campuses have achieved the designation.
“Texas Tech continues its dedication to service learning and community outreach, and the Carnegie Foundation's recognition underscores that commitment,” said M. Duane Nellis, president of Texas Tech University.”We are honored that the Carnegie Foundation has recognized Texas Tech for its exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement. The Community Engagement Classification is an exciting move in Carnegie's work to extend and refine the classification of colleges and universities.”
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 has enabled the foundation to recognize elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness not represented in the national data on colleges and universities.
In order to be selected for the Carnegie Community Engagement designation, institutions must provide descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that show alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.
Birgit Green, director of academic engagement and partnerships at Texas Tech, submitted the materials for the university's reclassification application. She said she was proud of the university's community involvement at the local, national and global levels.
“Our faculty and students, for instance, partner locally with agencies such as the South Plains Food Bank and Link Ministries to address issues of hunger and homelessness in the region while also working with villagers in Africa to help them implement effective agricultural practices for sustainable food supply,” Green said. “These activities improve teaching and learning while also producing research that makes a difference in communities.”
Central to the classification process is a documentation framework developed by a team of advisors to help applicants and reviewers assess the nature of an institution's community engagement commitments.
This year, 241 first-time applicants registered to receive the application, 133 institutions submitted applications and 83 were successfully classified as community engaged institutions. Similarly, 188 campuses were eligible for reclassification, 162 submitted an application and 157 were successfully reclassified.
“This is the first time that there has been a reclassification process,” said Amy Driscoll, consulting scholar for the Community Engagement Classification. “We are seeing renewed institutional commitment, advanced curricular and assessment practices and deeper community partnerships, all sustained through changes in campus leadership and within the context of a devastating economic recession.”
The classification lasts until 2025.