Sacramento State’s commitment to the community was recognized Jan. 5 with a Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.
Issued by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the classification is eagerly sought by institutes of higher learning. “Only those who can provide strong evidence of their commitment to community engagement are eligible,” says Sacramento State Professor Jana Noel, the application’s author and provost’s fellow for Community and Civic Engagement.
The classification is the culmination of four years of work initially begun by Sheila Macias, Sacramento State’s director of the Community Engagement Center.
The classification doesn’t cover just one program or facet of work, but recognizes the institutional culture and the many university-wide programs that embrace the community.
One of the more obvious is Sacramento State’s Community Engagement Center, which oversees activities such as alternative break, when students donate time to specific community projects. But there are other programs, such as the many clubs and organizations in which students participate, instructors’ community-based research, resources such as the counseling center that are open to the public, and partnerships formed between the University and entities such as schools and student internships at the Sacramento mayor’s office.
“It is heartening to see this level of commitment and activity,” Carnegie President Anthony S. Bryk said in announcing the classification.
Documentation for the application was gathered by sending surveys to faculty, staff, departments, colleges and administration offices. More than 160 were filled out and returned, representing that many community engagement projects.
“All of us at Sacramento State are very proud of the extensive work we do to enhance the Sacramento region,” says University President Alexander Gonzalez. “Our students also benefit directly from our commitment, through service-learning projects and by forming connections to important causes that can last a lifetime.”
The classification has an impact in a number of areas. It gives added importance to requests for donations and grants, Noel says, and has also exposed those involved in community engagement to other faculty and students doing similar work.
More than 50 percent of Sacramento State’s community engagement projects have been in existence for more than four years. Noel is confident the classification will generate even more partnerships for the University. “We have faculty and students who want to work with the community,” she says.
For more information on the Carnegie classification and Sacramento State’s community work, call Jana Noel at (916) 278-5514. For media assistance, call the University’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.