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Seattle University


Reaching Out

Written by Mike Thee
December 16, 2010

As another sign of Seattle University’s increasing engagement with the wider community, the university has been selected by the Carnegie Foundation for the 2010 Community Engagement Classification.

“Your application documented excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement, and you were able to respond to the classification framework with both descriptions and examples of exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement,” wrote  Anthony Bryk, president of the Carnegie Foundation. “You also documented and coordinated evidence of community engagement in a coherent and compelling response to the framework’s inquiry.”

The classification comes on the heels of SU being ranked 14th in the country on the Princeton Review’s list of institutions with the best town-gown relations.

“The Carnegie Classification as well as recent recognition from Princeton Review shows we are on the right track,” Kent Koth, director of the Center for Service and Community and Engagement and assistant to the provost, wrote in an e-mail to colleagues. “But with the Seattle University Youth Initiative, I believe SU’s best work with community engagement is yet to come,” he added, referring to the university’s stepped up commitment to the youth in its immediately surrounding neighborhood.

SU joins 115 other institutions being added this year to the Carnegie Foundation’s list, bringing the total to 311. In his e-mail, Koth also acknowledged colleagues who were instrumental in securing the classification. Following are excerpts:

“I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Mako Fitts for taking the lead in the successful application process. Mako’s ability to present an overall narrative with supporting details in a very lengthy application (50-plus pages) was an extraordinary feat. I would also like to commend Mako for taking on the role of Interim Program Director for Faculty Engagement within the Center for Service and Community Engagement.  We’ve been most appreciative to have her on the CSCE staff this past year. 

“Additional kudos to Elizabeth O’Brien (CSCE’s Service-Learning Coordinator) who for the past two years has capably supported faculty and community course connections and done a terrific job tracking data on these efforts (much of what was presented in the application). Thanks also to Jane Spalding, Barbara Dolby, Bob Duniway and Jamie Balducci for assisting with data collection and the development of vignettes to profile in the application. The application process was truly a team effort.

“Finally, thank you to Father Steve, the E-Team and the Deans Council for supporting the expansion and deepening of community engagement at SU.”