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Carnegie Foundation Selects Seattle University for 2020 Community Engagement Classification

January 31, 2020

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Seattle University has been awarded renewal of its Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, a recognition of the university’s national model for community-engaged learning.

Seattle University has been awarded renewal of its Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, a recognition of the university’s national model for community-engaged learning.

“The classification recognizes the work of hundreds of faculty, staff, students, community partners and local residents who connect campus and community through courses and other activities,” says Kent Koth, executive director of the Center for Community Engagement, which coordinates much of the university’s service-learning outreach in the surrounding neighborhoods.

The centerpiece of this work is the Seattle University Youth Initiative (SUYI), which was launched in 2011 and serves as a national model for many universities across the nation that want to provide place-based service learning and research to its students, faculty and staff. Twenty institutions have joined the Place-Based Justice Network based at the Center for Community Engagement (CCE).

The vision for SUYI is to provide a pathway of support from preschool to college for low-income children and youth in three neighborhoods surrounding campus. The Youth Initiative convenes multifaceted community partners to provide holistic support to ensure disadvantaged youth have the best chance of graduating and continuing to college. Students and staff work at Bailey Gatzert Elementary, Washington Middle and Garfield High schools.

According to the center’s 2018-19 annual report, it supported 581 student positions in the neighborhood and more than 2,600 Seattle U students enrolled in service learning courses taught by 181 faculty members.

The 2020 Community Engagement Classification, awarded by the Carnegie Foundation, went to just 119 U.S. colleges and universities. It’s an elective designation that requires applicants to perform a comprehensive assessment of their institution’s community engagement efforts. The classification is valid until 2026.

“Because of the classification’s expansive application, the classification is one of the most rigorous and significant ways of determining which institutions are the most serious and thoughtful about community engagement,” says Koth. 

The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification has been the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in U.S. higher education for the past 14 years with multiple classification cycles in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2015 and 2020.

“These newly classified and re-classified institutions are doing exceptional work to forward their public purpose in and through community engagement that enriches teaching and research while also benefiting the broader community,” says Mathew Johnson, executive director of the Swearer Center at Brown University, the administrative and research home of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

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