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December 8, 2006


Fresno State earns national recognition for Community Engagement

Fresno State earns national recognition for Community Engagement(December 8, 2006) – The prestigious Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has awarded California State University, Fresno its exclusive Community Engagement Classification, acknowledging the university’s extensive partnership – or engagement – with the Central California region.

Fresno State is one of only 76 universities in the country awarded the newly developed classification. Only nine universities and colleges in California were selected for the new classification.

Applicants were required to provide extensive data and documentation of their collaboration with their larger communities for the “mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and collaboration.”

Fresno State President John D. Welty had announced a goal of achieving the classification in his annual fall address to faculty and staff in August. He expressed satisfaction that the goal was reached in the university’s first application.

“Becoming a nationally recognized engaged university is the hallmark of our new strategic plan,” said Welty.

“This recognition by the Carnegie Foundation underscores Fresno State’s emergence as a national leader in resolving regional issues. It also reinforces the university’s important role as a leading advocate for our region at the state and federal level.” Welty said.

Alexander McCormick, who directs Carnegie's classification work, said the Community Engagement Classification represents a “significant affirmation of the importance of community engagement in the agenda of higher education."

“I am so very pleased that the work of the faculty, students and staff of Fresno State is being honored in this way,” said Jeri Echeverria, Fresno State provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

“In becoming one of the first universities to be designated an engaged university by the Carnegie Foundation, we are receiving national recognition for having established an outstanding partnership with our community and region,” she said.

Fresno State was classified in the Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships category, the most encompassing of the three categories designated.

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.

The category descriptions are:

Curricular Engagement, which describes teaching, learning and scholarship which engage faculty, students and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration. Their interactions address community-identified needs, deepen students' civic and academic learning, enhance community well-being and enrich the scholarship of the institution. (5 institutions)

Outreach and Partnerships, which describes two different but related approaches to community engagement. The first focuses on the application and provision of institutional resources for community use with benefits to both campus and community. The latter focuses on collaborative interactions with community and related scholarship for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration and application of knowledge, information and resources (research, capacity building, economic development, etc.). (9 institutions)

Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships, which includes institutions with substantial commitments in both areas described above. (62 institutions)

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, through the work of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, developed the first typology of American colleges and universities in 1970 as a research tool to describe and represent the diversity of U.S. higher education. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education continues to be used for a wide range of purposes by academic researchers, institutional personnel, policymakers and others.

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