Emory Report
December 11, 2006
Volume 59, Number 14




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December 11 , 2006
Emory recognized for community engagement by Carnegie Foundation

By Beverly Clark

Emory University’s commitment to teaching, research and community service has earned recognition from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which named Emory one of the first schools in the country to receive the foundation’s new “Community Engagement” designation. Emory was one of only 76 institutions to receive this endorsement, announced Dec. 5.

As an “Engaged Institution,” Emory was cited by Carnegie for demonstrating “excellent alignment between mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.” Emory also was one of the 62 institutions to receive the distinction in both possible categories: curricular engagement and outreach and partnerships.

“This designation by the Carnegie Foundation wonderfully recognizes not only the superb leadership that many people at Emory University have contributed over the years in engaging our students and our wider communities,” Emory President James Wagner said, “it also ratifies the decision by our faculty and administrative colleagues to make community engagement an important component of our strategic plan. We intend to be an engaged and committed community of scholars for a long time to come.”

The Carnegie endorsement comes at the same time that investment from Emory’s strategic plan fund — plus the University’s commitment to raise millions more over the next five years — augments and expands the activities and scholarship sponsored by Emory’s Office of University-Community Partnerships.

The nationally distinguished office has sent Emory students and faculty into Atlanta neighborhoods to mentor middle school girls, help elderly immigrants study for their U.S. citizenship exams and work on tangible solutions to real-world issues such as affordable housing, AIDS and education.

“For years Emory faculty and students have been working quietly to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods all over metro Atlanta and in communities all over the world,” said Michael J. Rich, director of OUCP and associate professor of political science.

“Emory has engaged faculty and students in a wide range of mutually beneficial, community-based service and research projects because we believe not only that students learn more when they are directly engaged in solving real-world problems,” Rich said, “but perhaps more importantly, that our vast intellectual and human resources must be harnessed for the greater common good — starting right here in metro Atlanta.”

Unlike the Carnegie Foundation’s other classifications that rely on national data, “community engagement” is an elective classification — institutions elect to participate by submitting required documentation describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community. This approach allows the foundation to address elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness that are not represented in the national data on colleges and universities. OUCP led the effort to document community engagement university-wide.