Carnegie Foundation Lists PSU on New Community Engagement Classification
Author: Angela D. Abel, Office of University Communications, 503-725-8794
Posted: December 27, 2006

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected Portland State University and 75 other U.S. colleges and universities for its new Community Engagement Classification. Portland State was one of only 62 schools that received classification in both of the two categories, Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships.

“Finding new and better ways to connect with their communities should be a high priority for higher education institutions today,” said Lee S. Shulman, president of the Carnegie Foundation. “The campuses participating in this elective classification provide useful models of engagement around teaching and learning and around research agendas that benefit from collaborative relationships.”

Over 7,800 Portland State students, faculty and staff annually engage in community-university partnerships through academic courses, research and other service efforts worldwide. These partnership activities demonstrate Portland State's commitment to “let knowledge serve” the local, regional and world communities. Based on a 2006 survey of service hours, Portland State students contribute over 1.3 million community service hours per year, a $20 million annual contribution to the community.

In order to be selected into any of the three Carnegie 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 Carnegie category of Curricular Engagement describes teaching, learning and scholarship that engage faculty, students and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration. These interactions address community-identified needs, deepen students’ civic and academic learning, enhance community well-being and enrich the scholarship of the institution.

Carnegie’s Outreach & Partnerships category embodies two areas that are interrelated. Outreach focuses on the application and provision of institutional resources for community use with benefits to both campus and community. Partnerships focus on collaborative interactions with community and related scholarship for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration and application of knowledge, information and resources such as research, capacity building and economic development.

Unlike the Carnegie Foundation’s other classifications that rely on national data, this is an “elective” classification—institutions opted to participate by submitting required documentation describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond. This approach enabled Carnegie to address elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness that are not represented in the national data on colleges and universities. (Under the regular Carnegie Foundation classification system Portland State is listed as a Doctoral/Research University.)

Other universities included under the Community Engagement Classification include Michigan State, University of California-Los Angeles, DePaul and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. For more information on the Community Engagement Classification please visit

The Carnegie Foundation
The Foundation, 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.

Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an act of Congress, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center with the primary mission “to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold, and dignify the profession of the teacher and the cause of higher education.” The improvement of teaching and learning is central to all of the Foundation’s work. More information may be found on the web site at

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Source: Kevin Kecskes (503-725-8136)
Director, Community-University Partnerships
Center for Academic Excellence