Community Engagement Elective Classification of the

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching







What is it?  Successful colleges and universities are formally designated as institutions committed to community engagement and community service, not only in their co-curricular activities, but also in their academic policies and practices.

Why should Catholic institutions apply?  Those involved in Catholic higher education realize that we have a long standing commitment to furthering Catholic social teaching and social justice including service to individuals and their communities.  Attaining this classification publicly affirms an institution’s commitment to its mission and values.

What is involved?  The process involves the submission of a detailed application to the Carnegie Foundation.  The preparation of the application is a rigorous initiative that demands self-reflection as well as a campus-wide commitment of time and resources. Institutions who have achieved this classification report that the process yielded exceptional benefits in understanding, communicating, and assessing their community engagement activities.

What is CHERC’s position?  CHERC wholeheartedly supports Catholic colleges and universities seeking this classification and recognizes that, whether or not it is successfully attained, the knowledge, insights and possible enhancements that are gained are invaluable in continually actualizing our mission….in “becoming what we believe.”

2015 Classification

In January 2013, Carnegie announced the 2015 application process.  Between May 1st and July 1st 2013, campuses may submit payment to request the application.  Campuses that have not previously received the classification will be required to submit Carnegie’s “first-time documentation framework” application.  Campuses that received the classification in 2006 and 2008 and are seeking to retain the classification will be able to apply through a reclassification process.  Campuses that received the classification in 2010 will not need to reapply until 2020. The documentation may be found on the Carnegie website. Check this site often for updated information and documentation regarding the 2015 application cycle.

Assessing readiness to apply: 


It is strongly recommended that institutions plan strategically to determine their readiness to complete the process.  It is crucial early on to assess your institution’s capacity to provide the commitment/evidence of community engagement that Carnegie requires.

Next steps:

  1. Carefully review the Carnegie website to get an overview and history of the project.

  2. To understand what is expected of your institution, thoroughly review the documentation framework for first-time applicants or the reclassification document.  CHERC colleges and institutions that have been through the process see this as the most essential planning task.

  3. Take the time to review the successful applications from of CHERC institutions in the member portal. If you would like to contact an institution that has shared their successful application with CHERC, feel free to get in touch with your CHERC colleague, Stephen Sheridan (

Other Valuable Resources:

Successful CHERC institution applications are available on the CHERC Member Portal, which is CHERC’s password protected site for the members. 

Campus Compact

For further resources related to the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, go to the Campus Compact website, which also contains additional institutional applications that were successfully awarded the classification in 2008.


NEAIR 2009 Villanova University Presentation

AACU 2009 Carnegie Presentation


Institutionalizing Community Engagement in Higher Education: The First Wave of Carnegie Classified Institutions: New Directions for Higher Education, No 147
Lorilee R, Sandmann (Editor), Courtney H. Thornton (Editor), Audrey J. Jaeger (Editor)ssd

Carnegie's Community-Engagement Classification: Intentions & Insights
Driscoll, Amy. (2008). Carnegie's community-engagement classification: Intentions and insights.  Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 40 (1), pp. 38-41.

Attaining Carnegie's Community-Engagement Classification
Zuiches, James J. et al. (2008). Attaining Carnegie's Community-Engagement Classification. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 40 (1), pp. 42-45.

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