The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching today announced University of Michigan-Dearborn as a recipient of its 2015 Community Engagement Classification. The distinction—earned by only 361 campuses nationwide—recognizes the university’s commitment to being deeply engaged with its larger community through teaching, learning, research and service that makes a difference.
“Engagement is an important aspect of higher education because it both contributes to a more productive learning experiences for our students and creates mutually beneficial relationships where community impact and regional transformation are key,” said Ismael Ahmed, senior adviser to the chancellor and associate provost for metropolitan impact.
Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification. Unlike Carnegie Foundation’s other classifications that rely on national data, this is an elective classification—institutions participate voluntarily by submitting required materials describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community.
“The importance of this elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national and global communities,” said John Saltmarsh, director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. “There are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”
Since its founding in 1959, UM-Dearborn has worked to provide programs responsive to the needs of southeast Michigan. Today, that means everything from developing a nationally recognized model for early childhood education with Oakwood Healthcare to assessing Detroit bus stops for safety with Focus: HOPE to partnering with local start-ups to teach lessons in entrepreneurship. In all, UM-Dearborn partners with nearly 450 organizations for internships and coop opportunities, research, teaching and service programs.
“Carnegie Engaged Campus Classification demonstrates the university’s strong commitment to community engagement,” Ahmed said. “By receiving this national distinction, UM-Dearborn has successfully demonstrated it both ‘talks the talk’ and ‘walks the walk’ required to tout engagement at a national best practices level.”
The university will celebrate the new classification as part of UM-Dearborn’s Inaugural Engagement Day, Friday, January 23. The event will feature a keynote address by Focus: HOPE CEO William F. Jones, as well as presentations by faculty and students that highlight community engaged practices and partnerships.