The Carnegie Foundation describes the purpose of community engagement as the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.
The Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement is an elective classification and has been the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in US higher education for the past 13 years. It is based on voluntary participation by institutions. The elective classification involves data collection and documentation of important aspects of institutional mission, identity and commitments, and requires substantial effort invested by participating institutions. There are currently 361 campuses with the elective Community Engagement Classification in the US.
A Canadian Pilot cohort has been convened to explore the Classification and consider how it might support community engagement in the Canadian context.