Carnegie Community Engagement Classification - Canadian Pilot Cohort

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.

Canadian Pilot cohort has been convened to explore the Classification and consider how it might support community engagement in the Canadian context.

Why Canadian institutions are participating

  • National leadership: cohort institutions will be involved in shaping a future Canadian framework that will magnify impact nationally by supporting institutions and communities across the country in their partnership initiatives.
  • Passion for co-creating and sustaining positive impact; we see our campuses as a hubs for our communities—contributing to educational achievement, community engagement, and economic activity;
  • Our faculty, staff and students are called to action in partnership with the cities and communities we serve and we are interested in strengthening a culture of shared-ownership and collaboration for engagement throughout our organizations.
  • We identify that the role of post-secondary institutions is solidifying to one of authenticity and scholarly impact; one which embodies the foundational principles and values of inclusion and diversity; mutual trust, respect and accountability; sustainable approaches; healthy relationships; equity; and knowledge creation.
  • We see value in strengthening inter-organizational relationships and participating in a learning community of like-minded institutions to share successful practices and approaches to civic and community engagement.
  • We are interested in reflecting on and implementing institution-wide measurements and evaluation methods of community engagement.

Participating Canadian post-secondary institutions have committed to the following:

  • Attend an initial convening to learn about the philosophy and logic of the existing US Carnegie Classification. This workshop event will be conducted by the Swearer Centre, Brown University – the administrative and research home of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.  It is being hosted at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC from February 26–28, 2019.
  • Provide a one-time participation fee of $5,000 US to cover research and administration costs as well as additional cost sharing for meeting expenses.
  • Complete and submit the existing US Classification application and host individual campus site visits from the existing US Carnegie Classification Team.
  • Work together as a learning community to identify needed adjustments to the existing Classification, recommend solutions and contribute to the development of a Canadian specific version of the Classification, if deemed desirable.

Important dates


February 26–28, 2019: Initial convening of the Canadian Cohort

January 30, 2020: Completion and Submission of Classification Application

March – May 2020: Site Visits, Learnings, and Recognition

May 2020: Recognition and Closing Convening

May 2020 – December 2021: Process to collectively author the Canadian Carnegie Classification Framework