About the Canadian Pilot Cohort

The Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement is an elective classification that has been the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in US higher education for the past 13 years. The Canadian Pilot Cohort (CPC) of sixteen institutions was convened in early 2019 to explore the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification and to consider how it might support community engagement in diverse Canadian contexts. 

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 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. 

Why Canadian institutions are participating

  • National leadership: cohort institutions are 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 acknowledge 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 remain interested in reflecting on and implementing institution-wide measurements and evaluation methods for community engagement.

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

  • To attend an initial convening to learn about the philosophy and logic of the existing US Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. This workshop event was conducted by the Swearer Centre, Brown University – the previous administrative and research home of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. It was hosted at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC from February 26 – 28, 2019.
  • To provide a one-time participation fee of $7,000 US to cover research and administration costs and cost sharing for meeting expenses.
  • To engage in the data collection, analysis and synthesis required to review and answer the questions in the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification Documentation Framework and to host individual campus site visits from the existing US Carnegie Community Engagement Classification Team.
  • To 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.

Timeline at-a-glance

  • 2019 – February | Initial convening (SFU)
  • 2020 – January | Mid-cycle convening (University of Calgary)
  • 2020 – December | CPC Classification applications complete and submitted
  • 2021 – January-April | Cohort members host individual (virtual) site visits
  • 2021 – April-May | CPC campuses receive final reports from Carnegie Management Team
  • 2021 – May-June | Closing convenings (virtual)
  • CURRENT PROCESS :: 2021 – July-January, 2022 | Finalization of CPC recommendations for a Canadian framework. Identification of a Canadian host organization, Canadian Carnegie Management Team and Canadian National Advisory Committee.
  • 2022 – January | Launch of aCanadian version of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

February 2019 Initial Convening

In February 2019, representatives from the sixteen member institutions of the Canadian Pilot Cohort convened in Vancouver to learn about the Elective Carnegie Community Engagement Classification and to discuss the opportunities and challenges of completing the Classification in Canadian contexts. Three days of events were held at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, culminating in a starting project plan, timeline, and set of resources to support the cohort in completing the classification.

Representatives of the Canadian Carnegie Classification Pilot cohort at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, February 2019.

January 2020 Mid-Cycle Convening

Through regular online cohort meetings, the CPC determined that a mid-cycle convening would be beneficial. The University of Calgary hosted the Canadian Pilot Cohort in January 2020, organizing two days of workshops with an integrated Indigenous lens. Read more about the convening in the UCalgary News. Cohort teams left the mid-cycle convening deeply engaged in the work of both completing the current framework and critically assessing it for Canadian contexts.

2021 Closing Convenings

In 2021, the CPC continued its work through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of capacity constraints three of the original sixteen institutions were not able to continue with the work of completing the Classification application, but remain integral contributors to the work and the outcomes. In May and June of 2021, three virtual day-long gatherings were held that comprised the Closing Convening of the CPC. On June 2nd, the twelve institutions that were available during the vote declared with unanimous assent that it was desirable to found and develop a Canadian version of the Classification. The few that were unable to attend the vote expressed their continuing commitment to the values that underpin the purpose of the Classification.

What’s Next?

Through the remainder of 2021, the CPC in collaboration the Carnegie Management Team (CMT) will work to formulate recommendations for the Canadian classification, including guidance on governance, the framework itself (the questions), methods of consultation and the formation of a wider community of practice, targeting January, 2022 for the launch of the official Canadian Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.