Joanna Norris, Associate Director
Department of Public Relations
The University of North Florida has received the 2010 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
in recognition of the University’s exceptional commitment to community engagement.
UNF is among 115 institutions to be added to the classification this year, bringing the total to 311 since 2006 and is the only Northeast Florida institution of higher education to receive this prestigious designation. There were only five universities across the state this year to get the classification. The classification is given to institutions that demonstrate a mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support “dynamic and noteworthy community engagement” as well as exemplary programs to promote civic engagement.
“This special designation shows that the University of North Florida is helping students become good citizens who care for their community,” said UNF President John Delaney. “The University is clearly making strides in finding ways for its students to become engaged and to make a difference through their education by contributing to Northeast Florida.”
The University is establishing a name for itself due to its Transformational Learning Opportunities (TLOs) as well as its Community-Based Transformational Learning programs. TLOs are unique and engaging educational opportunities that broaden and deepen students’ intellectual and world views. These opportunities may occur within a course, extend beyond the framework of a specific course, or be co-curricular in nature. The common denominator among TLOs, whether they occur inside or outside the classroom, is the potential for significantly impacting the student’s professional and personal development. Community-Based Transformational Learning extends the TLO concept by intentionally engaging students in community-based settings in continuation of and reflects UNF’s longstanding and ongoing commitment to active community engagement as expressed in its mission: UNF will prepare students “to make significant contributions to their communities in the region and beyond.”
Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification, first offered in 2006 as part of an extensive restructuring of The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Unlike the Foundation’s other classifications that rely on national data, this is an “elective” classification—institutions elected to participate by submitting required documentation describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond.
“Through a classification that acknowledges significant commitment to and demonstration of community engagement, the Foundation encourages colleges and universities to become more deeply engaged, to improve teaching and learning and to generate socially responsive knowledge to benefit communities,” said Carnegie President Anthony Bryk. “We are very pleased with the movement we are seeing in this direction.”
This year, 305 institutions submitted applications. Of the 115 institutions in 34 states classified as community engaged institutions, 66 are public institutions and 49 are private. With respect to Carnegie’s Basic Classification, 35 are classified as research universities; 41 are master’s colleges and universities; 25 are baccalaureate colleges; 12 are community colleges; and two institutions have a specialized focus—arts, medicine and technology.
The Foundation, through the work of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, developed the first typology of American colleges and universities in 1970 as a research tool to describe and represent the diversity of U.S. higher education. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education continues to be used for a wide range of purposes by academic researchers, institutional personnel, policymakers and others.
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