The Carnegie Foundation recently recognized Sullivan Foundation partner school Davidson College’s success in reaching off campus and into the community. The century-old foundation, devoted to erasing educational inequities, has awarded Davidson its Community Engagement Classification.

The organization highlighted how the college’s curriculum, community partnerships, and research and service opportunities engage faculty and students in a mutually beneficial relationship with the broader community, while giving students crucial experience and life skills. Students connect what they are doing in the classroom with real world problems, part of Davidson preparing them for lives of leadership and service.

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“Davidson is grateful for the opportunity to work with great community partners who are addressing urgent challenges our society faces,” said Davidson College President Carol Quillen. “Our students, faculty and staff are excited to build on these efforts and to honor this distinguished recognition from the Carnegie Foundation.”

Davidson is one of 119 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the Community Engagement Classification, which indicates institutional commitment to community engagement.

This important classification is awarded following a process of extensive self-study by each institution, which is then assessed by a national review committee led by the Swearer Center for Public Engagement at Brown University, the administrative and research home for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

Davidson College president Carol Quillen joined students, faculty and staff at Lula Bell’s Resource Center for a National Volunteer Week service project. They prepared jars of detergent for local partner agencies.

“Community engagement is deeply ingrained in our culture at Davidson,” said Stacey Riemer, associate dean and director of civic engagement at Davidson. “Many people across campus and in our community contributed to the year-long evaluation that allowed us to reflect upon the ways that our curriculum, programs, practices, and resources support robust community partnerships.”

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Some examples of Davidson College’s reach and commitment include:

  • Each student must take one course that satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community (JEC) requirement. These courses address the manifestations of justice and equality in various communities, locales, nations or regions.
  • The Center for Civic Engagement and Athletics have partnered on a new “Cats Care” initiative to build upon current engagement efforts and encourage more engagement among athletes.
  • In the 2018-19 academic year, faculty offered 27 community-based learning courses in partnership with community organizations.
  • Eighty Bonner Scholar students contributed a total of 22,400 hours of work with public and nonprofit organizations.

“These institutions are doing exceptional work to forward their public purpose in and through community engagement that enriches teaching and research while also benefiting the broader community,” said Mathew Johnson, executive director of the Swearer Center, which houses the Carnegie classification.

The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification has been the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in U.S. higher education for the past 14 years.

This story was edited from the original version appearing on the Davidson College website.

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