Carnegie Awards Rice ‘Community Engagement Classification’

December 19, 2008

In recognition of its curriculum and community outreach and partnerships, Rice University has received the “Community Engagement Classification” from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

The foundation selected 119 U.S. colleges and universities for the 2008 classification. Nearly 150 institutions applied for the honor, which required schools to document the nature and extent of their involvement with the community.

The “Community Engagement Classification” reflects the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their local, regional, state, national and global communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources.

“Given that becoming more engaged with the city of Houston is one of the goals of President David Leebron’s Vision for the Second Century, we were truly excited to learn that the Carnegie Foundation has acknowledged Rice’s community engagement efforts,” said Stephanie Post, executive director of Rice’s Center for Civic Engagement.

The Carnegie Foundation created the elective classification to reinforce the importance of community engagement in the agenda of higher education. Elective classifications are based on voluntary participation by institutions, which have to collect data and provide descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement showing alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is used by academic researchers and institutional personnel policymakers. The Community Engagement Classification covers three categories – Curricular Engagement, Outreach and Partnerships, and a combination of both of categories.

Rice was one of 110 institutions that qualified for the more extensive category. The university offers teaching, learning and research that encourage collaboration among faculty, students and the community on needs identified by the community. Additionally, the university is involved with community outreach and partnerships for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration and application of knowledge, information and resources.

A civic research and design course taught by Rice professors Bob Stein, Devika Subramanian and Leonardo Dueñas-Osorio is a good example of Rice’s community engagement. Students in the course have been researching why people evacuate during a hurricane – especially people who do not live in evacuation areas – and they are working with the city and county to develop website that can help people determine their risks and develop a plan for when and where they should evacuate.

Rice’s Center for Civic Engagement, directed by Robert Stein, was established in 2006 to facilitate community-based research projects that encourage faculty and students to work alongside Houston-based community partners to address various challenges facing the city. The center is just one facet of the university’s community outreach efforts.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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