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UC Receives 2015 Community Engagement Classification from Carnegie Foundation

The Community Engagement Classification from Carnegie Foundation recognizes UC’s significant commitment to service learning, experiential learning and community engagement.

Date: 1/7/2015 12:00:00 AM
By: Erin Cohen
Phone: (513) 556-4535

UC ingot   The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named UC among 361 institutions to hold the 2015 Community Engagement Classification. The foundation issued the announcement today, naming UC among the newly classified and re-classified campuses from the 2015 cycle.

The University of Cincinnati was invited to apply for the Community Engagement Classification after achieving the classifications for Outreach and Partnership (2006) and Curricular Engagement (2010).

Many programs and offices supported through Academic Affairs and Student Activities and Leadership Development were instrumental in UC achieving this most recent classification. The Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, the Cooperative Education Program, the Academic Internship Program, UC Forward, the Action Research Center, and the office for undergraduate research along with the Center for First Year Experience and Learning Communities, the Center for Community Engagement, and the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning were just a few of many offices included in the application. The elective Community Engagement Classification provides a way for institutions to describe their identity and commitments to the community with a public and nationally recognized classification.

"Being recognized for Community Engagement by the Carnegie Foundation has been a tremendous accomplishment for the university, as it served to highlight the many, many ways that we engage the community,” says Michael Sharp, director for the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement.
The Carnegie Foundation's Community Engagement Classification Seal
The Carnegie Foundation's Community Engagement Classification Seal

Sharp feels that the work that went into earning the classification has helped UC improve the ways the university connects and collaborates with its surrounding communities. 

“We are at a place now where the university's most distinguished and respected colleges are breaking out of their silos, understanding that students who cross borders, students who live, learn and lead cooperatively and collaboratively, experience more and are better prepared for employment after they leave our university. Our ultimate goal is to further break the entire university out of its silo and substantiate the university’s pre-eminence in the world of experiential learning," Sharp says.

"We believe the university that nurtures symbiotic partnerships between students, faculty and the greater community in which the university is rooted, is stronger for it. Service learning is just one of the many ways that the university engages the community, with programing spanning the spectrum between curricular and co-curricular, and applying for Carnegie helped us to find synergies between them all. Because of this synergy, we are quickly becoming THE place TO BE for engagement and experiential learning."

In order to be selected, institutions had to provide descriptions and examples of community engagement that showed alignment in institutional mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices. The Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement collected data and descriptions for all of UC’s offices that support experiential learning and community engagement.

The University of Cincinnati’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement
UC’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement was established in 2011 and was charged with supporting campus-community connections as articulated within the goals of UC2019 and the Integrated Core Learning Initiative. The Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement is a part of the Division of Professional Practice and Experiential Learning. Michael Sharp, director for the center, collaborates with the Service Learning Advisory Council to support service learning and civic engagement at UC.

Student Ambassadors with President Ono and his wife
Student Ambassadors for Service Learning, Jessica Pfleghaar, Sarah Jernigan, Allison Snyder, Andrew Kmetz with UC President Santa J. Ono and his wife, Wendy Yip

  In addition to service learning activities in the community and in faraway places over academic breaks, UC offered approximately 100 service learning courses in the past academic year, with close to 3,500 students taking service learning courses and applying their learning to the service of other. Service learning courses are offered in every undergraduate college at UC, represented by close to 100 faculty.
By participating in these service learning opportunities at the local, national or international level, students not only gain a richer mastery of their course content, but also enhance their sense of civic responsibility. They ultimately develop a better understanding of the relationship between classroom theory, practice, ideas, values and community.

About the Carnegie Foundation
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center that supports needed transformations in American education through tighter connections between teaching practice, evidence of student learning, the communication and use of this evidence, and structured opportunities to build knowledge. The foundation is located in Stanford, California. More information may be found at

Other UC Accolades
  • The University of Cincinnati was again named in the Top Tier of the country's "Best National Universities" by U.S. News & World Report rankings.
  • UC’s cooperative education program, the largest mandatory co-op program in the nation, is also ranked in the nation’s top tier by U.S. News & World Report.
  • UC has been named as one of the nation's best institutions for undergraduate education for the seventh straight year, according to the Princeton's Review's 2015 edition of "The Best 379 Colleges."
  • UC was named Public University of the Year by The Washington Center in 2013. UC was recognized for its dedication to experiential learning.
  • UC has numerous programs ranked among the top 100 public universities in the nation. Out of 41 UC programs and colleges that are nationally ranked, 35 placed in the top 50.