Community Engagement Classification Resource Publications

Saltmarsh, J. and Johnson, J. (2018). The Elective Carnegie Engagement Classification: Constructing a Successful Application for First-Time and Re-Classification Applicants. Bloomfield: Campus Compact.

The Carnegie Engagement Classification is designed to be a form of evidence-based documentation that a campus meets the criteria to be recognized as a community engaged institution.

Editors John Saltmarsh and Mathew Johnson use their extensive experience working with the Carnegie Engagement Classification to offer a collection of resources for institutions that are interested in making a first-time or reclassification application for this recognition. Contributors offer insight on approaches to collecting the materials needed for an application and strategies for creating a complete and successful application. Chapters include detailed descriptions of what happened on campuses that succeeded in their application attempts and even reflection from a campus that failed on their first application. Readers can make use of worksheets at the end of each chapter to organize their own classification efforts.

Chapter 1: An Introduction to the Elective Carnegie Community Engagement Classification — John Saltmarsh and Mathew B. Johnson

Chapter 5: Key Lessons and Guiding Questions: First Time Classification — Georgina Manok

Chapter 9: Key Lessons and Guiding Questions: Re-Classification — Georgina Manok

Chapter 14: Key Lessons and Guiding Questions: The Process of Gathering and Using Evidence– Georgina Manok

Read More

Atiles, J. H. (2017). Cooperative Extension: Is It Community Engagement? Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

From the article: “In today’s university environment, there is a trend to apply the word “engagement” to any type of exchange or interaction with internal and external audiences, groups, or stakeholders. This has resulted in an excessive use of the word engagement. The overuse confuses the meaning of “community engagement” as articulated in the 1999 Kellogg Commission report, Returning to Our Roots: The Engaged Institution, which called for American universities to return to their roots and be engaged with the broader society of which they are a part (Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities, 1999). Not all the programmatic initiatives employing the word engagement today represent the core values of community engagement set forth by the Commission, such as reciprocity, mutual benefit, and direct connection to university curricular, research, and service missions.”


Beere, C.A., Votruba, J., & Wells, G. (2011).  Becoming an engaged campus: A practical guide for institutionalizing public engagement.  Indianapolis: Jossey-Bass.

From the publisher’s website: “There is a trend to have universities make a stronger commitment to community engagement. This book offers a how-to resource for campus leaders who want to take a strategic approach to creating change within the university and in relation to the community. It emphasizes what to do to expand community engagement at the university, and explains how to minimize the risks that can accompany this work. The authors provide a clear path to creating an engaged university and institutionalizing change so that it becomes integrated into the fabric of the university.”


Fitzgerald, H.E., Bruns, K., Sonka, S., Furco, A., & Swanson, L. (2011). Centrality of engagement in higher education [White paper]. Council on Engagement and Outreach, Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.

From the introduction:
“Commentary on American public higher education describes a landscape beset by challenges and opportunities related to its relevance and cost. This paper proposes that community and public engagement, as aspects of learning and discovery, are central to addressing these challenges and opportunities. Through engagement with local and broader communities, we seek a means to expand and shift the established internally-focused, discipline-based framework of higher education to one that focuses on a stronger level of societal relevance that improves both society and the overarching goals of higher education.”


Driscoll, A. (2008). Carnegie’s community-engagement classification: Intentions and insights.  Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 40 (1), pp. 38-41.

From the article: “Over the last few years, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has engaged in a comprehensive re-examination of its traditional classification system. The redesign stemmed from a concern about the inadequacy of the classification for representing institutional similarities and differences and its insensitivity to the evolution of higher education. In December 2006, the foundation announced the inaugural selection of 76 U. S. colleges and universities to be newly classified as “institutions of community engagement,” the first of a set of elective classifications intended to broaden the categorization of colleges and universities. Of those 76 institutions, most reported the kind of impact described in the opening quotations. The enthusiastic response to the new classification signaled the eagerness of institutions to have their community engagement acknowledged with a national and publicly recognized classification.”


Giles, D., Sandmann, L., & Saltmarsh, J.  (2010). “Engagement and the Carnegie classification system,” in Fitzgerald, H.E., Burack, C., & Seifer, S. (Eds.) Handbook of Engaged Scholarship: Contemporary Landscapes, Future Directions. Vol. 2: Community-Campus Partnerships. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press.

From the introduction:
“This book chapter focuses on assessing and rewarding engaged scholarship using the 2006 Carnegie voluntary community engagement classification process.  This process has been analyzed by those who developed and implemented it (Driscoll, 2008) and by scholars of engagement in higher education (Sandmann, Thornton, & Jaeger, 2009; Saltmarsh, Giles, Ward, & Buglione, 2009).  Here, we present some of this scholarship and our analyses of the question of assessment and the promotion of institutional change in the area of engaged scholarship.  Of particular importance in understanding how the Carnegie classified institutions are practicing engagement is how and if they are rewarding engaged faculty scholarship along with curricular engagement and partnerships.”


Hart, A., Northmore, S., & Gerhardt, C. (2008). “Briefing Paper: Auditing, Benchmarking and Evaluating University Public Engagement.” National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement: Bristol.

From the introduction:
“This briefing paper is written for academics, university administrators, and community partners interested in monitoring and evaluating university public engagement. It provides an accessible guide to the field that can assist them in answering the questions they want to answer, in tailoring their own approach and negotiating that approach between the university and local communities. By ‘local communities’ we mean geographically defined communities, identity communities, and other collectivities that universities want to engage with…”


National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement. (2012). A crucible moment: College learning and democracy’s future. Association of American Colleges and Universities.

From the AAC&U website:
“This report from the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement calls on the nation to reclaim higher education’s civic mission. Commissioned by the Department of Education and released at a White House convening in January 2012, the report pushes back against a prevailing national dialogue that limits the mission of higher education to workforce preparation and training while marginalizing disciplines basic to democracy… A Crucible Moment calls on educators and public leaders to advance a 21st century vision of college learning for all students—a vision with civic learning and democratic engagement an expected part of every student’s college education. The report documents the nation’s anemic civic health and includes recommendations for action that address campus culture, general education, and civic inquiry as part of major and career fields as well as hands-on civic problem solving across differences.”


Rosing, H. (2015).  Tracking culture: The meanings of community engagement data collection in higher education. Metropolitan Universities, 26(2), 147-159.

“The essay briefly outlines the history of community engagement at DePaul University in order to explore how and why universities and colleges are increasingly adopting data collections systems for tracking community engagement. I explore the question of why there is a growing interest in tracking engagement within the academy and suggest that dominant meanings attached to tracking behavior (e.g., recognition, marketing, budget legitimation) overshadow more critical and political rationales for documenting engagement, such as those that emerge out of aspiration to understand how higher education can play a role in promoting social justice and transforming communities. I argue that the latter requires a critical, self-reflexive, ethnographic approach to tracking that illuminates not only positive outcomes of engagement but also the inevitable challenges or failures of engagement that can limit student learning, faculty scholarship, and, perhaps most importantly, community benefit.”


Saltmarsh, J., et al.  (2009). “Community engagement and institutional culture in higher education: An investigation of faculty reward policies at engaged campuses.” Information Age Publishing, Inc., Greenwich, CT.

From the authors:
“Through an examination of the 2006 applications for the Elective Classification for Community Engagement from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, this study explores the ways in which promotion and tenure policies reward community-engaged scholarship. Evidence from the applications and from campus documents reveals examples of significant shifts in policy that reflect cultural changes. At the same time, there is evidence of persistent and deep-seated resistance to change that values and legitimizes community-engaged scholarship. Campuses that have revised their promotion and tenure guidelines to incorporate community engagement across the faculty roles seem to have institutional identities defined by commitments to the stewardship of local communities.”


Sandmann, L. R., Thornton, C. H., & Jaeger, A. J. (2011). Institutionalizing Community Engagement in Higher Education: New Directions for Higher Education. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

“Leading scholars of engagement analyze data from the first wave of community-engaged institutions as classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The analyses collectively serve as a statement about the current status of higher education community engagement in the United States. Eschewing the usual arguments about why community engagement is important, this volume presents the first large-scale stocktaking about the nature and extent of the institutionalization of engagement in higher education. Aligned with the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification framework, the dimensions of leading, student learning, partnering, assessing, funding, and rewarding are discussed. “This volume recognizes the progress made by this first wave of community-engaged institutions of higher education, acknowledges best practices of these exemplary institutions, and offers recommendations to leaders as a pathway forward.

“This is the 147th volume of the Jossey-Bass higher education quarterly report series New Directions for Higher Education. Addressed to presidents, vice presidents, deans, and other higher-education decision-makers on all kinds of campuses, New Directions for Higher Education provides timely information and authoritative advice about major issues and administrative problems confronting every institution.”


Zuiches, James J. et al. (2008). Attaining Carnegie’s Community-Engagement Classification. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 40 (1), 42-45.

From the article: “Now that the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has designated a first round of institutions that meet its criteria for engagement with their communities, those of us at North Carolina State University involved with winning the classification for the institution offer our reflections on the process for other colleges and universities preparing similar applications. We learned a great deal about our own institution as we addressed the concepts and processes underpinning the documentation of engagement. More importantly, we discuss how we defined, interpreted, and responded to measures of institutional identity and engagement activities. We also offer lessons learned about the importance of logistics and discuss the benefits of this effort.” READ MORE


One Dupont Circle NW
Washington, DC 20036

Copyright © 2022 American Council on Education  |  Privacy Notice