The third domain of faculty practice at institutions of higher education is that of community engagement. The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification describes community engagement as a “collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, state/regional, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.”
The University Mission Statement, approved in May of 2004, identifies the responsibilities of the institution, the faculty, the staff, the students, and the administration. For the institutional responsibility, six different items are focused outwardly and directly or indirectly speak to the notion of service and community engagement. These are:
- provide affordable, high quality undergraduate and graduate education appropriate for the state and the region;
- foster faculty, staff, and student outreach through service activities;
- enhance the quality of health care in the region;
- promote economic development through research, collaboration, and technological innovations;
- educate a citizenry capable of living and working effectively in a global environment; further the intellectual, artistic, and cultural life of the community and region;
- regularly review the curriculum, degree, and programs offered, and recommend necessary additional and deletions to meet changing needs of the state and region.
In June 2016 the institution applied for recognition on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll under the category of General Community Service. Recognition is also given for work in the area of Education, Economic Opportunity, which will be targeted in future applications.
Models of Community Engagement
Academic Community-Based Learning (ACBL)
One model of community engagement features academic community-based learning (CBL) courses. As part of our academic community-based learning model, faculty complete a workshop during which they are guided through the process of designing a course to meet the criteria for CBL courses. Academic CBL courses have a specific course outcome pertaining to the community service component. Students who complete these courses will have a CBL designator on their transcripts to verify that they have successfully completed some type of community-based learning experience.
Co-Curricular Community-Based Learning (CCBL)
Another model of community engagement features co-curricular CBL courses. In these instances, students are engaged in community-based learning that is related to the content of the course, but the course has not been approved for the CBL designator. There are no indicators on students’ transcripts concerning their engagement in the community.