Carnegie Classification

carnegie classification elective

The Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement is a framework developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as an elective and voluntary classification used to assess and recognize institutions of higher education for their commitment to community engagement. It is an evidence-based documentation of institutional practice to be used in the process of self-assessment and quality improvement. The documentation is reviewed to determine whether the institution qualifies for recognition as a community engaged institution. It categorizes universities and colleges based on their level of collaboration and partnerships with the community (community involvement), partnership, and their contributions to addressing societal needs and overall well-being. 

The Community Engagement Classification takes place over a five-year cycle. In 2010, St. John’s University was designated with the Elective Community Engagement classification. The University applied for the (first-time) 2024 application cycle. 

For St. John’s, the classification serves as a tool to evaluate and showcase the University’s efforts in community engagement, as well as articulate and highlight our commitment to civic responsibility and community service. St. John’s University, in alignment with our mission, utilizes the Carnegie Classification to demonstrate our dedication to fostering collaboration with local communities, addressing social issues, devoting “our intellectual and physical resources to search out the causes of poverty and social injustice and to encourage solutions that are adaptable, effective, and concrete,” and making positive impacts beyond the academic boundaries.

The self-study serves the following purposes for St. John’s:

  1. Mission Alignment: Help the University assess how well its current community engagement activities align with the broader mission and core values of the University and continue to perpetuate Catholic Social Teaching and the Vincentian charism. It allows for reflection on whether the institution is fulfilling its commitment to supporting communities impacted by poverty, maintaining social responsibility, and providing community-oriented education. 

  2. Assess Community Engagement Efforts: Evaluate the extent and effectiveness of its community engagement initiatives. This includes examining the University’s partnerships, outreach programs, and involvement in addressing community challenges (e.g., Academic Service-Learning projects, Ozanam Scholars global service excursions, and Vincentian service projects)

  3. Strategic Planning: The findings from the self-study can inform strategic planning for future community engagement initiatives. Facilitated by the Mission sector, the insights gained are used to identify areas of improvement, set goals for enhanced community involvement, and develop strategies to strengthen impact on the local, national, and global communities.

  4. Recognition and Validation: Attaining a specific classification within the Carnegie framework provides external validation for St. John’s University’s commitment to community engagement. It serves as a recognition of the institution’s efforts in contributing to the betterment of society.

In summary, the Carnegie Classification enables St. John’s to evaluate, validate, and strategically enhance its commitment to community engagement, aligning our actions with our mission and values. 

2024 Community Engagement Submissions

Updates and Announcements 

January 27, 2022
Framework release (including application questions)

March 1, 2022
Application available on GivePulse

October 31, 2022
Deadline to secure application and initiate process

May 1, 2023
Application Deadline

December 2023
Notification to campuses of their classification status

January 2024
Public announcement of 2024 Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement designated campuses

The process documented below is representative of St. John’s institutional self-study planning in conjunction with specific guidelines and requirements provided by the Carnegie Foundation. 

Review Carnegie Classification Criteria:

Institutional review of self-study criteria. Identify indicators outlined by the Carnegie Foundation for Community Engagement. Understand the dimensions and expectation for effective community engagement.

Establish a Self-Study Team/Committee:

Form a dedicated team/committee that includes representatives from various departments and stakeholders in Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement 

Mapping Community Engagement Activities:

  • Identify areas for data collection and key community partners.Identify the areas with community engagement activities that can provide evidence and context in response to the self-study questions. Identify personnel responsible for managing, collecting, and reporting key data points. This is held in retreat style, committee brainstorming sessions, University-wide community engagement inventory, etc.
  • Create a comprehensive map or inventory of community engagement activities, detailing the scope, objectives, and outcomes of each initiative. This can help identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement.

Data Collection: 

  • Gather data on existing community engagement initiatives, partnerships, and programs at the institution. Collect evidence of the impact on both the institution and the community.

Mission Alignment Assessment:

  • Evaluate how well the institution’s community engagement efforts align with its mission and values. Consider the ways in which community engagement is integrated into the overall educational and institutional goals.

Documentation and Evidence Gathering:

  • Compile documentation and evidence that support the institution’s community engagement activities (e.g., reports, publications, partnership agreements, and anecdotal surveys from institutional members).

Engage Stakeholders:

  • Seek input and feedback from various stakeholders, including community partners, faculty, students, and administrators. Synthesize and evaluate feedback data (e.g., surveys, anecdotal responses) on the diverse perspectives of participants engaging in institutional community engagement efforts.

Analysis and Reflection:

  • Analyze the collected data and stakeholder feedback. Reflect on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges related to community engagement at the institution.

Gap Analysis:

  • Identify any gaps or areas for improvement in the current community engagement strategy. Determine where the institution can enhance its impact and effectiveness in addressing community needs.

Documentation of Findings and University Town Halls:

  • Prepare a comprehensive report documenting the self-study findings, analysis, and action plans. Clearly articulate how the institution meets the criteria for the Carnegie Classification.
  • Identify and compile evidence/artifacts into centralized locations.
  • Hold University-wide town hall meetings to present findings and receive community feedback.

Submission to Carnegie Foundation:

  • Follow the submission guidelines provided by the Carnegie Foundation for submitting a self-study report. Ensure that all required documentation and evidence is included as per guidelines. Writing intensive and review period.

Strategic Planning:

  • Develop a strategic plan for advancing community engagement based on the findings of the self-study. Set goals, objectives, and action plans to strengthen the institution’s commitment to community engagement. 
  • Share final findings and feedback to Senior Management group and Board of Trustees.

Response to Feedback:

  • Upon receiving feedback from the Carnegie Foundation, prepare to address any recommendations or suggestions. Use feedback to refine and improve community engagement efforts.