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Community engagement describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.
The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.

The Carnegie Foundation's Classification for Community Engagement is an elective classification. The collection of data and documentation of processes are important to the application process. Institutions must collect data and document aspects of their mission, identity and communitments. This evidence-based documentation of institutional practice is used in self-assessment and quality improvement processes. The documentation is then provided in the application process and is reviewed to determine if an institution qualifies for recognition as a community engaged institution.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) partner in the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. The Carnegie Foundation, a policy and research center, supports the transformation of American education.  NERCHE manages and adminsters the Community Engagement Classification process.   You can learn more about both organizations by visiting: and

The Community Engagement Classification takes place on a five-year cycle. The next opportunity for institutions to apply for classification will be during the 2020 cycle.  Applications open in 2018 and are due in spring of 2019.   To learn more about the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement you can visit:   Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement