The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching granted Georgetown the 2015 Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement on Jan. 15, an award that was given to 360 U.S. colleges and universities and will remain valid until 2025.
“The Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement is the gold star for recognition in the important work of the university for the common good,” Center for Social Justice Director Andria Wisler said. “The process to earn this classification is both rigorous and extremely reflective, allowing many Georgetown faculty and staff members committed to these endeavors to share about their work.”
In a statement on the university’s website, President John J. DeGioia said that Georgetown’s success is because of the university’s commitment to the common good.
“Our commitment to the common good, to engaging productively and positively with our community locally and globally, is at the core of this tradition and at the heart of what we do at Georgetown,” DeGioia wrote.
Georgetown previously received the Carnegie award in 2008, and this award expired in January 2015. The Carnegie Foundation has been awarding this specific classification since 2006, and a total of 361 universities and colleges have received the distinction.
“Since 2008 we have expanded our infrastructure to support this work, including creating the Office of Community Engagement and the Office of Global Engagement, created new academic programs with strong community engagement components,” Associate Vice President of Community Engagement and Strategic Initiatives Lauralyn Lee said. “[This] strengthened much of the community service and engaged scholarship that has been central to Georgetown for many years.”
In addition to the creation of the Office of Community Engagement and the Office of Global Engagement, Wisler said the Designing The Future(s) of the University initiative was an important reason why Georgetown received the Carnegie award this year.
The initiative, which launched in 2013, is focused on engaging the Georgetown community in an exploration of the problems that higher education as a whole faces and the ways Georgetown can sustain a high-caliber education in the face of these issues.
The incorporation of community engagement into the core values of Georgetown is an important part of the Carnegie classification.
DeGioia said that Georgetown’s core educational purpose was the motivating factor behind its strength in community engagement.
“As we face new challenges in higher education and explore new ways to educate our students, we remain committed to the core purposes of the university — formation, scholarship and the common good — all tenets to which deep and meaningful community engagement is essential,” DeGioia wrote.
Seventeen Jesuit institutions, including Xavier University and Marquette University, also received the award. Wisler said that the fact so many Jesuit universities received the award is no coincidence.
“It is our shared Jesuit mission and values that provide a compelling framework and context for deep community engagement,” Wisler said.
Many different facets of the Georgetown community contributed to receiving the award, according to Wisler.
“The Center for Social Justice is proud to play a major role in these efforts, through its deep collaborations with dozens of community-based organizations, whose willingness to partner provide the foundation for sustained, impactful engagement,” Wisler said.
Assistant Director of Community Engagement Jamie Scott said that the award was the result of collaboration across all of Georgetown’s campuses, offices and programs.
“The Office of Community Engagement and the Center for Social Justice worked closely on the bulk of the drafting, with input and assistance from colleagues at the Law Center, Medical Center, Main Campus, SCS and elsewhere,” Scott said. “We are grateful for everyone that helped us collect data and draft the application.”
Despite Georgetown’s recognition, the university will continue to push itself to further improvement.
“New CSJ initiatives are always in collaboration with community-based partners,” Wisler said. “Two small examples [of new CSJ initiatives include] … a new STEM afterschool program in Ward 7 at Nalle Elementary School which includes tutoring on Tuesday and Thursday and a Robotics class on Fridays. CSJ has also deepened its partnership with Georgetown Ministry Center with the development of a Hypothermia Outreach Team among other programs.”
Lee said that Georgetown must, and will, continue its devotion to promoting high levels of community engagement.
“[We want to] bring experiential learning into the mainstream of the Georgetown curriculum, a goal of the Designing the Future(s) Initiative, and aligning our business practices with the needs of our city,” Lee said. “By understanding the needs of our community and the resources at the university, we can leverage our resources to meet those needs and design new programs and policies to help fill the gaps.”