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Carnegie Foundation Bestows Honor On Collin College

January 6, 2011 – Collin College was one of 12 community colleges nationwide selected by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for its 2010 Community Engagement Classification.

Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification, first offered in 2006 as part of an extensive restructuring of The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. In total, 115 U.S. colleges and universities were distinguished. The institutions selected include 35 research universities, 41 master’s colleges and universities, 25 baccalaureate colleges, 12 community colleges and 2 specialized institutions.

Unlike the foundation’s other classifications that rely on national data, this is an “elective” classification—institutions elected to participate by submitting required documentation describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond. This approach enabled the Foundation to address elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness that are not represented in the national data on colleges and universities.

“Through a classification that acknowledges significant commitment to and demonstration of community engagement, the Foundation encourages colleges and universities to become more deeply engaged, to improve teaching and learning and to generate socially responsive knowledge to benefit communities,” said Carnegie President Anthony Bryk. “We are very pleased with the movement we are seeing in this direction.”

Collin College was joined by Blinn College, Sam Houston State University, St. Mary’s University, The University of Texas at Arlington, The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, and The University of Texas at El Paso as colleges and universities in Texas awarded the honor.

“Obtaining the Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification acknowledges the dedication Collin College students and faculty have to serving the community,” said Brenda Kihl, vice president of academic and institutional effectiveness at Collin College. “Last year, students provided over 12,000 service hours to non-profit organizations. Engagement in the community enriches the education experience and broadens perspectives to develop future servant leaders.”

According to Amy Driscoll, a consulting scholar with the Carnegie Foundation and with the New England Resource Center for Higher Education, “We noted strong institutional alignment across leadership, infrastructure, strategic planning, budgeting, faculty teaching and scholarship, and community partnerships.” Driscoll further explained, “There is increased student engagement tied to the curriculum as well as increased use of institutional measures for understanding student engagement in learning through community engagement.”

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center that supports needed transformations in American education through tighter connections between teaching practice, evidence of student learning, the communication and use of this evidence, and structured opportunities to build knowledge. The Foundation is located in Stanford, Calif. More information may be found at www.carnegiefoundation.org.

For more information about Collin College’s civic engagement initiatives, visit the Center for Scholarly and Civic Engagement’s webpage at www.collin.edu/academics/csce/.