CSUN Selected by Carnegie Foundation to Receive Community Engagement Classification

Volunteers cross street

CSUN volunteers head down Prairie Street to clean up the neighborhood surrounding the university. Photo by Lee Choo.

California State University, Northridge is among the 119 U.S. colleges and universities selected by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to receive the 2020 Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. The six-year designation indicates institutional commitment to community engagement.

CSUN is a first-time recipient of this nationally recognized classification and joins recipients such as University of Pennsylvania, Arizona State University, Ohio State University, USC and UCLA.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive this classification in recognition of the university-wide efforts to elevate our local communities and the entire region,” said CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison. “Community engagement is a critical element of an engaged 21st century institution, particularly for an urban-serving university like CSUN. Across the university, faculty and students spend countless hours using what they learn in the classroom to transform lives to connect their talent and resources with our region.”

This classification is awarded following a process of self-study by each institution, which is then assessed by a national review committee led by the Swearer Center for Public Engagement at Brown University, the administrative and research home for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

“CSUN has a culture that fosters and develops the dedication of our students, faculty and staff to meaningful partnerships between the university and the community,” said Mary Beth Walker, CSUN provost and vice president for academic affairs. “They are true partnerships characterized by collaboration, mutuality and reciprocal learning. Faculty see first-hand the impact that this engagement has on our students, and faculty and students benefit from the knowledge and expertise of our community partners.”

The Carnegie Community Engagement designated institutions do exceptional work to advance their public purpose through community engagement that enriches teaching and research while also benefiting the broader community.

CSUN received the distinction for a range of work with partner organizations. Just a few examples include CSUN and community partners providing free tax preparation to low-income taxpayers in Los Angeles County; addressing healthy eating and the problem of childhood obesity; and organizing neighborhood clean-ups and beautification activities — all driven by significant collaboration.

“The vast majority of our nearly 40,000 students come to CSUN from Southern California, so there is a real connection to our region and a desire to give back in a way that makes a positive difference,” said William Watkins, CSUN vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “It is gratifying to see our students put into practice what they learn in the classroom to uplift our communities.”

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching aims to build a field around the use of improvement science and networked improvement communities to solve long-standing inequities in educational outcomes. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education (now housed at Indiana University Bloomington’s Center for Postsecondary Research) continues to be used for a wide range of purposes by academic researchers, institutional personnel, policymakers and others. For more information, visit www.carnegiefoundation.org.

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