Central Connecticut State University Selected as Carnegie "Community Engagement Institution" by Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
In 2011, Central Connecticut State University was designated as a Carnegie Community Engagement Institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. CCSU was one of 115 U.S. colleges and universities selected that year for the special classification.
“We are honored to be named as a Carnegie Community Engagement Institution. It puts CCSU in a distinctive category and acknowledges our support and advancement in community engagement,” says Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Carl Lovitt. “Our ultimate aim is to prepare students to be thoughtful, responsible and successful citizens, as we partner with our community to help address serious problems, realize opportunities, and stimulate revitalization.”
To be considered for the designation, CCSU completed a 36-page application describing the nature and extent of its engagement with the community, be it local or beyond.
“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.”
In a letter to CCSU, Carnegie cited Central for its “exemplary” practices of community engagement” and “excellent” alignment among its mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.
Having identified community engagement as one of the University’s four elements of distinctiveness, CCSU has been dedicated over the past five years to making community engagement an institutional priority. Faculty, staff, administrators, and students, from the President’s Office to student clubs, have been actively involved in improving and expanding its partnerships and outreach. In 2009, the Office of Continuing Education and Community Engagement was established and charged with planning, developing and coordinating community-based projects and engagement programs. The University established multiple channels for community members to provide feedback about perceptions and program and partnership development, offers student scholarships and faculty grants to support them in their community efforts, and formally recognizes faculty, staff and students through university-wide and departmental awards.
The proportion of first-year students giving back to the community has shown a marked increase indicating an increased institutional contribution to their development. In 2006, 26% of first-year students reported that CCSU had contributed “very much” or “quite a bit” to their own development in contributing to the welfare of their community. Two years later, that number increased to 46%, according to Lovitt, who said “But we won’t be satisfied until a substantial majority of our students indicate that CCSU has enhanced their commitment to community engagement.”
Some of the projects exemplifying CCSU’s commitment to community engagement include:
- Working with a faculty mentor, School of Business students developed a business plan for the downtown New Britain Community Central project, which has been established as a storefront presence for CCSU while delivering after-school programs for youth and other innovative community engagement initiatives.
- Students and faculty involved students from a local teen pregnancy prevention program in after-school laboratory research projects, constructed an eco-friendly Naturescape, and organized a health fair for members of the Naylor School community.
- Education students led an interactive drawing and writing workshop for elementary school children to increase awareness of and promote compassion toward homelessness and implemented a middle school mentoring program.
- Students, working with the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at CCSU, testified in the General Assembly on proposed legislation, designed innovative mapping technology, and conducted trainings on web-based applications.
- CCSU Courses Abroad routinely engage students with community initiatives overseas, including work on local farms (Brazil), learning from chiefs and traditional healers (Ghana), work with Aboriginal artists (Australia), assisting communities in extreme poverty (South Africa), and helping villagers achieve sustainable development goals (Peru).
- CCSU students, faculty and the University's Institute for Municipal & Regional Policies developed a writing program with students at the Naylor School in Hartford, one of CCSU's professional developement schools which has been served by CCSU for decades. Click here for a video on this important project.
- CCSU Technology and Engineering Education (TEE) program students participated in National Rebuilding Day by participating with Farmington High School students in Rebuilding Together events in Hartford and New Britain. Click here for more of the story
- CCSU Launched Community Central; click here for New Britain Herald news story. And click here for the Herald editorial about CCSU's community engagement efforts.
More information about the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification can be found on the Web at: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/.