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Media Room

Date: 2/07/2020

Maryville College receives Carnegie Community Engagement Classification

The Carnegie Foundation announced Jan. 31 that Maryville College has received the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, an elective designation that indicates institutional commitment to community engagement.

Community engagement is defined by the Carnegie Foundation as “the 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.”

 To apply for this designation, Maryville College completed an extensive self-study of community engagement practices in every area of the College’s life. The application was 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. 

 “Maryville College has served the community since its founding, and in turn has benefited from the support of the community in times of both challenge and of plenty,” said Maryville College President Dr. Tom Bogart. “Our current strategic plan identifies ‘living our mission as a community and with our community’ as a top priority. I am grateful to the people on campus who labored to produce a thorough and helpful self-study, and I am grateful to the community partners who collaborate with us and who took the time to respond to a detailed set of questions about our engagement with them. And I am grateful to all who, in the words of our mission statement, ‘dedicate a life of creativity and service to the peoples of the world.’”

The letter confirming Maryville College’s Carnegie Community Engagement Classification endorsement praised the College for “excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement … It responded to the classification framework with descriptive, coherent and compelling evidence of exemplary practices of institutionalized community engagement.”  

With this round of classification, a total of 359 campuses currently hold this important designation. Within the state of Tennessee, Maryville College is joined by eight institutions in being so recognized, including Lipscomb University, Rhodes College, the University of the South and the University of Tennessee. 

The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification is the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in U.S. higher education.

“These newly-classified and re-classified institutions are doing exceptional work to forward their public purpose in and through community engagement that enriches teaching and research while also benefiting the broader community,” said Mathew Johnson, executive director of the Swearer Center.


Community Engagement Classification Process

The application process is extensive; Maryville College began preparing for the process in May 2017 and submitted the 92-page application in April 2019. The work was led by the Rev. Dr. Anne McKee, campus minister; Dr. Ariane Schratter, professor of psychology; Amy Gilliland, director of community engagement; and Dr. Eric Simpson, assistant professor of music.

“The application for the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement helped the College document the ways every division of the College engages in the community for positive mutual benefit,” McKee said. “Through reviewing documents and engaging in conversations with people across the College and the community, we were constantly moved and impressed by the outstanding work of our faculty, staff, students and partners. This research helped us identify paths to move forward, to strengthen processes and relationships, so that what we value as a College will continue to be embodied, with ever more vitality, as we look beyond the Bicentennial toward the future.”

The process included participation and feedback from departments and academic divisions across campus, as well as community partners. The application looked at three main areas: campus and community context; foundational indicators; and community engagement categories, including curricular, co-curricular, professional and faculty scholarship, partnerships, and other institutional initiatives.

“The application was strengthened by the fact that a broad representation of Maryville’s faculty have, in recent years, produced community-related research and incorporated community engagement into their courses,” McKee said. “Programs such as Maryville College Works, the Bonner Scholarship, and programs of the Clayton Center for the Arts also represent the reciprocal relationship between the College and the Community.”


Community Partnerships Vital

            Each year, Maryville College engages with over 100 organizations, in and beyond the local area. The application included in-depth accounts of several of these partnerships with corporate and non-profit organizations, who were then invited by the Swearer Center to describe their collaborations with Maryville College.

Connie Huffman, assistant administrator at Blount Memorial Hospital, whose partnership was highlighted in the application, said the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification is “wonderful recognition” for Maryville College.

“We're honored to have the opportunity to work with the College and its faculty and students on a daily basis,” Huffman said. “At Blount Memorial, we know that by working with others, we can help to make Blount County a better place – and we try to do this whenever we see an opportunity. The College has been a wonderful resource, locally, for 200 years, and its impact reaches nationally and internationally through the students it has educated and prepared for the next stages of their lives. We're extremely proud of its accomplishment.”