Small Farms Week at the A&T farm

N.C. A&T Receives Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected North Carolina A&T State University to receive its 2015 Community Engagement Classification.

The honor reflects the university’s collaboration with local, state, national and global communities to work together to address critical societal issues and to improve teaching and learning, scholarship and research to produce graduates educated and engaged in democratic values and civic responsibility.

“Your application documented excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement, and it responded to the classification framework with both descriptions and examples of exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement,” the foundation said in notifying A&T of the honor.

The university conducts community-based programs in a variety of disciplines, including the statewide Cooperative Extension program, healthcare and wellness, educational outreach and economic development. Among these programs are the Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness; the Center for Outreach in Alzheimer’s, Aging and Community Health; and the Diabetes Education Center at the Greensboro Urban Ministry.

More information can be found on the A&T community engagement website.

“As a land-grant institution, North Carolina A&T has been closely engaged with our community, the state and the nation since 1891,” said Dr. Joe Whitehead, A&T provost and chief academic officer.

“This honor recognizes the continuing efforts of students, faculty and staff members from every part of the university whose commitment and hard work are strengthening our communities and supporting a fundamental aspect of A&T’s mission.”

The foundation states explicitly that the classification is “not an award.”

“It is an evidence-based documentation of institutional practice to be used in a process of self-assessment and quality improvement,” the Carnegie website says.

In line with that expectation of improvement is the non-permanent nature of the honor. It’s effective for 10 years, at which point schools must re-apply.

Unlike the Carnegie Foundation's other higher education classifications, which rely on national data and don’t involve direct participation by schools, the Community Engagement Classification is "elective." Institutions participate voluntarily by compiling an exhaustive report on their engagement with the community.

A&T’s report was an eight-month project headed by Dr. Craig Rhodes, special assistant to the provost. Members of the task force were:

  • Mr. David Arneke, Division of Research and Economic Development;
  • Mrs. Arneice H. Bowen, Office of Library Services;
  • Dr. Vincent W. Childress, School of Technology;
  • Ms. Samantha Hargrove, Office of University Relations;
  • Ms. Denise Iverson-Payne, Division of Student Affairs;
  • Dr. G. Scott Jenkins, Office of Academic Affairs;
  • Dr. Muktha B. Jost, School of Education;
  • Dr. Beryl McEwen, School of Business and Economics (previously Office of Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness);
  • Mr. Leotis Parrish, College of Engineering;
  • Dr. Sanjiv Sarin, Graduate School;
  • Dr. Claudette Smith, School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences;
  • Mrs. Kimberly Sowell, Division of Student Affairs;
  • Mr. Wayne Szafranski, Division of Research and Economic Development; and
  • Dr. Forrest D. Toms, School of Education.

A&T is one of 83 schools that were announced as first-time recipients of the classification on Wednesday. There are now 361 schools that hold the classification.