The Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement is an elective classification indicating an institution’s commitment to evidence-based community engagement practices. In 2018, as part of the 10-year working plan for community engagement, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DCE) decided to apply for Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification. UM had previously unsuccessfully applied for the designation in 2010, and one shortcoming of that application was the emphasis on community engagement being synonymous with service. Over the subsequent nine years since the initial application, UM has advanced community engagement through strategic priorities; recognized community engagement as an activity within UM’s research, learning, and service missions; and created the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement to advance the institutionalization of community engagement at UM.
The Carnegie process allowed us to document institutionalized CE at UM, be evaluated by national peers, and engage in ongoing (continuous) self-study and improvement. This data compiled for this process continues to inform our institutional support, strategic priorities, and curricular and co-curricular activities that advance community engagement across UM’s scholarly research, teaching, and service missions. It also provides recognition of the shared ownership of community engagement across UM divisions, college/schools, and departments as we learn about CE in different contexts and disciplines. As an extensive self-study, it required us to gather, synthesize, and communicate across institutional silos. As a result, our submitted application and our 10-year working plan for community engagement reflect a new understanding of the breadth and depth of community engaged research, learning, and service and engaged scholarship throughout UM and allow us to highlight our progress, identify needed improvements, and plan for those improvements within our institutional mission and context.
Ideally, this application and the pursuant designation will be a source of pride for UM showcasing our collective institutional progress and the investment of countless faculty, staff, community partners, and administrators. Regardless of the outcome, the process itself has elevated CE and strengthened relationships on and off-campus. We appreciate the learning, insights, and unexpected findings that this process provides, and draw inspiration from our colleagues and community partners in this work.
2018 Carnegie CE Application Working Group:
Cade Smith (chair) Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement
Lindsey Abernathy, Associate Director of the Office of Sustainability,
Laura Antonow, Director of the Office of College Programs & Instructional Assistant Professor Higher Education
Katie Busby, Director the Office of Institutional, Research, Effectiveness and Planning & Instructional Assistant Professor of Higher Education
Tammy Dempsey, Director the Office of Service Learning and Community Engagement, University of Mississippi Medical Center
Erin Holmes, Associate Professor Pharmacy Administration and Research
Laura Martin Associate Director of the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement
Mindy Sutton Noss Dean of Students
Albert Nylander Director of the McLean Institute and Professor of Sociology
Erin Payseur Oeth Project Manager in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement
Cris Surbeck Associate Dean Engineering and Associate Professor of Civil Engineering