Carnegie Community Engagement Classification - Canadian Pilot

FAQs

Community engagement describes the collaboration between higher education and communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources. The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of knowledge and resources to enrich scholarship, research and creative activity; enhance teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address societal issues; and contribute to the public good.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to developing networks of ideas, individuals, and institutions to advance teaching and learning. They work to join together scholars, practitioners, and designers in new ways to solve problems of educational practice. Toward this end, they work to integrate the discipline of improvement science into education with the goal of building the field’s capacity to improve.

Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered by an act of Congress, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center. Improving teaching and learning has always been Carnegie's motivation and heritage.

The Swearer Center at Brown University is the Administrative and Research home of the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement.

The Classification rests on Eckel, P., Hill, B. & Green, M. (1998). On Change: En Route to Transformation. It is intended to support a process for institutional learning and transformation, the outcome of which is an institution in which high-quality community engagement is deeply rooted and pervasive. Eckel et. al. (1998) characterize institutional transformations as processes that alter the culture of the institution by changing select underlying assumptions and institutional behaviours; they are intentional, deep and pervasive, impacting the whole institution over time.

The framework recognizes that each institutional context is complex. Rather than evaluating impact, it is designed to gather information about how institutions are aligning their institutional infrastructure to enable and facilitate community-engaged work across the institution, and how they are gathering information and assessing the quality and outcomes from this work, themselves. It is less interested in the specific results and more interested in the question of whether or not these areas are being attended to, and if so, how?

By focusing on institutional processes, the classification enables situated learning, sharing and best practice development within each institution and across the sector. The goal is change over time: if an institution does not have a process yet for certain parts of the framework, if they can show the ways in which they are working towards it, this is counted towards the credit.

The Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement is based in Grounded Theory which has allowed for the emergence of theory and practice that reflects a broader movement in community engagement and a growing body of work and scholarship that recognizes the foundational importance of reciprocity and partnership.

The Carnegie Foundation’s commitment to continuous improvement and to creating communities of practice around high quality community engagement has, therefore, made it very natural to extend inquiry and support into other contexts, such as Canada.

The Canadian cohort is one of a few international pilots of the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement with other pilots in Australia and Malaysia.  Conversations regarding two other international pilots in Africa and Singapore are currently underway.  In 2015-2016, nine campuses in Ireland went through a yearlong process of administering the Community Engagement Classification for the purpose of self-assessment and to provide feedback on ways in which the documentation framework (application) might need to be adapted to account for the national and cultural context.

  • To create a network of leading Canadian post-secondary institutions that are bound by an interest in self-assessment and quality improvement in their practices and approaches to civic and community engagement.
  • To provide the opportunity for those institutions to learn about the philosophy and logic of the existing Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.
  • To support each other in the process of completing and submitting the Classification application.
  • To reflect as a cohort on the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification’s fit in Canadian community engagement contexts. The cultural, historical and policy nuances that differentiate Canada from the United States make it clear that a community engagement classification process intended to catalyze and support institutional change in Canada must properly navigate those differences. The CPC’s work will highlight those nuances and make suggestions for how to most appropriately situate a community engagement classification in Canada that has the greatest chance to take root and support coordinated institutional change.
  • To work together as a learning community to identify needed adjustments to the existing Classification, recommend solutions and contribute to the development of a Canadian specific version of the Classification, if deemed desirable.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to developing networks of ideas, individuals, and institutions to advance teaching and learning. We join together scholars, practitioners, and designers in new ways to solve problems of educational practice. Toward this end, we work to integrate the discipline of improvement science into education with the goal of building the field’s capacity to improve.

Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered by an act of Congress, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center. Improving teaching and learning has always been Carnegie's motivation and heritage.

The Swearer Centre, Brown University

In 1986, Brown President Howard Swearer was at the forefront of a revolution in higher education when he founded one of the first public service centers in the nation, now named for him — the Swearer Center for Public Service. President Swearer had the foresight to locate the new center within the Dean of the College’s office — at the heart of the undergraduate curriculum. He strongly believed, as President Christina Paxson does today, that public service and experiential learning are essential components of Brown’s educational mission.

Today, the Howard R. Swearer Center works with more than 1,200 Brown students, through and with 100+ community partners -- more than half of which are in the Greater Providence area. In our 30-year history, we have developed and nurtured many deep — and deeply rewarding — relationships with individuals and organizations in Providence that continue to inspire us and our work. We connect students, faculty and community partners through community engagement, engaged scholarship and social innovation -- three key perspectives that are the foundations of our work.

Simon Fraser University

Located in Canada on British Columbia's west coast, SFU is comprised of three distinctive campuses, 30,000 students, 6,500 faculty and staff, and 130,000 alumni. We have been consistently ranked among Canada’s top comprehensive universities and we were recently named to the Times Higher Education list of 100 world universities under 50.

Our vision is to be one of Canada’s leading engaged universities, defined by a dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement.

Our approach to community engaged scholarship and service is strategic, collaborative and distributed, resting on the principles of inclusion and diversity; mutual trust, respect and accountability; sustainable approaches; healthy relationships; equity; and knowledge creation.

The McConnell Foundation

The McConnell Foundation is a private Canadian foundation that develops and applies innovative approaches to social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges. We do so through granting and investing, capacity building, convening, and co-creation with grantees, partners and the public.

Building on our partnership with Ashoka U to bring the Changemaker Campus Designation to Canada, and as a complement to activities related to “Building Social Infrastructure”, the McConnell Foundation has joined the collaboration as a strategic learning partner; serving as an advisor, convener and capacity builder. In seeing how the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification is used alongside parallel initiatives in the US, such as the Changemaker Campus Designation, we see the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification as an opportunity to further deepen the civic and community engagement of Canadian postsecondary institutions.

  1. To attend an initial convening to learn about the philosophy and logic of the existing US Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. This workshop event was conducted by the Swearer Centre, Brown University – the administrative and research home of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. It was hosted at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC from February 26 – 28, 2019. More information: https://www.sfu.ca/carnegie/initial-convening.html.
  2. To provide a one-time participation fee of $7,000 US to cover research and administration costs and cost sharing for meeting expenses.
  3. To engage in the data collection, analysis and synthesis required to review and answer the questions in the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification Documentation Framework and to host individual campus site visits from the existing US Carnegie Community Engagement Classification Team.
  4. To work together as a learning community to identify needed adjustments to the existing Classification, recommend solutions and contribute to the development of a Canadian specific version of the Classification, if deemed desirable.
  • February 2019: Participate in Initial Convening
  • March 2019 - May 2020: Complete and Submit Classification Application
  • May - June 2020: Application Review Period
  • June - August 2020: Host Individual Site Visits from US Team
  • September 2020: Participating Institutions Receive Final Reports
  • October 2020: Participate in Closing Convening 
  • October 2020 - January 2021: Finalize Canadian Classification Framework, Develop Set of Governance Policies, Selection of National Advisory Committee
  • April 2021: Open Applications to Canadian Classification
  • April 2022: Application Deadline for First Canadian Classification Cycle in 2023
     

The Classification requires institutions to engage in a structured process of institutional self-assessment and self-study that includes gathering and reflecting on evidence that, in turn, leads to better understanding areas of strength and weakness.  This offers opportunities for the institution to improve practice and advance community engagement on campus in a number of ways:

  • Through recognizing relationships between those in the college/university and those outside the college/university that are grounded in the qualities of reciprocity, mutual respect, shared authority, and co-creation of goals and outcomes.
  • Through identifying promising practices that can be shared across and between institutions.
  • Through strengthening a culture of shared-ownership and collaboration for engagement as a way of bringing the disparate parts of the campus together to advance a unified agenda.
  • As a way of demonstrating accountability that the institution is fulfilling its mission to serve the public good.

The process of applying, itself, is a catalyst for change, fostering institutional alignment for community-based teaching, learning, and scholarship and helping to crystalize an institutional identity around community engagement.  It offers opportunities to lift up elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness and assists in institution’s strategic planning processes.

As a collective, there is an important benefit for the CPC of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.  As each individual institution in the CPC works through the application and documents their experience, opportunities are created to share those experiences with other cohort members.  This, in turn, provides the foundation for shaping and becoming founding members of a future Canadian framework that will magnify impact nationally and beyond.

The collaborative and co-creative approach inherent within partnership is fundamentally important to relationships of mutual benefit and reciprocity.

“Outreach” and “partnership” are terms that have been used to describe two different but related approaches to community engagement. Outreach has traditionally focused on the application and provision of institutional resources for community use. In contrast, partnership includes collaborative interactions between communities and colleges/universities for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration, and application of knowledge, information, and resources, including research, capacity building, economic development, and others. The distinction between these two is grounded in the concepts of reciprocity and mutual benefit, which the Classification explicitly explores. Reciprocity assumes a flow of knowledge, information and benefits in both directions between the college/university and community partners. It identifies relationships between those in the college/university and those outside the college/university that are grounded in the qualities of mutual respect, shared authority and co-creation of goals and outcomes.

The nuances between outreach and partnership speak to a deeper purpose around “epistemic justice” which, at its core, is about the current systems and structures in our society that privilege certain forms of knowledge, thereby undermining the value of others. The way post-secondary institutions have been organized positions academic knowledge in a place of great power. The tradition of academic institutions presenting themselves as experts, using community issues as subjects for research, and offering solutions to communities ‘in-need’ has perpetuated a social hierarchy separating the academy from the community. Establishing partnerships as defined by the Classification can shift power from the “ivory tower” to the community, to ensure engagement is mutually beneficial and appropriately values the knowledge and interests embedded within communities.

According to the Eckel and colleagues (1998) model, depth is a key element of transformation, but it is not enough. As they point out, “A deep change is not necessarily broad. It is possible for deep changes to occur within specific units or academic departments without being widespread throughout the institution” (p. 4). There could be a few faculty in a few departments, all doing quality community engagement in their courses and in their research, but if the practice is not widespread across the institution, no organizational transformation is occurring. Pervasiveness, according to Eckel and colleagues (1998), “refers to the extent to which the change is far-reaching within the institution. The more pervasive the change, the more it crosses unit boundaries and touches different parts of the institution” (p. 4).

  • When depth is high but pervasiveness is low, there is isolated change.
  • When pervasiveness is high and depth is low, there is far-reaching change.
  • When pervasiveness and depth are both high, there is transformational change.

The theory of change underpinning the Classification has been built over a period of fifteen years through Grounded Theory: where theory emerges from practice as learning occurs.

There are two cycles defined in the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification’s theory of change: 1) Discovery and Curation, and 2) Classification and Community.

DISCOVERY AND CURATION  

  1. Systematically surface institutions that practice ethical, reflective, and deep community engagement practice using the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.
  2. Analyze institutions to discover best practices (what are institutions doing, rather than what they claim they are achieving by virtue of doing those things).
  3. Curate best practice discoveries.
  4. Iterate those discoveries back into the Classification (5 year cycle).

CLASSIFICATION AND COMMUNITY

  1. The discovery and curation cycle creates an epistemic community around the Classification and the work it seeks to identify and lift up.
  2. Epistemic communities develop common languages, common practices, regular convenings, and other means for connecting across institutions around the institutional changes they are pursuing.
  3. Epistemic communities exercise collective power to shape and reshape individual institutions through standard setting and validation of change agents within institutions.

Over time, the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification theory of change pushes institutions to engage in more progressive principles and norms for engaged scholarship. This is particularly exemplified in the story of the Lynton Award, administered at Brown University. The Lynton Award emerged out of a similar process. It conceptualizes scholarly engagement as engagement that is grounded in a set of assumptions about knowledge and social change, explicitly advancing social justice in a diverse democracy. For details, see: https://www.brown.edu/swearer/lynton/defining-engaged-scholarship.