From Nikki Koontz
SUU Marketing Communication
CEDAR CITY– Southern Utah University is one of only 361 higher education institutions in the United States to be recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Community Engaged University. This national recognition, first awarded in 2010 to Southern Utah University, is approaching re-application.
The application is due April 15, 2019 for designation as a 2020 Carnegie committee engaged institution. Until that deadline, SUU has about a year to go through a self-study process that currently involves a dozen team members from across the University. They will collect data, compile documents, and write a narrative that addresses prompts within the Carnegie application.
To be selected, institutions have to provide examples of school-wide practices exhibiting community engagement and alignment among mission, culture, leadership resources and practices. The Carnegie Foundation developed a set of criteria used to assess the nature of an institution’s community engagement commitments.
According to the Carnegie Foundation, this 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.”
“This designation is a testament to the university’s commitment to service, community engagement, and volunteerism by students, faculty, staff, and others,” said Dr. Earl Mulderink, director of the Community Engagement Center. “It affirms the role of SUU as a community partner and in working with community partners to the betterment of southern Utah.”
The classification acknowledges the university’s commitment to and demonstration of community involvement, with an aim of improving teaching and learning. According to the Carnegie Foundation, “community engagement describes 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.” Community Engagement classification underscores and enhances Southern Utah University’s ongoing efforts to fulfill a wide range of institutional and community responsibilities.
Brad Cook, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, said that the recognition was, “a powerful statement on SUU’s commitment to its stewardship of place. By making engagement a part of the academic fabric of the institution, it deepens and expands the way the campus serves the broader community. Engaged and experiential education is a proven way to increase faculty involvement and enhance student academic success through such activities.”
The professors aren’t the only ones contributing to SUU’s classification. Hundreds of students ranging from the nursing program to student teachers have been involved with community engagement over the years and made this classification possible. From August 2017 – April 2018, 213 SUU students were involved in over 69,000 hours of service around the world and in the community of Cedar City. Those numbers continue to increase year after year, proving that SUU truly deserves its status as a Community Engaged University.