Western Washington University has received the 2010 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
"This Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement designation is both an honor and recognition of the positive difference Western makes in our community. This also further encourages the university to reach out to the community in even more ways," said WWU President Bruce Shepard.
To receive the classification, institutions must operate community outreach programs that meet a need, deepen students' civic and academic learning, enhance community well-being and enrich the scholarship of the institution.
"The university's recognition is a great and much-deserved honor," Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike said. "We enjoy a high degree of collaboration with Western, thanks in particular to Dr. Shepard's emphasis on partnering with the broader community. These efforts benefit everyone – students, faculty, community members, youth, parents and more – and represent the important role our public universities play in our society. "
A few examples of Western’s community outreach include:
- The Compass 2 Campus program, which is designed to increase access to higher education by providing an opportunity for local 5th through 12th grade students from traditionally underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds to be mentored by university students. The program serves over 800 elementary and secondary school students; nearly that many Western students serve as mentors.
- The Multicultural Outreach Tour (MOTley Tour) is a literature-based, assembly-style performance geared for K-5th grades. This program reaches more than 7,500 elementary school students a year.
- Western students, faculty and staff contribute more than 750,000 hours of community service a year, based on available data plus conservative estimates.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching defines community engagement 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.”
“It is heartening to see this level of commitment and activity. Clearly, higher education is making real strides in finding ways to engage with and contribute to important community agendas. There is much to celebrate,” said Anthony S. Bryk, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, in a letter notifying Western of the designation.
For more information on the classification as well as a list of selected universities please see the Carnegie Foundation news release: Carnegie Selects Colleges and Universities for 2010 Community Engagement Classification.