California State University, Long Beach
Inside CSULB Logo

Carnegie Foundation Selects CSULB for Community Efforts

Published: January 30, 2009

CSULB has been selected for the 2008 Community Engagement Classification by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, recognizing the campus as among the best in the nation in finding ways to engage with and contribute to local communities.

The Carnegie Foundation recognized CSULB in the joint category of curricular engagement, and outreach and partnerships. To win the distinction, the campus fully demonstrated an alignment of community engagement efforts with its institutional mission, resources and practices.

“We at Cal State Long Beach are extremely proud of the work we do within our local communities,” CSULB President F. King Alexander said. “We are fortunate to have a very dedicated group of faculty, staff and students who are willing to share their talents and best efforts with various groups and organizations for the betterment of these local communities.

“With this designation from The Carnegie Foundation,” he continued, “Cal State Long Beach stands among the nation’s best institutions of higher learning in the area of community engagement, and it is a fitting tribute for those within our campus community who have done so much to make it happen.”

CSULB was among 119 U.S. colleges and universities receiving the 2008 designation, joining the original 76 institutions identified in the 2006 selection process.

At CSULB, the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) plays a critical role in helping the university achieve its mission of being an outstanding teaching-intensive, research-driven university that emphasizes student engagement, scholarly and creative achievement and civic participation. The CCE expands efforts to bring communities to the university to enrich and enlighten the campus, and it facilitates university-community partnerships that help create an environment where communities have the opportunity to fulfill their greatest potential.

“Our purpose is to enrich the educational experience of students,” explained Juan Benitez, director of the CCE. “We do this by serving as a facilitative partner and resource for students, faculty, staff and community members in strengthening community capacity, promoting shared community-based participatory research, and building social and political capital through the coordination of community and civic engagement, effective service learning and reciprocal community collaborations.”

Throughout campus are examples of ways in which the university is positively engaged in the surrounding community. One example Benitez pointed to was CSULB’s Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT) and its annual town hall meeting to foster education, research and information exchange that largely contributes to the resolution of port-related conflicts. The town hall approach was designed to make sure that the rank and file members of the longshoreman’s union were included in any debate surrounding port growth, and it has evolved to include an array of stakeholders interested in the relationship between the ports and the community.

In 2006, the community engagement classification was developed and offered as part of an extensive restructuring of The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Unlike the foundation’s other classifications that rely on national data, community engagement is an “elective” classification and enables the foundation to address elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness that are not represented in the national data on college and universities.

“We hope that by acknowledging the commitment and accomplishment of these engaged institutions, the foundation will encourage other colleges and universities to move in this direction,” said Anthony S. Bryk, president of The Carnegie Foundation. “Doing so brings benefits to the community and the institution.”

Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification. This year, 147 institutions applied to document community engagement, up from 89 in 2006. Of the total applications, 119 were successfully classified as community engaged institutions – 68 public institutions and 51 private.

Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an act of Congress, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center with a primary mission “to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold, and dignify the profession of the teacher.” The improvement of teaching and learning is central to all of the work of the foundation, which is located in Stanford, Calif. More information may be found on its Web site.