LSU Earns Carnegie Community Engagement Classification

University recognized in Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships Category


With projects ranging from hurricane clean-up days and designing Habitat for Humanity homes to conducting book drives and creating “dream playgrounds” for elementary schools, LSU faculty, staff and students enjoy reaching out to better the community. These efforts have been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

LSU recently received the 2008 Community Engagement Classification by Carnegie for the university’s community engagement and outreach initiatives. LSU joins 118 U.S. colleges and universities selected this year, and the 76 institutions identified in the 2006 selection process as community engaged institutions.

“I applaud the efforts of our faculty, staff and students for bringing a focus of being more engaged in the community to LSU,” said LSU Chancellor Michael Martin. “This is a great recognition for our university, and as a land-grant institution, community outreach is one of the pillars of our flagship mission.”

The Carnegie Classification has been used for more than three decades to describe institutional diversity in higher education. LSU is designated as a Research University – very high research activity – through Carnegie’s basic classification system. The Community Engagement classification is a new optional classification established in 2006.

Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification, previously developed and offered in 2006. This year, 147 institutions applied to document community engagement, up from 89 in 2006. Of the total applications, the 119 successfully classified community engaged institutions represent 34 states and Puerto Rico; 68 are public institutions and 51 are private.

LSU’s application, which featured the university’s service-learning classes and other outreach activities, was prepared by LSU’s Center for Community Engagement, Learning, and Leadership, or CCELL. 

Other institutions earning the Carnegie Classification this year include the University of Alabama, Duke University, Georgetown University, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Ohio State University, University of Pennsylvania, Rice University and Tulane University, to name a few.

The selected institutions were classified in one of three categories: Curricular Engagement, Outreach & Partnerships, and Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships. LSU, as an institution demonstrating substantial commitments in all categories, was classified in the Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships category.

Curricular Engagement describes teaching, learning and scholarship that engage faculty, students and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaborations. Their interactions address community-identified needs, deepen students’ civic and academic learning, enhance community well-being and enrich the scholarship of the institution.

Outreach & Partnerships describes two different but related approaches to community engagement. The first focuses on the application and provision of institutional resources for community use with benefits to both campus and community. The latter focuses on collaborative interactions with community and related scholarship for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration and application of knowledge, information and resources, such as research, capacity building and economic development.

Universities in the Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships classification demonstrate the qualities in both categories.

In order to be selected into any of the three categories, institutions had to provide descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.

LSU’s Carnegie application cited the work of university initiatives such as service-leaning, Volunteer LSU and the Community University Partnership, which facilitate community engagement in its various forms. The application also documented long-term community/university partnerships such as LSU’s work with area schools, Volunteers in Public Schools, Renaissance Village, Connections for Life and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

For more information on the classification, contact Jan Shoemaker, director of LSU’s Center for Community Engagement, Learning, and Leadership, at 225-578-9264 or, or visit the Carnegie Foundation’s Web site at

About the Carnegie Foundation:

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 the 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 Foundation’s work. The Foundation is located in Stanford, Calif. More information may be found on the Web site

Ernie Ballard | Writer | Office of Communications & University Relations
January 2009