West Chester University is one of only 11 universities in Pennsylvania and 359 institutions nationwide that have received the 2020 Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. The classification has been the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in U.S. higher education for the past 14 years.
WCU is one of 67 public institutions in America classified this year.
Based on voluntary participation by institutions, this elective classification involves a substantial effort by universities in collecting data and documenting important aspects of institutional mission, identity, and commitments. The documentation is reviewed by a National Review Panel to determine whether the institution qualifies for recognition as a community-engaged institution.
First classified in 2010 for a 10-year cycle, WCU prepared for the 2020 reclassification more than two years in advance by gathering staff and faculty from a variety of departments and disciplines to engage in a comprehensive self-study. WCU’s Office of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs serves as a key department for the coordination of community engagement efforts.
Many members of the university community contributed to this effort, and the following individuals comprised a core writing team that pulled the data together into a cohesive and comprehensive 84-page application:
- Susan Argentieri, Center for Community Solutions Liaison
- Kate Colyer, Former Assistant Director, Service-Learning & Volunteer Programs
- Julie Dietrich, Executive Director for External Relations
- Scott Heinerichs, Dean, College of Health Sciences
- Sara Hinkle, Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs
- Katie Solic, Associate Professor, Department of Literacy
Paul LeMahieu, senior vice president at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, commended the institutions that earned the 2020 classification, noting that they “are doing extraordinary work in addressing their societal responsibilities in and through community engagement and service. In doing so, they bring scholarship, knowledge, and expertise to bear in the address of real challenges in our communal lives.”