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UMKC Earns Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement

Foundation cites schools for ‘making a difference in communities’

The University of Missouri-Kansas City has been selected by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for the foundation’s coveted Community Engagement Classification.

UMKC is one of 83 colleges and universities nationwide to receive the honor for the first time in 2015.

“These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions,” said John Saltmarsh, Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education.

“We are honored to have earned this classification. It is a testament to how UMKC truly is Kansas City’s university,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “This is a recognition of our university-wide institutional commitment to community engagement. That was the vision our founders had in 1933, and one we strive daily to realize.”

According to the foundation, central to the classification process is a “documentation framework” developed by a team of advisors to help applicants (and reviewers) assess the nature of an institution’s community engagement commitments. This year, 241 first-time applicants registered to receive the application, 133 institutions submitted applications, and 83 were successfully classified as community engaged institutions.

UMKC faculty and staff worked for more than a year to complete the application. Among the initiatives cited in UMKC’s successful application were:

  • UMKC leadership in establishing the Heartland Health Network in partnership with Calvary Community Outreach Network and the KC Free Health Clinic, which earned a $1 million federal grant to address health disparities in the African American community.
  • The annual Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Community Engagement, a program established in 2009 to recognize and celebrate faculty, staff and campus organizations that have made community engagement a central aspect of their approach to learning and scholarship.
  • The Avanzando student retention and graduation program conducted in partnership with the Hispanic Development Fund.
  • The work of the UMKC Institute for Human Development, an applied research and training center for human services, on service-learning and on community issues relating to developmental disabilities, aging, diversity and inclusion as well as the work of the UMKC Community and Public Affairs Office which works to promote partnerships and supportive relationships between UMKC and a variety of community sectors.
  • The work of the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design to incorporate real-world local community development and planning projects into studio courses; this benefits the community through pro-bono design and development work and provides students the opportunity to engage with the community’s development issues.
  • Outreach programs by the School of Computing and Engineering designed to promote interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines among girls and underrepresented minority students at the high school and middle school level.
  • Community participation in the crafting of UMKC’s Strategic Plan and the inclusion of increased urban engagement as one of its five goals.
  • The School of Nursing and Health Sciences’ active engagement of community partners in the development of educational and community engagement programs that meet community needs.
  • Community outreach programs by University Libraries such as the African American Read-In, establishment of the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, and the series of Social Justice Lectures and Book Discussions.

The foundation, through the work of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, developed the first typology of American colleges and universities in 1970 as a research tool to describe and represent the diversity of U.S. higher education. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education (now housed at Indiana University Bloomington’s Center for Postsecondary Research) continues to be used for a wide range of purposes by academic researchers, institutional personnel, policymakers and others.


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