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UNCP earns Carnegie Foundation recognition for community engagement

January 23, 2009

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching announced that The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is among the 119 higher education institutions selected for 2008 Community Engagement elective classification.


Charles Harrington


Sylvia Pate

The designation recognizes institutions that have internalized and sustained their commitment to collaborate with communities through teaching, research and outreach. Dr. Charles Harrington, UNCP’s provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, said the designation is an important milestone for a regional University that is significantly engaged with its local communities. 

“This is national recognition of the outstanding work of UNCP faculty, staff and students in connecting the learning environment on campus with Southeastern North Carolina,” Dr. Harrington said. “It affirms that UNCP takes seriously its mission to support education, social and economic growth, and civic and cultural awareness in our region.

“The importance of this recognition will be evident as the University seeks additional grant funding to support outreach, recruits new faculty and staff and continues to build on our solid reputation for accountability in North Carolina public higher education,” he continued.

Sylvia Pate, director of the Regional Center for Economic, Community and Professional Development, led the recognition effort. She compiled a 29-page report to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

“We knew that we were engaged with our communities in many efforts, but this application process confirmed just how involved we really are,” Pate said.  “However, seeking the Carnegie classification is just the beginning, as we are committed to seeking new and better ways to structure and make ourselves even more accessible in the future to the communities we serve, she said.”

With the announcement, the proportion of North Carolina’s public universities deemed by the Carnegie Foundation to be “community engaged” far exceeds that of peer state systems. This national recognition is a natural outgrowth of the University’s UNC Tomorrow initiative, through which all UNC campuses are seeking to increase their outreach and responsiveness to their surrounding communities and the state as a whole.

“In order for UNC to be the most engaged universities in America, our campuses must continue to be responsive and valuable partners in solving real problems,” said Leslie Boney, UNC associate vice president for Economic Development Research, Policy, and Planning. “The fact that over half of North Carolina’s public universities have been nationally recognized for their commitment to working with communities sends a strong message for the future of our state.”

Community engagement describes 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.

The classification includes three categories:

  • Curricular engagement includes institutions where teaching, learning and scholarship engage faculty, students and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration. Their interactions address community-identified needs, deepen students’ civic and academic learning, enhance community well-being and enrich the scholarship of the institution.
  • Outreach and partnerships includes institutions that provided compelling evidence of one or both of two approaches to community engagement. Outreach focuses on the application and provision of institutional resources for community use with benefits to both campus and community. Partnerships focus on collaborative interactions with community and related scholarship for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration, and application of knowledge, information and resources (research, capacity building, economic development, etc.).
  • Curricular engagement and outreach and partnerships includes institutions with substantial commitments in both areas described above.

UNCP’s report to the Carnegie Foundation outlined a multi-faceted approach to community service. The report listed outreach efforts by faculty, students and staff with educational programs, community service, giving, public information, the arts, service learning, competitions, such as the Region IV Science Fair, grants programs and awards.

Some of the administrative units responsible for these efforts are the Center for Service and Leadership, the Office for Service Learning, the Regional Center, the Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship, Biofuels Program and more.

Community service is written into the fabric of the University’s mission statement, curriculum and faculty tenure policies.

Other UNC campuses tapped for recognition include Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, North Carolina Central University, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington and Western Carolina University.

The UNCP Carnegie Community Engagement Classification Task Force: the late Dr. Collie Coleman (committee chair), then-associate vice chancellor for Outreach; Sylvia H. Pate (project leader and committee co-chair), director, Regional Center for Economic, Community and Professional Development; Dr. Charles Harrington, provost and vice chancellor, Academic Affairs; Dr. Elinor Foster, dean, Livermore Library; Dr. Linda Little, director, Center for Sponsored Research and Programs; Dr. Glen Burnette, vice chancellor, University and Community Relations; Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor, Student Affairs; Dr. Beverly King, assistant vice chancellor, Office of Institutional Effectiveness; Joshua Malcolm, University counsel; Robert Canida, director, Office of Multicultural and Minority Affairs; Aubrey Swett, director, Center for Leadership and Services; Dr. Tom Corti, assistant vice chancellor, Student Affairs; Dan Kenney, director of athletics; Cindy Saylor, assistant chief information officer, Division of Information Technology; Dr. Stan Knick, director, Museum of the Native American Resource Center; Dr. Paul Flowers, professor, Department of Chemistry and Physics; Dr. Kathleen Hilton, associate vice chancellor, Academic Affairs; Cammie Hunt-Oxendine, acting dean, School of Business; Dr. William Gash, associate vice chancellor, Academic Affairs; Dr. Alfred Bryant, assistant professor, School of Education; Dr. Mario Paparozzi, chair, Sociology and Criminal Justice; Dr. Mike Spivey, associate professor, Sociology and Criminal Justice, director, Service Learning; Dr. Jose D’Arruda, professor, Chemistry and Physics; Dr. Rachel McBroom, instructor and coordinator, Science Education Program; and Patricia Fields, director, Givens Performing Arts Center.