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University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Earns Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement

The Carnegie Foundation has designated the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as a 2015 Community Engagement University.  Dr. Deborah Arfken, who chaired the committee that led the application process, and Dr. Steve Angle, the Chancellor of UTC, join us to explain how UTC won the honor and what it means.

From UTC's University Relations:

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has achieved the national designation of a 2015 Community Engagement University by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. UTC is one of only 361 campuses to currently hold the distinction.

“We are honored that the Carnegie Foundation has recognized our campus with this national distinction. Strong partnerships between UTC and our community are critical to our success,” said UTC Chancellor Steven Angle. “These relationships open doors to experiential learning opportunities such as internships and clinical placements that provide our students with the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to real world problems.  Our commitment to community engagement drives us to be an integral partner with our community, addressing the issues and needs of businesses, agencies, and people in our community.”

Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification, first offered in 2006 as part of an extensive restructuring of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. UTC earned the designation when it first applied in 2008 and applied for continued recognition this year.

UTC embraces the Carnegie definition of community engagement as “the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.”

“UTC plays a significant role in our community in terms of workforce and economic development as graduates become part of the substantial innovative growth of the Chattanooga area. As an active participant in our community, UTC richly deserves this recognition of its excellence in community engagement,“ said Bill Kilbride, President & CEO, Chattanooga Chamber.

The Carnegie Foundation designation joins a growing list of national honors earned by UTC for its dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.

  • UTC was named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction. Only 100 universities in the nation were selected for this designation, the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.
  • UTC was one of only five campuses chosen from more than a hundred nominations to share in the 2014 Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards presented by The Washington Center and the New York Life Foundation.
  • UTC is a 2014 College of Distinction in recognition of student engagement, quality teaching, successful outcomes, and community involvement.

Among the UTC community engagement projects cited in the application were the research by the Center for Energy, Transportation and the Environment’s with alternative fueled vehicles, the Center for Community Career Education’s efforts at college awareness for elementary school students, the College of Business’s Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, and the variety of arts and cultural activities offered by the campus.

“I want to offer my sincere appreciation to the committee that prepared and submitted our successful application to Carnegie, and especially to Dr. Deborah Arfken who chaired the committee.” said Chancellor Angle.

Members of the UTC application committee were: Deborah Arfken, chair; Karen Adsit, Dee Dee Anderson, Chuck Cantrell, Bengt Carlson, Sandy Cole, Terry Denniston, Tyler Forrest, Richard Gruetzemacher, Chris Horne, Linda Johnston, Meredith Perry, and Debora Montgomery, administrative support.

“The importance of this elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national, and global communities,” said John Saltmarsh, Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”

The Carnegie Foundation, through the work of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, developed the first classification system of American colleges and universities in 1970 as a research tool to describe and represent the diversity of U.S. higher education.