January 7, 2011

Jefferson City -The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching yesterday announced its selection of the colleges and universities that qualified for the 2010 Community Engagement Classification. Four Missouri higher education institutions received the classification.

The institutions are Missouri State University, Rockhurst University, University of Missouri-St. Louis and Westminster College. The University of Missouri-Columbia was designated a Community Engagement College in 2008.

The designation was created by the Carnegie Foundation to "encourage colleges and universities to become more deeply engaged, to improve teaching and learning and to generate knowledge to benefit communities," according to Carnegie President Anthony Bryk.

"The Community Engagement Classification recognizes the tangible benefits that institutions contribute to their communities, states and the world," said Commissioner of Higher Education David Russell. "From free clinics to mentoring underprivileged children to helping third world farmers, these colleges and universities are improving student learning by engaging the larger community and adding to citizens' quality of life. We applaud their efforts."

The many examples of campus and community engagement taking place at the designated institutions include:

  • Missouri State University sent agriculture students to Nicaragua and Guatemala to learn about the challenges of tropical agriculture and to improve the nutrition, health and income of rural residents; MSU audiology students and faculty collaborated on undergraduate research to test the middle ear function of youths living in homeless shelters.
  • Rockhurst University operates an occupational and physical therapy clinic through the Kansas City Free Health Clinic that provides services to uninsured community members; the university also sponsors a 14-year old service immersion program that sends students, faculty and staff to international and domestic locations, including Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Baltimore, New Orleans and Appalachia.
  • University of Missouri-St. Louis administers a Students of Service program involving 1,400 students who logged more than 23,000 hours of service working side by side with community leaders, teachers and residents; the Des Lee Collaborative Vision consists of 37 professors who work with more than 100 community organizations to serve 500,000 individuals, most of them children in urban K-12 classroom settings in underserved communities.
  • Westminster College commits each year to year-long service projects and fundraising initiatives, donating more than 10,000 faculty, staff and student hours to groups such as the Callaway County United Way; Westminster students also completed two international service projects in Ethiopia and Pakistan with assistance from external grant funding.