Community Engagement

What is the Carnegie Community Engagement Elective Classification? 

The Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement is an elective classification, meaning it is based on voluntary participation by institutions. The elective classification involves a self-study with data collection and documentation of important aspects of institutional mission, identity and commitments, and requires substantial effort invested by participating institutions.

It is an institutional classification; it is not for systems of multiple campuses or for part of an individual campus. The classification is not an award. It is an evidence-based documentation of institutional practice to be used in a process of self-assessment and quality improvement.

What is “community engagement”?

The Carnegie Foundation defines community engagement as:

  • 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 purpose of community engagement is 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.

2026 Carnegie Re-classification

When the UW’s three campuses received the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification in 2020 we committed to the ongoing project of collaborating with our local communities for the greatest possible impact. We now have the opportunity to further this commitment as we pursue the 2026 Carnegie Community Engagement Re-classification

This assessment process means bringing together colleagues, carefully considering our approach and priorities, and honestly examining the progress we have made since 2020. It will allow us to understand, highlight, and further build tri-campus capacity for ethical and effective community engagement.  

While UW Bothell, UW Seattle and UW Tacoma will be submitting separate assessments to be evaluated for the 2026 Carnegie re-classification, the campuses are working together to increase connectivity and build tri-campus capacity for community engagement.

Learn more about assessment for each of the UW’s campuses’ re-classification as a Community Engaged Campus:

2020 Carnegie Classification

In 2020, all three University of Washington campuses received the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification for the first time in recognition of UW’s commitment to partnering with, and learning from, local communities for the advancement of public good. 

At that time, the Carnegie application process offered us an opportunity for reflection and assessment, to help us better understand what we do well and honestly evaluate the role of community engagement in our institutional makeup.  

UW earned this designation through a rigorous self-study to understand our institution’s strengths and areas for improvement and to develop recommendations to further deepen connections to the community.  

Since then, we’ve built on the results of that assessment across the three campuses, developing policies, programs, platforms, positions, and other systems and supports to grow the UW’s ability to partner with community for the public good. 

Learn more about the 2020 assessment: