Office of the President

February 3, 2020

Recognition for the UW’s broad, deep commitment to public service

Ana Mari Cauce

All over Washington and well beyond, our students, faculty and staff are working with and for the public. They are helping communities become healthier, safer, more sustainable and more prosperous. Day in and day out, people across the UW are serving the communities surrounding our campuses, the cities and towns we are from and the places where our neighbors, friends and family are. This wide-ranging community engagement is one of the most important ways that we honor our public service mission.

While we don’t do public service for accolades, we do care about how effective our work is. That’s why I’m very proud that the Carnegie Foundation has announced that all three UW campuses are among the new recipients of its Community Engagement Classification. This designation is more than a seal of approval. It is a recognition of our University’s broad, deep commitment to civic responsibility and meaningful collaboration to serve the public.

The importance of community engagement isn’t easily captured by traditional rankings or statistics. The Carnegie application process offered us a unique opportunity for reflection and assessment to understand what we do well and honestly evaluate the role of community engagement in our institutional makeup. For Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma to have all received the classification reflects the tangible impact that each campus is having on the public good.

The sheer volume and variety of this work is breathtaking. For example, at UW Tacoma, where almost 20 percent of the student body are veterans, active-duty military or family of active-duty military, the University is collaborating with Joint Base Lewis-McChord to help service members transition into civilian life and make the campus a welcoming environment for them. UW Bothell partners with the Seattle Children’s Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center to provide programs and classes for young adults with autism spectrum disorder. In Seattle, Urban@UW is engaged in myriad projects to holistically design and steward vibrant and welcoming cities where more and more people are making their homes.

I’m so proud of everyone whose work contributed to this classification — you make the UW a good neighbor and a boon to our state. The classification is also a benchmark that we must continue to hold ourselves accountable to. We want to be a culture grounded in shared authority and respect, where communities and University members co-create learning, teaching and research goals for everyone’s benefit. In achieving this recognition, we commit to the ongoing project of collaborating with our local communities for the greatest possible impact.

We are proud to join the ranks of Washington institutions that hold this recognition. Thank you to the working groups that led the application process for each campus and to every member of our community who makes the world we share a better one.