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Carnegie classification confirms UW’s mission of community service and engagement

Across our three UW campuses and well beyond, our students, faculty and staff are working with and for the public. Together, we are the University for Washington, and in partnership we aspire to learn together, grow together, and create communities that are healthier, safer, more just, sustainable and prosperous. To that end, we have the opportunity once again to confirm our commitment to building and supporting community engagement by retaining the Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement.

Community engagement enables the sharing of knowledge and resources across public, private and educational sectors in service of the greater good. The results are powerful: from enriching our research and improving learning opportunities here at the UW, to helping prepare engaged and educated citizens who will, in turn, be empowered to address and resolve critical societal issues – creating a better world for us all.

This work requires a collaborative effort and truly exemplifies the University’s public service mission. In 2020, all three UW campuses received the Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement for the first time. The UW earned this classification in recognition of our commitment to partnering with – and learning from – local communities.

At that time, the Carnegie application process offered us an opportunity to reflect on and assess the ways in which we are truly engaging our communities—and how we are weaving that engagement into the fabric of our institution. Through this process, we were able to identify both areas of strength and needs for improvement and begin the necessary work. As a result, the Bothell, Seattle, and Tacoma campuses being awarded the Carnegie Elective Classification designation illustrated the tangible impact each campus is having on the public good

Since achieving this recognition in 2020, we’ve been building a foundation across all three campuses to develop better policies, programs, platforms, positions, and other systems and supports to better enable the UW to achieve its mission, which is to serve the families, communities and state of Washington.

This work is ongoing, and all three University of Washington campuses must now reassess themselves in order to retain the Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement in 2026.

The assessment and application process offers the opportunity to once again bring together colleagues, reflect on our institutional approach and priorities, and articulate the commitments and progress we have made since 2020, while continuing to build on and improve tri-campus capacity for ethical and effective community engagement.

I am proud of what we’ve accomplished, and I look forward to the lessons, inspiration and knowledge that will be drawn from this process. I want to thank everyone who is contributing to the reclassification efforts, and I encourage all of you to learn more about the Carnegie Classification and to purposefully pursue your own unique ways of building engagement within your communities – at the UW and beyond.