Six decades of UNMC’s commitment to Nebraska’s urban and rural communities has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching with its “Community Engagement” designation – a classification earned this year by only 240 other universities nationwide, the Foundation announced on January 7.
UNMC is one of only two academic health science centers in the country with this prestigious designation, which provides a way for institutions to describe their identity and commitment to community with a public and nationally recognized classification.
According to the Foundation, “Community Engagement describes 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 letter from the Carnegie Foundation stated: “Your application documented excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement, and it responded to the classification framework with both descriptions and examples of exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement. The application also documented evidence of community engagement in a coherent and compelling response to the framework’s inquiry”.
The UNMC College of Public Health (COPH) directed the application process. Dr. Ruti Margalit led a team of 21 campus academic leaders in this successful application. Dr. Margalit is the director of the Service Learning Academy (SLA) and associate professor in the department of health promotion, social and behavioral health. Other COPH team members included Dr. Brandon Grimm, director of the office of Public Health Practice; Dr. Dejun Su, director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities; Ms. Laura Vinson, SLA coordinator; and Ms. Caitlin Pleas, MPH student and SLA graduate assistant.
A listing of the institutions that hold the Community Engagement Classification can be found on New England Resource Center for Higher Education’s website.