CLEMSON — The Carnegie Foundation has certified Clemson University with its prestigious 2015 Community Engagement Classification, extending the original certification of 2008.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching seal signifying Clemson's achievement as a Community Engaged campus.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching seal signifying Clemson’s achievement as a Community Engaged campus.

Institutions of higher learning earn the designation by demonstrating “a collaboration with their larger communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.”

“The university benefits from the classification because only a small percentage of higher education institutions actually receive the designation,” said Kathy Woodard, Clemson’s director of service–learning education, who chaired the classification process in 2008 and also the 2015 reclassification process.

“The Community Engagement reclassification is a testament to the immense dedication and sustained commitment of Clemson administration, faculty, staff and students who actively engage with communities locally and globally to address some of the world’s most pressing problems and to integrate community engagement into the educational process for our students, even during a critical time when a lack of financial resources could have dictated that we eliminate these efforts,” she said.

The classification makes a significant statement about Clemson’s positive impact on the general public, said John Saltmarsh, director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education.

“The importance of this elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national and global communities,” he said. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”

Amy Driscoll, consulting scholar for the Community Engagement Classification, noted that the 157 campuses that were successfully reclassified did so in an economic climate that made the achievement all the more impressive.

“This is the first time that there has been a reclassification process, and we are seeing renewed institutional commitment, advanced curricular and assessment practices and deeper community partnerships, all sustained through changes in campus leadership and within the context of a devastating economic recession,” she said.