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University Self-Studies Underway for National Designations

UAlbany to Submit Applications for Community, Economic Engagement

ALBANY, N.Y. (Jan. 24, 2019) – Two University self-studies are underway that will seek to demonstrate UAlbany’s commitment to community and economic engagement.

The University’s Office for Public Engagement will complete an application this spring for the 2020 Elective Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, while a committee formed under the Division of Research is applying to join a program established by the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

Participating colleges and universities in the Carnegie Classification perform a self-study intended to “improve the fields of community engagement, scholarship and social innovation through reflection,” according to the classification’s site.

The application process involves data collection and documentation related to the institution’s mission, identity and commitment. These criteria also serve as a learning tool for best practices in the higher education sphere, according to Alfredo Medina, executive director of the Office for Public Engagement.

“In order to fulfill our mission as a diverse public research university, we need to regularly assess the ways in which we’re working with our communities to identify and address pressing societal challenges through scholarship, teaching, experiential learning, creative work and service,” Medina said. “The process of applying for Carnegie Classification provides us with an opportunity, and specific framework, for evaluating, further developing and continuously improving our engagement–related systems, practices and policies. Such self-reflection and critical review helps to reinforce the university’s position as an anchor institution and enhance its ability to be a strong and effective partner."

The National Review Panel designates qualifying institutions at the end of a five-year classification cycle. If selected, UAlbany will receive notice by early January of 2020, according to Medina.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, in partnership with The Howard R. Swearer Center at Brown University, formed the classification in 2006 as part of its College and University Engagement Initiative (CUEI). Over 350 U.S. institutions hold a Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

Economic Impact

A self-study on economic engagement is also underway as part of an application for the Innovation & Economic Prosperity (IEP) Universities Program, established by the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

The University began the self-study in the fall of 2018 and will submit its application in May of 2020, according to Matt Grattan, director of community and economic development at UAlbany.

Grattan is leading a cohort of 18 members from the campus community to focus on three areas the University interacts with public and private partners to:

  • Develop talent and the workforce.
  • Promote innovation, entrepreneurship and technology-based economic programs and initiatives.
  • Foster a sense of “place” through public service, outreach, extension and community engagement.

“The IEP Universities Program is a unique opportunity to identify our strengths and areas of improvement at UAlbany in the ways that we seek to aid our students, greater community and beyond through economic engagement,” said Grattan, saying the cohort has collaborated with Medina for both the APLU program and the Carnegie Classification. “With a diverse group of committee members, representing nearly all areas of the University, we look forward to reflecting on our collective action in bettering our communities.”

APLU is a research, policy and advocacy organization that seeks to help institutions of higher education advance their campus enterprise that support economic and community development.

The designation recognizes institutions that have “demonstrated a meaningful, ongoing and substantial commitment to economic and community development, growth and economic opportunity,” according to the program’s site.

Around 60 universities nationwide have obtained the designation.

Middle States Commission

The University announced a reaccreditation initiative last September through The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education.

Regional accreditation is required for degree-granting institutions that provide students with federal financial aid, according to Jason Lane, interim dean of the School of Education and co-chair of the MSCHE steering committee at UAlbany.

Lane and co-chair Jeanette Altarriba, vice-provost and dean for undergraduate education at UAlbany, are leading seven working groups to complete the self-study this fall.

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