Newswise — The Carnegie Foundation announced today that the University of North Florida is one of 119 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the 2020 Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, an elective designation that indicates institutional commitment to community engagement. 

This distinguished classification is awarded following a process of self-study by each institution, which is then assessed by a national review committee. Each academic year, over 7,500 UNF students participate in some form of community engagement and the University offers over 800 courses with community-based components. When calculating the hours of time UNF students, faculty, and staff spend serving their community, the resulting economic impact to our region is at least $22 million annually. 

Some recent community-based initiatives that contributed to the Carnegie reclassification include Meals on Wings, a Center for Nutrition and Food Security initiative to package and serve healthy meals to homebound seniors; Florida Data Science for Social Good, a program that pairs psychology and computing students to work with local organizations to solve social problems; the Sulzbacher HOPE Team where nursing students provide weekly medical care to Jacksonville’s homeless population; and a partnership with the consortium of scientists from the Northeast Florida Coastal Research and Education Corridor to better understand and solve local coastal challenges like sea level rise. 

“The selection of UNF as a community-engaged campus by the Carnegie Foundation is a mark of distinction, representing the diligent efforts of our faculty, staff and community partners who have made great strides in providing quality, next-level community-based learning experiences for our students while serving the needs of our local communities,” said UNF President David Szymanski. “Connecting students with learning opportunities outside the classroom is one of the features that make us uniquely UNF.” 

UNF was first designated as a community-engaged campus in 2010. The re-affirmation of its commitment to community engagement places UNF among a selective group of 359 total campuses across 37 states and U.S. territories who are currently active holders of this important designation. The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification has been the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in U.S. higher education for the past 14 years.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching aims to build a field around the use of improvement science and networked improvement communities to solve long standing inequities in educational outcomes. The Foundation, through the work of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, developed the first typology of American colleges and universities in 1970 as a research tool to describe and represent the diversity of U.S. higher education. 

UNF is a nationally ranked university in Jacksonville, Florida, that is nestled on a beautiful 1,300-acre nature preserve, featuring six colleges of distinction as well as nationally recognized flagship programs, with 56 bachelor degree programs and over 75 areas of concentration.