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SMC earns community engagement classification

Bridget Meade | Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Saint Mary’s is one of 114 institutions that earned recognition from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2010.

The Carnegie Foundation announced this month that Saint Mary’s was selected for its 2010 Community Engagement Classification. This year, 305 institutions applied for the classification.

Carrie Call, director of the Office of Civic and Social Engagement at Saint Mary’s, said the recognition is a testament to Saint Mary’s increased engagement in the local community within the past five years.

“The fact that we got the designation means that even though we are a small campus, we are very big when it comes to engagement,” she said.

The Carnegie Foundation, a national resource for teaching and learning on all education levels, established the national classification system in 1970, according to its website. The Community Engagement Classification began in 2006.

According to the foundation’s website, the application process includes providing examples of community engagement through mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.

Call said she learned about the program a few years ago and thought the campus showed a stronger likelihood to be selected in 2010.

With over 80 percent of Saint Mary’s students participating in community service by the time they graduate, Call said the College is above the national average.

“[The students’] engagement is across a wide variety of activities from tutoring to mentoring to visiting the elderly to working with the homeless,” she said.

Members of Saint Mary’s administration completed the application, which consisted of about 40 pages on the College’s activity in the community, such as volunteer work, internships, publication and research of faculty and new program development.

The application process offered the school an opportunity to reflect on its community awareness and relationships, Call said.

“It’s also a great thing for our admissions information,” Call said. “Students can know in advance that this will be a place where they can be engaged in service.”

Although the administration has not looked into the details of reapplying for the 2015 classification, Call said the school is interested in the idea.

“In the meantime,” Call said, “we plan continue to foster the connection between campus and the larger community.”