ECU earns prestigious community engagement designation

East Carolina University has earned the prestigious 2024 Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement from the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This acknowledgement highlights the work the university and its partners do together in communities across the globe. Only 40 colleges and universities across the nation received the 2024 designation.

“We recognize these institutions for their exceptional commitment to community engagement, and their work to transform knowledge into meaningful action,” said Timothy Knowles, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. “They exemplify the true spirit of the Carnegie endorsement and the power of serving the public good.”

Dr. Sharon Paynter, acting chief research and engagement officer at ECU, said of the classification, “This designation provides external validation of the university’s resource commitment and infrastructure along with external partnerships that support mutually beneficial community engagement efforts. This is one way ECU delivers on its promises to be a national model for student success, public service and regional transformation.

“Growth in community engagement since our initial classification is evidenced by the number of partnerships and the grant support that includes community engagement efforts. In fiscal year 2023 alone, more than $25 million in grants and contracts was received by the university to support 142 projects involving community partnerships,” she said.

ECU first earned the Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement in 2008 and has held it continuously since that time. The current reclassification is valid for the next six years.

The application process was led by Dr. Angela Lamson, interim assistant vice chancellor for economic and community engagement. The team included more than 80 faculty, staff and students from departments across campus as well as external partners from the communities with which the university engages.

Lamson said, “It was important to showcase through this self-study a variety of ways that ECU engages with our region through teaching, research and service. This designation is an important recognition for university faculty, staff and students, but also for the community partners who trust the university to collaborate with them.”

ECU’s community engagement efforts are well recognized for excellence across higher education entities with global reach. The university has received multiple WK Kellogg Foundation awards, the C. Peter Magrath Award and the Excellence in Community Partner Engagement Award from the Engagement Scholarship Consortium. ECU also recently earned the Innovation & Economic Prosperity 5-year Extension designation from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

More about the Carnegie Foundation reclassification process is available on the Office of Engaged Research website.


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