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ASU’s activities in community earn Carnegie Foundation nod


December 19, 2006

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected ASU for its new “Community Engagement” classification, recognizing the deep involvement of ASU faculty and students in activities that benefit the broader community.

ASU offers more than 1,030 outreach programs throughout the state, making a difference in the lives of Arizonans by providing needed educational, cultural, legal and health care services at hundreds of locations. The Carnegie Foundation cited ASU’s curricular engagement in addition to its outreach and partnerships.

ASU's long history of community outreach has earned the university recognition from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Seventy-six U.S. colleges and universities received the new classification – 62 of them with substantial commitments in both categories.

“Finding new and better ways to connect with their communities should be a high priority for higher education institutions today,” says Lee S. Shulman, president of the Carnegie Foundation.

The new classification was developed as part of an extensive overhaul of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and is in addition to ASU’s basic classification as a research university with very high research activity. Few research universities made the new list, indicating the uniqueness of ASU’s broad mission as the New American University.

Hundreds of faculty members across all four ASU campuses take their research and teaching into the community, leading to more relevant research, a vibrant educational experience for students and rich benefits for the people of Arizona. The ripple effects of their engagement extend across the state and the nation.

A few examples:

• Theater professor Stephani Woodson helps children in foster care create digital videos about themselves to tell their stories to new caseworkers, who often pass through their lives with little continuity. She also produces videos with Native American youth exploring perceptions of happiness, family and drug culture, to share with their communities and begin a dialogue.

• Nutrition professors Linda Vaughan, Donna Winham, Kathleen Woolf and Jeff Hampl educate children about good nutrition in grades K-12 throughout the Valley. Their work includes a food-gleaning program for low-income elementary schools, education at Pappas schools for homeless children, nutrition guidance to high school athletic teams and programs tailored for high school student newspaper staff members.

• Nursing professor Carol Baldwin, who is involved with her students in providing preventive health screenings and clinic training in the town of Guadalupe, created a health information Web site with resources for families in English and Spanish. The well-received Southwest Borderlands Nursing page also includes information for faculty and students regarding Latino life, culture and folk medicine practices.

• Irwin Sandler, Regents Professor of psychology and director of the Prevention Research Center, has been working with children from families experiencing high-stress situations for more than 20 years. Research at the center has developed programs for children who have experienced divorce or death of a parent, reducing mental health problems and improving their well-being.

• As an American Studies professor in language, cultures and history, Gloria Cuàdraz produced an oral history documentary of former Mexican-American residents of the Litchfield Park migrant camps from the 1920s to the 1970s. With the Litchfield Park Historical Society, she helped organize a reunion for former residents to show the video, an event attended by more than 500 people from all over the United States.

In addition to faculty activities, thousands of students across the ASU campuses participate regularly in organized community service. In the ACES (Academic Community Engagement Services) program alone last year, 575 students mentored and tutored children in service-learning internships or in “America Reads” and “America Counts” programs in schools throughout the Valley. More than 23,000 community members were served.

“Public service has long been a defining characteristic of ASU,” says ASU President Michael Crow. “With the advancement of our vision for ASU as a New American University, we envision a new model for higher education that integrates the community into its research and teaching – a university that assumes responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of its community.

“By institutionalizing social embeddedness, ASU has the opportunity to become a unique and leading model, inspiring campuses across the nation. I applaud Carnegie for recognizing the importance of connecting the university to the community.”