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Carnegie postWagner College’s Community Engagement Classification, first awarded in 2008 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, was renewed earlier this month.

Wagner is one of only 24 colleges or universities in New York State — and one of only 6 institutions in New York City — currently recognized with the Community Engagement Classification.

Nationwide, only 361 colleges and universities currently hold the Community Engagement Classification.

“Renewing the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification is a major accomplishment for all of us at Wagner College, because the classification was so competitive and difficult to obtain this year,” explained Samantha Siegel, director of the Center for the Leadership & Community Engagement. “The process of writing the Carnegie Classification report took about a year, including the collection of all the required data and the narrative that accompanied the data.

“We are doing deeply impactful civic engagement work that is getting stronger and more focused each year, and the Carnegie Classification recognizes that work. Congratulations to all of our students, faculty and community partners. We truly are learning by doing.”

According to the Carnegie Foundation, “ ‘Community Engagement’ describes the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.”

At many colleges, service learning means required volunteer work in the community as part of a class. Wagner College, however, takes this model several steps further. Most notable among these is the Port Richmond Partnership, a service/learning commitment between Wagner College and 22 schools, churches and nonprofit agencies in a nearby Staten Island community whose long-term goal is to make a measurable impact on community needs.

Since 1998, when the Wagner Plan for the Practical Liberal Arts was first implemented as the college’s signature curriculum, 23 academic disciplines have established relationships with nearly 100 community organizations. Wagner students provide more than 40,000 hours of service annually. These hours are devoted to direct service, internships with neighborhood organizations, place-based research and circulation of findings, public policy advocacy, participation in meetings and community forums, and more.

It is this level of community engagement that has led to eight consecutive annual citations from the White House Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll — five times with distinction — for Wagner College’s exemplary service efforts and service to disadvantaged youth.

Wagner College’s community engagement program is coordinated by several full-time, professional staff members employed at the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement. Our commitment and scope of work has increased steadily as community engagement has become a defining part of the curricular and co-curricular fabric of a Wagner education .

For more information on the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement classification, visit the  website of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education.

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