Calvin receives recognition for community engagement

Calvin receives recognition for community engagement

Calvin University is one of 359 campuses in the country to receive the recognition of Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement, according to an email from Matt Kucinski, the associate director of public relations. According to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s website, their mission is “to build a field around the use of improvement science and networked improvement communities to solve long standing inequities in educational outcomes.” 

According to Andrew Haggerty, associate director of the service learning center, Calvin earned this distinction because of their commitment to community engagement and collaboration, including promoting events and community development such as StreetFest, residence hall community partnerships, Plaster Creek Stewards, Project Neighborhood, the Calvin Prison Initiative, and the Umm El-Jimal project in Jordan, among others. Research opportunities such as the McGregor Fellows and Civitas Lab are also reasons for this honor. 

Haggerty comments regarding the application and team who wrote it, “Our team both inspired me with the breadth and depth of community engagement they articulated that is occurring throughout campus and challenged me to think about how Calvin can enhance its policies and practices to better integrate community engagement in its structures and systems.” He continued by discussing the details of Calvin’s community engagement, “Community engagement occurs throughout the life of the university. Faculty engage the community through both their teaching and scholarship; staff engage through mentoring students and coordinating programs; and students engage through their participation, leadership, and creation of student organizations, service-learning programs, and research opportunities that partner with our communities, locally and globally, for mutual benefit and development.”

Gail Heffner, director of community engagement, said, “Community engagement is a rich opportunity for Calvin faculty and students to learn with the community, through the community, and from the community, not merely in the community.” Heffner expressed Calvin’s involvement as essential to its mission to “think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.” 

Haggerty expressed gratitude to those who served on the team and completed the application. Regarding the application, he said, “We said from the start that the primary purpose of the application was not to receive the classification, but to use the process as a catalyst to seriously and critically examine how community engagement is embedded in to the life of Calvin.”