The classification brings national recognition to MSU's commitment to teaching that encourages volunteer service in communities and the spreading of knowledge that benefits the public.
"MSU takes seriously its commitment to our community, whether that be locally or internationally," said Kathyrn Tanner, director of MSU's Office for Community Involvement. "Receiving the Carnegie classification is a wonderful acknowledgement of the work our students, faculty and staff do in bringing information and assistance to communities here and abroad."
In order to be selected for the Carnegie classification, MSU submitted a 35-page application that highlighted 15 university-community partnerships that ranged from Engineers Without Borders at MSU, a student-driven organization that brings clean drinking water to remote schools in western Kenya; to MSU's Campus Corps, which provides students with volunteer opportunities while fulfilling academic requirements.
"Your application documented excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement," wrote Anthony Bryk, Carnegie Foundation president, in a letter announcing the foundation's decision.
"Coming on the heels of our economic impact report, this is another example of the benefit MSU brings to Montana," said Doug Steele, vice president for external relations and director of Extension. "Receiving this national certification is a testament to our commitment to establish partnerships that truly impact the entire state."
Last week, MSU released an economic impact report showing that its four campuses, Extension and the Agricultural Experiment Station contribute more than 13,500 jobs and $1 billion in personal income to the state of Montana above and beyond the university jobs created by state funding.
MSU joins the ranks of 311 colleges and universities nationally that have the community engagement classification. The recognition is in addition to MSU's Carnegie classification as one of only 108 universities with a very high level of research activity out of roughly 4,400 colleges and universities nationally.
"It is heartening to see this level of commitment and activity," Bryk wrote. "Clearly higher education is making real strides in finding ways to engage with and contribute to important community agendas. There is much to celebrate."
Bryk also encouraged MSU to continue to develop ways to assess community engagement, create reciprocal partnerships with community entities, find ways to reward faculty who participate in community involvement, and continue to include community engagement as part of the university's overall plans.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center working to improve education through the United States. It is considered one of the nation's most prestigious think tanks on higher education. Visit: www.carnegiefoundation.org.
The 15 partnerships MSU highlighted in its application are:
Horizons Community Leadership to Reduce Poverty
The Museum of the Rockies/MSU Collegiate Partnership
MSU School of Architecture's Community Design Center
Engineers Without Borders at MSU
MSU's Local Government Center
MSU Western Transportation Institute's mobility and public transportation division
Towne's Harvest Garden
Montana INBRE-IDeA network (Institutional Development Award Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence)
Center of Native Health Partnerships
MSU Summer Reading
Center for Biofilm Engineering
Thermal Biology Institute
Montana Manufacturing Extension Center
Campus Corps Service Learning