UNO receives Carnegie Classification


By Jackson Taylor, News Editor

The University of Nebraska atOmaha has again added to its impressive track record as a leader in community engagement. On Jan.7, the Carnegie Foundation named UNO as a national leader in engagement with a 2015 CommunityEngagement Classification.
The Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement is a classification given out based on voluntary participation by institutions. The process for election involves extensive collection of data and documentation of the institution’s mission and involvement.
UNO was first granted the classification when it launched in 2006,just one of 74 institutions given the honor. The total number of recognized institutions is now 361, with three Nebraska universities making the list.
“We have worked diligently to transform UNO into a premier metropolitan university,” Chancellor John Christensen told University Communications. “Community engagement is not a buzzword to us. It’s a commitment. It’s a way of life. It’s a passion.”
It is important to note that this classification is not an award, but rather an evidence-based documentation of institutional practice to be used in a process of self-assessment and quality improvement. This documentation is then reviewed to decide if the institution is qualified to be considered a community engaged institution.
According to the Carnegie Community, community engagement is defined as “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.”The Carnegie Community stresses the importance of community engagement to enhance curriculum,prepare educated citizens, address societal issues and contribute to the public good.
UNO earned this classification through its dedicated efforts to build an active and engaged community not only on campus, but in the city of Omaha. These efforts include the opening of the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, being named a PresidentialAward Winner as part of the  President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and the opening of the Barbara A. Holland Collection of community engagement scholarship.
The Community Engagement Center is a hub of volunteer activity, allowing students, faculty and staff to connect with more than two dozen nonprofit organizations. UNO signature service days have contributed more than one million dollars to the Omaha economy. Also this past year, UNO and Omaha South HighSchool students joined members of the Intercultural Senior Center for a a meeting on international education. This service project helped build a bridge between classroom learning and societal issues.
“We strive to provide our students with unlimited opportunities to be involved,” Christensen said.
The Community Engagement Classification takes place on a five-year cycle with the next opportunity for classification occurring during the2020 cycle.