Carnegie Classification

The Classification

The Carnegie Foundation's Classification for Community Engagement is an elective classification, meaning that it is based on voluntary participation by institutions. The elective classification involves data collection and documentation of important aspects of institutional mission, identity and commitments and requires substantial effort invested by participating institutions. It is an institutional classification; it is not for systems of multiple campuses or for part of an individual campus.

The classification is not an award. It is an evidence-based documentation of institutional practice to be used in a process of self-assessment and quality improvement. In this way, it is similar to an accreditation process of self-study. The documentation is reviewed by a National Review Panel to determine whether the institution qualifies for recognition as a community engaged institution.

Brown & Carnegie

In January 2017, in an effort to further its mission set forth in the strategic plan “Community Engaged Scholarship and Action: A New Plan for the Swearer Center for Public Service,” the Brown University Swearer Center for Public Service launched a National Field-Building Initiative which has evolved into the College and University Engagement Initiative. At that time, the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement moved from NERCHE to the Swearer Center.

There are currently 361 campuses with the elective Community Engagement Classification, which opens for application on a five-year cycle. The most recent cycle concluded in 2015. See the announcement for the 2020 cycle, which opened in January 2018, below. 


2020 Carnegie Classification Cycle Launches at Swearer Center (Jan. 22, 2018)