Complete the NI³CE for your Campus

NOTE: As of April 2020, the NI³CE tool is temporarily unavailable.


Benefits of the NI³CE

The NI³CE tool is free for all participating campuses. This is not a time-limited discount. 

Campuses are encouraged to utilize the results of NI³CE:

  • To begin strategic action planning for the institution
  • To inform program review & assessment
  • To prepare & apply for the Carnegie Classification
  • As a 5-year assessment tool to evaluate institutional infrastructure progress

The benchmarks come from Carnegie Classification and “best practice” from Welch & Saltmarsh (2013). Results will indicate if your institution is “in the ballpark” and if not, what needs to be done to get there.

History of the NI³CE

The publication of a study on current best practice of campus centers for community engagement (Welch & Saltmarsh, 2013) generated enormous interest and response. Directors of campus centers began contacting the authors asking for permission to utilize the results of that study in conversations with their immediate administrative supervisors as either a tool for strategic planning or “leverage” in requesting additional resources. Given this level of interest and use, the authors of that study adapted the original survey used in the research project to become the National Inventory of Institutional Infrastructure of Community Engagement (NI³CE – pronounced “nice”) as an online inventory that could be used as a tool that campus centers and their institution could utilize for strategic planning. Six years after the publication of the original research article, nearly 170 institutions have completed the inventory, creating a rich database. The growing database that emerged allowed comparisons with comparable institutions and a “best practice” metric based on the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement and the professional literature. The authors also recognized the potential benefit of providing the “gift of time” in a retreat setting in which the results of the inventory could be reviewed and discussed in a meaningful and strategic way. As a result, several national and regional institutes have been conducted and more are planned for the future.

In partnership with the Swearer Center at Brown University, where the inventory is now housed, Mathew Johnson and Georgina Manok joined the team and contributed to the NI³CE revision. Based on feedback and input gleaned from the institutes, the number of inventory items has grown from 122 items to nearly 200 items. The modifications include, for example, community engagement programming at the graduate level and more specificity with regard to programming such as faculty development. The response metrics have been revised to provide a more discrete and accurate levels of program and center implementation.