Lasell College was selected to receive the 2015 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in January 2015. The classification honors excellence in community engagement across multiple sectors of the college campus. As a first-time recipient of the classification, Lasell joins a growing list of 361 colleges and universities nationwide to achieve the honor, which includes 47 public institutions and 36 private.
"We are proud of this new Carnegie classification, which endorses this institution's commitment to the fundamental relationship between education and positive social change," said James Ostrow, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lasell. "While higher education has come under increased scrutiny regarding its relevance to real public concerns and problems, Lasell College has long prioritized the development of social awareness, social responsibility, and citizenship at the heart of its educational mission."
He added that Lasell's students improve their understanding of the world and commitment to a better world through involvement in public service, both here and abroad.
"By building service projects into the actual, credit-bearing activity of college life at Lasell, its students have experienced learning and community improvement as parts of the same activity - and they realize they are members of an institution that is committed to this synthesis," he said.
Lasell's classification is valid until 2025, at which time the College can apply for re-certification.
Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification, first offered in 2006 as part of an extensive restructuring of The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
At Lasell, the Center for Community-Based Learning (CCBL) provides support and opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to engage with community organizations on mutually beneficial projects. Through community engagement, the CCBL has developed relationships with local, national, and international nonprofit organizations. These nonprofits include public schools, recreational centers, homeless providers, emergency food distributors, agencies serving survivors of domestic violence, community farms, assisted living facilities, programs for disadvantaged youth, environmental advocacy groups, and health-related organizations.
Students at Lasell are engaged with the community in many other ways throughout their studies. Studying abroad and participating in programs such as Shoulder to Shoulder International Service-Learning trips allow them to serve various communities while immersing themselves in a multitude of cultures. Recent trips include Vietnam, Antigua, Uganda, and Belize.
Institutions that apply for the classification are assessed on the alignment of campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support community engagement. Institutions must also provide examples of exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement.
Lasell also recently received recognition with distinction from the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll - under the Corporation for National and Community Service. Lasell has received that honor for five years in a row.
The Carnegie Foundation, through the work of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, developed the first typology of American colleges and universities in 1970 as a research tool to describe and represent the diversity of U.S. higher education. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education (now housed at Indiana University Bloomington's Center for Postsecondary Research) continues to be used for a wide range of purposes by academic researchers, institutional personnel, policymakers and others.
A listing of the institutions that hold the Community Engagement Classification can be found on New England Resource Center for Higher Education's website.