WSU Earns Prestigious Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University has been selected for the 2008 Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. WSU was honored in the category of Curricular Engagement and Outreach and Partnerships, demonstrating the extent of the school’s dedication to working with the community.

“This honor acknowledges WSU’s long-held identity as a committed and contributing member to the Ogden, Davis and Weber communities we serve,” said Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski, co-director of the Community Involvement Center on campus and primary author for WSU’s submission to the Carnegie Foundation.

Ryan Thomas, associate provost and dean of undergraduate studies at WSU, said the classification “reflects the Carnegie Foundation’s recognition of the deep commitment that Weber State has for its community and for the process of student learning through engagement and service.”
WSU is one of only 119 schools to receive this classification this year, joining 76 other institutions that were honored by the foundation in 2006.

“The process for selecting institutions to be honored with this designation is rigorous and selective,” Thomas said. According to Thomas, more than a third of the institutions that initially applied for the honor this year withdrew before the selection because they determined that their programs were not ready to be reviewed.  Of the 147 institutions that were finally reviewed, only 110 were recognized for both Curricular Engagement and Outreach and Partnerships.

In order to earn the classification, institutions had to provide descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.

Thomas credits WSU's Community Involvement Center for providing remarkable vision and direction for campus service activities including service learning and community partnerships. This past year the CIC worked with WSU faculty, staff, students and community partners to deliver more than 82,000 hours of service to the communities served by the university.

Kowalewski said that campus community outreach efforts address a wide array of local issues, including access to education, health care, economic development and projects with local agencies that improve the quality of life for area residents.

“The commitment to community engagement is widespread on our campus,” Kowalewski said.”From student athletes doing service projects to zoology majors conducting applied research on behalf of local organizations, the commitment to serving the community is ingrained in the culture across campus.”

Among the more than 6,500 institutions in the United States that are eligible to apply for the Carnegie Foundation designation, only 173 have been recognized for both Curricular Engagement and Outreach and Partnerships. Thomas said that fewer than half of those recognized are public regional universities like WSU.

“This is a wonderful example of an institution modeling what it wants students to learn,” Ryan said. “The mission of Weber State University acknowledges that it can only succeed in its educational missions ‘in partnership with the broader community.’  Those are not just words at WSU; they represent a commitment to engage with the community in preparing our students to learn and serve.”

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Click here to read the official press release issued by the Carnegie Foundation.


Ryan Thomas, associate provost and dean for undergraduate studies
801-626-6006 •

Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski, co-director Community Involvement Center
801-626-7737 •

John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
801-626-7212 •