UC Davis Nationally Recognized for Community Engagement

The University of California, Davis, is being nationally recognized for community engagement in its own neighborhoods and around the world.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching today (Jan. 7) announced that UC Davis is among those colleges and universities to receive the 2015 Community Engagement Classification.

The classification — newly awarded to 83 institutions and now held by just 361 — affirms the importance of community engagement in higher education and recognizes collaboration between those institutions and their communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources. In California, only 33 universities and colleges — including UCLA and UC Merced — have the community engagement designation.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi noted that UC Davis has had a long and proud tradition of community engagement and public service since its founding as a land-grant institution to serve people and society.

"We believe scholarly engagement is a fundamentally important part of the academic mission of UC Davis," she said, "and appreciate the affirmation of the alignment of UC Davis' mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic community engagement."

Touching lives

The university's application included examples of community engagement that touches lives and works to solve pressing problems locally and around the world. Among the examples in California:

  • Newly diagnosed cancer patients receive special one-on-one support and coaching from trained survivors through the WeCARE! Community-Based Cancer Peer Navigator program of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. The program, open to patients regardless of where they are being treated, recruits volunteers and participants through community organizations.
  • Through the Central Valley Scholars Program, businesses in California's Central Valley and UC Davis are working together to provide scholarships, mentorships and internships, and help area youth achieve their dream of going to college at UC Davis while bolstering the valley's workforce.
  • Atmospheric scientists from UC Davis are using two specially equipped planes to check for methane leaks from natural gas pipelines in California. With support from the California Energy Commission, the project is a partnership of UC Davis, and the Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Making a difference

John Saltmarsh, director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education that administers the rigorous classification process, praised the institutions with the classification. "These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions," he said.

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, a framework for describing and analyzing U.S. higher education, is used by policymakers, academic researchers and institutional personnel.

Workgroup to strengthen community engagement

UC Davis will further strengthen and enhance its community engagement. A campus workgroup will provide recommendations for coordinating support for outreach and engagement activities.

"We intend to evaluate best practices in community engagement at other distinctive universities," Ralph Hexter, UC Davis provost and executive vice chancellor, said, "and to engage the campus community as well as friends, clients and partners of UC Davis to help us create the most effective structure and set of practices."

Dennis Pendleton, who served as dean of UC Davis Extension for nearly 14 years and co-chaired the application for the Carnegie classification, will lead the workgroup. 

About the Carnegie Foundation

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching works with scholars, practitioners and designers to integrate the discipline of improvement science into education with the goal of building the field's capacity to improve. The Carnegie website lists the institutions that received the Community Engagement Classification.

Media Resources

Julia Ann Easley, General news (emphasis: business, K-12 outreach, education, law, government and student affairs), 530-752-8248, jaeasley@ucdavis.edu

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