University commended for community engagement

SVSU has joined the likes of the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University and Georgetown University with its new national classification.

The university has received the 2015 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

During this application cycle, 240 universities across the United States received the classification. To be considered, universities must provide evidence that they as institutions are committed to community engagement in their mission, culture, resources and practices.

According to the university, 84 percent of SVSU students have participated in internships, field placements or similar community-related academic activities by their senior year.

“Hearing that SVSU has been recognized as a community-based university made me proud to be a Cardinal,” said political science and history sophomore Taylor Fisher.

The classification came after SVSU Provost Deborah Huntley and Dean of Students Merry Jo Brandimore started a task force of 26 members of the SVSU community in 2011 to work towards pursuing the designation.

When sharing the announcement on Facebook, Huntley said, “This is a real feather in our cap and an accurate reflection of our dedication to student learning and service to region! Congratulations to students, faculty and staff who contribute to this fine work. I am just thrilled!”

In the university’s press release for the classification, SVSU President Donald Bachand said he was pleased with the university being recognized for its work.

“Throughout my nearly 37 years here and during my first year as president, we have sought to instill in our students a deep sense of responsibility to the communities where they live and learn, and as an institution, we strive every day to advance the region we call home,” Bachand said. “This is the ultimate affirmation of meeting those goals at the highest national standard.”

SVSU is the only institution in the Great Lakes Bay Region to receive this designation.

Communication senior and president of SVSU’s Student Association Joey Rexford said the classification reflects well on everyone connected to SVSU.

“This accomplishment illustrates the commitment that SVSU students have to excelling both in and outside the classroom. This is a strong indicator that SVSU and the community are giving students the opportunity to apply skills taught in the classroom to field-based learning,” he said. “We look forward to seeing those integrative opportunities continue to thrive and expand.”

In total, 361 universities have received this designation. SVSU’s classification from the Carnegie Foundation will remain in effect for ten years.

“The first time I toured SVSU, I was blown away by the campus-wide community involvement and by how excited each person was to speak about their involvement,” Fisher said. “I believe this recognition will allow more potential students and faculty to fall in love with a university that cares about its students as well as its surrounding community.”

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