Carnegie Foundation Selects Kapi'olani Community College

Kapiʻolani Community College
Posted: Jan 8, 2015

Carnegie Community Engagement Classification
Carnegie Community Engagement Classification

HONOLULU – The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected Kapi'olani Community College as one of 240 U.S. colleges and universities to receive its 2015 Community Engagement Classification. In order to be selected, institutions had to provide descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices. This approach enabled the Foundation to address elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness that are not represented in the national data on colleges and universities. These 240 institutions join the 121 institutions that earned classification during the 2010 selection process. Of these 361 campuses, only 13 are community colleges.

Kapi'olani was initially selected for this classification in 2006 and through a renewal application process was selected again this year. The college featured its Service and Sustainability Learning program and community-based partnerships tackling educational, environmental, health, and long-term care issues, and supporting the arts and humanities in Honolulu; partnerships in support of indigenous, intercultural, and international education; and workforce development partnerships especially for minority outreach and undergraduate research in STEM, clinical opportunities in Health, and internships in Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Business Education. The college also highlighted its institutional assessment framework documenting the positive impact of Service-Learning on student engagement, learning, and achievement.

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. Unlike the Foundation’s other classifications that rely on national data, this is an “elective” classification – institutions participated voluntarily by submitting required materials describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond.

“The importance of this elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national, and global communities,” said John Saltmarsh, Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”

“This is the first time that there has been a re-classification process,” noted Amy Driscoll, Consulting Scholar for the Community Engagement Classification, “and we are seeing renewed institutional commitment, advanced curricular and assessment practices, and deeper community partnerships, all sustained through changes in campus leadership, and within the context of a devastating economic recession.”

Robert Franco, Kapi'olani CC Professor of Anthropology, Office for Institutional Effectiveness, who developed and submitted the college’s 2006 and 2015 applications, emphasized “Community engagement provides a new learning space in an evolving ecology of learning in American higher education, the humanity and reality of community complements and confronts the technology of cyberspace.”

Kapi'olani CC’s Chancellor Leon Richards noted, “We value our community partnerships for student engagement, learning and achievement, and we look to these partners to guide our current programs and to provide essential directions in future campus planning. Our renewed Carnegie Classification gives us confidence that we are approaching our local, national, and international partnerships in a manner that is authentic, long-term, and mutually beneficial to all stakeholders.”

A listing of the institutions that hold the Community Engagement Classification can be found on NERCHE’s website. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to developing networks of ideas, individuals, and institutions to advance teaching and learning. The Foundation joins together scholars, practitioners, and designers in new ways to solve problems of educational practice. Toward this end, they work to integrate the discipline of improvement science into education with the goal of building the field’s capacity to improve.