Applications Open for Two Carnegie Elective Classifications: Community Engagement and Leadership for Public Purpose
July 29, 2022

​ACE Working with Carnegie Foundation to Create Additional Elective Classifications

​Colleges and universities that want to gain recognition for their efforts at institutionalizing community engagement and/or on the development and understanding of leadership as a public good can apply now to be included in the next cycle of the Carnegie Elective Classifications.

The elective classifications provide campuses with an independent and rigorous warranting of their extraordinary commitment to, investment in, and success at promoting some critical aspect of their public purpose in society. Currently, elective classifications exist for community engagement and for Leadership for Public Purpose.

ACE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in February announced their collaboration on the next incarnation of the Carnegie Classifications, which for the first time will bring the Universal and Elective Classifications together in a single organizational home at ACE. The two organizations are working together to develop new and refined versions of the Classifications to better reflect the public purpose, mission, focus, and impact of higher education.

Elective Classification for Community Engagement

The deadline to apply for the 2024 Elective Classification for Community Engagement is May 1, 2023, and applications must be initiated by Oct. 31. Campuses will be notified in December 2023 if they have been accepted for the 2024 classification, which will be publicly announced in January 2024.

Community engagement involves the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. The Community Engagement Classification was designed to augment the basic classification (which all campuses receive) in a way that encouraged campus innovation and change through an institutional self-study process.

The Elective Classification for Community Engagement will mark its 20-year anniversary in 2025. Beginning with the 2024 Classification, it will operate in two-year application cycles, and schools will hold their Community Engagement Classification for a six-year period before having to renew. The application deadline for the 2026 Classification will be April 2025.

Elective Classification in Leadership for Public Purpose

The application process for the inaugural Elective Classification in Leadership for Public Purpose is now open, with applications needing to be initiated by July 1, 2023 and a deadline of December 2023 for submission. Campuses will be notified about whether they have been recognized with the Classification in spring 2024, with a public announcement to follow.

Established and administered by the Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University, in partnership with the Carnegie Foundation and ACE, it will recognize institutions that are committed to enhancing the learning, teaching, and research mission of their institution by developing leadership abilities in all institutional stakeholders. Institutions receiving the recognition will have demonstrated that they are involved in undertakings such as contributing to the public scholarly understanding of leadership as a public good and preparing students for lives of leadership in service of civic and public purpose in their careers, communities, and the broader society.

Future Elective Classifications

Work is underway to envision and create a set of new elective classifications, potentially including ones that recognize sustainability and indigenous-serving institutions.

As part of that work, there will be a gathering of higher education thought leaders in October at the Carnegie Foundation in Palo Alto, CA, to begin to map out evaluative criteria for determining potential new electives and identifying new foci for elective classifications that enrich the suite to better recognize unique strengths in the experiences of students at institutions.

International Elective Classifications

A group of universities in Australia launched the Community Engagement Classification this year, after spending several years working together as a learning community to develop an Australian-specific version of the framework and application process. In Canada, 16 institutions participated in a pilot project to adapt the community engagement framework to their context.  They have committed to adopting the Classification as the aspirational standard for postsecondary community engagement in Canada. They plan to launch the elective in spring 2023.