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Carnegie Classification

What is the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification?

The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification recognizes engaged scholarship, teaching, learning and outreach. The classification is not an award. It is an elective, evidence-based documentation process for self-assessment and quality improvement purposes. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching sponsors the elective classification for institutions that have made extraordinary commitments to their public purpose. 

UC Davis received community engagement classification in 2015, joining a select group of 367 public and private institutions in the United States. Only three of the 10 UC campuses have earned this recognition — UC Davis, UCLA and  UC Merced.

How does the Carnegie Foundation define community engagement?

The Carnegie Foundation provides the following definition for community engagement.

 “Community engagement describes 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 purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.”

The Carnegie reclassification process 

Share your community engagement activities

We encourage faculty and staff to document community engagement and public impact in the UC Davis Public Engagement database. Please take two minutes to enter your activities into the database. Our resources and FAQs have all the information you need to get started.​​​

The Carnegie Foundation requires recertification of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification on a 10-year basis and then, subsequently, every five years. In order to be reclassified, institutions must submit an application detailing how the university has expanded, deepened and integrated community engagement work into all aspects of the university.

The recertification process for UC Davis began in 2022 with an application deadline of April 2025. 

Why seek Carnegie reclassification?

In 2018, UC Davis launched its strategic plan, To Boldly Go, to build on its strengths as a top-ranked public university. In that plan, UC Davis committed to “support our community, region, state, nation and world through mutually beneficial and impactful partnerships that reflect a firm commitment to our mission and increase the visibility and reputation of the university.” The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification reclassification process aligns well with this strategic goal. 

Investment in new and improved data reporting structures will support community engagement assessment within the university’s ten colleges and schools, as well as provide data for external grants, awards, and accreditations. Additionally, it will enhance existing initiatives to bolster student success such as Aggie Launch, the effort to provide experiential learning for all students, and support transdisciplinary research through the UC Davis Grand Challenge “Reimagining the Land Grant University.” Reclassification will also demonstrate the university’s commitment to its identity and mission as a land grant university and an emerging Hispanic Serving Institution.

Reclassification leadership

The UC Davis Office of Public Engagement and Scholarship will coordinate the reclassification process in collaboration with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Government and Community Relations, including data collection to support the university’s application.