VCU receives recognition for community initiatives

Carnegie Foundation selects VCU for its Community Engagement Classification

Virginia Commonwealth University has received national recognition from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for its initiatives within the community.

The selection for the newly created Community Engagement Classification recognizes VCU and 75 other U.S. colleges and universities that promote community engagement as a central focus of their missions. In addition, the Carnegie Foundation selected VCU as one of 62 institutions of higher learning nationwide that demonstrated a commitment to community engagement in the classroom and to partnerships and outreach beyond the boundaries of campus.

“One of VCU’s key strengths is its very special relationship with the surrounding neighborhoods,” said University President Eugene P. Trani. “This designation confirms our belief that we are a campus without walls that seeks to integrate itself within the community.

“Our relationship with the community is mutually beneficial,” Trani said. “Our students are exposed to lifelong learning and service opportunities, and the community plays an active role in identifying needs and working with the university to address those challenges by taking advantage of the resources we offer.”

Under Trani’s leadership, VCU has worked with the surrounding neighborhoods to promote economic and community development. Initiatives include the Carver Neighborhood-VCU Partnership, VCU Community Solutions, Lobs & Lessons, FIRST Robotics and the Community Nursing Organization. In fact, VCU’s ongoing commitment to university-community partnerships was reaffirmed as one of the key themes in the “VCU 2020 Vision For Excellence” approved by the VCU Board of Visitors earlier this year.

Catherine W. Howard, Ph.D., vice provost, Division of Community Engagement, called the Carnegie Foundation designation a “validation that community engagement is a critical part of VCU’s mission.”

“Community engagement is being embraced by all units of the university because it is at the very core of our mission of learning and scholarship and service,” Howard said.

Howard led the group of faculty and staff that prepared VCU’s application and supporting documentation for consideration by the Carnegie Foundation.
Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an Act of Congress, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center whose charge is “to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold, and dignify the profession of the teacher and the cause of higher education.”

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see