Averett University Receives Distinguished Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement

Posted on January 31st, 2020 by Cassie Jones

The Carnegie Foundation today announced that Averett University has received the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification for the first time, an elective designation that indicates institutional commitment to community engagement. This distinguished classification has been the leading assessment and recognition of community engagement for American colleges and universities for more than a decade.

“Earning the Carnegie Classification is a distinct honor for Averett University. Rarely does a school earn the classification on its first attempt, so doing so is further proof that Averett’s mission of catalyzing our students as positive change agents is pervasive and meaningful,” said Dr. Billy Wooten, executive director of the Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness (CCECC) at Averett. “I see firsthand how committed our faculty and staff have been and continue to be in engaging our students across all departments in community engagement work. From service-learning, career development, study abroad, to residence life and athletics, our Averett students are prepared to be leaders in their respective communities.”

Through the CCECC, Averett students have a variety of opportunities for engagement with the surrounding community, inside and outside of the classroom. Established in 2014 on Averett’s campus as the hub for community engagement, service-learning and career competitiveness initiatives, the CCECC has led transformative impact on students and community partners in its first five years, to include:

  • 9,583 total volunteers;
  • 81,539 total volunteer hours;
  • 14,746 event participants;
  • $2,068,202 in volunteer financial impact on the Dan River Region.

Last fall, the CCECC was granted a continuation award from the Danville Regional Foundation (DRF) to carry on its work with the region’s institutions of higher education and community members for another five years.

“Community service is woven into the DNA of Averett, and many of our students, faculty and staff have a hand in making a lasting impact in the region through their service,” said Averett University President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks. The CCECC at Averett is a major regional commitment to community engagement, experiential learning and career development that benefits not only Averett students, faculty and staff, but the entire region, and we are so honored that the work they do and the engagement of our students and employees is being recognized by such a renowned designation.”

This important classification is awarded following a process of self-study by each institution, which is then assessed by a national review committee led by the Swearer Center for Public Engagement at Brown University, the administrative and research home for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

Of the 119 institutions classified in the 2020 cycle, 44, like Averett, are receiving the classification for the first time. These 119 institutions join the 240 institutions that earned the classification during the 2015 selection process, for a total of 359 campuses who are currently active holders of this important designation. Among the 2020 recipients of the classification, 67 are public institutions and 52 are private.

“These newly-classified and re-classified institutions are doing exceptional work to forward their public purpose in and through community engagement that enriches teaching and research while also benefiting the broader community,” noted Mathew Johnson, executive director of the Swearer Center.