Southern Vermont College Selected for Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification

January 6, 2011

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected Southern Vermont College for its 2010 Community Engagement Classification designation. The Carnegie Foundation is best known for its classifications based on the curricular and research missions in colleges and universities. The Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification has only recently been added--and awarded in 2006 and 2008--to include colleges and universities which meet certain criteria for having an institutional focus on community engagement.

“It was a significant challenge to meet the Carnegie Foundation’s criteria for achieving the Community Engagement Classification,” said Provost Albert DeCiccio, who engineered the application process and writing. “Importantly, undertaking the process for writing a proposal for the classification brought together members of the College’s community as well as those in the Greater Bennington community. In the end, we believe what Paul Rogat Loeb argues in Soul of a Citizen, “There’s no greater antidote to powerlessness than joining with others in common cause” (12).  All of us at the College are proud of the Carnegie designation, and we look forward to being engaged in the Greater Bennington community for years to come.”

More than 300 colleges applied for the designation this year and 115 were successful in achieving Community Engagement Classification. Southern Vermont College was one of 25 baccalaureate colleges selected from the U.S. and one of only two colleges selected in the state of Vermont (St. Michael’s College was also designated.) Along with 114 colleges and universities nationwide, SVC joins 196 other schools that achieved Community Engagement Classification in the 2006 and 2008 selection process.

“Through a classification that acknowledges significant commitment to and demonstration of community engagement, the Foundation encourages colleges and universities to become more deeply engaged, to improve teaching and learning, and to generate socially responsive knowledge to benefit communities,” said Carnegie President Anthony Bryk. “We are very pleased with the movement we are seeing in this direction.”

In order to be selected, institutions had to provide explanations and examples of institutionalized practices underscoring community engagement aligned with mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices. “Clearly there is a great deal of interest among colleges and universities in being recognized for their community engagement commitments,” noted John Saltmarsh, the Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE), the Carnegie Foundation's Administrative Partner for the classification.

“We noted strong institutional alignment across leadership, infrastructure, strategic planning, budgeting, faculty teaching and scholarship, and community partnerships,” explained Amy Driscoll, a consulting scholar with the Carnegie Foundation and with NERCHE. “There is increased student engagement tied to the curriculum as well as increased use of institutional measures such as the NSSE for understanding student engagement in learning through community engagement.”

A complete listing of the institutions in the Community Engagement Classification can be found on the Carnegie Web site,

About Southern Vermont College:
Founded in 1926, Southern Vermont College offers a career-enhancing, liberal arts education with 21 academic degree programs for more than 500 students. SVC recognizes the importance of educating students for the workplace of the twenty-first century and for lives as successful leaders in their communities. SVC's intercollegiate athletic teams are part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III and the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC). The college is accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges and has been designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Community-Engagement Classification institution.

About Carnegie Foundation:
The Foundation, through the work of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, developed the first typology of American colleges and universities in 1970 as a research tool to describe and represent the diversity of U.S. higher education. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education continues to be used for a wide range of purposes by academic researchers, institutional personnel, policymakers and others.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center that supports needed transformations in American education through tighter connections between teaching practice, evidence of student learning, the communication and use of this evidence, and structured opportunities to build knowledge. The Foundation is located in Stanford, Calif. More information may be found on the Web site at