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(Jan. 12, 2011): Norwalk Community College’s extensive involvement with the communities it serves has earned it a place on a list of honor on the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s 2010 Community Engagement Classification.
Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification, first offered in 2006 as part of an extensive restructuring of The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
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 based in Stanford, California.
“Norwalk Community College is proud to be the first community college in Connecticut to be recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for its community engagement efforts,” said NCC Dean of Academic Affairs Pamela Edington, E.d.D. “NCC takes its middle name very seriously. By actively partnering with the community to meet community-identified needs, our faculty, staff and students are able to leverage both public and private resources to the benefit of children, families and seniors in Fairfield County.”
NCC was one of only three Connecticut institutions chosen: The University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut University also were selected.
To be considered, institutions submitted documentation describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond. Of the 350 colleges and universities to apply for the classification, 115 were chosen and only six were community colleges.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Higher Education, 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.
“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.
To create this elective classification, the Foundation, working with a team of advisors and a pilot study conducted by 14 colleges and universities, developed a documentation framework to assess the nature of an institution’s community engagement commitments.
In order to be selected, institutions had to provide descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.
“NCC is gratified to be recognized for its commitment to community engagement,” said NCC President David L. Levinson, Ph.D. “Social responsibility is one of our core values and we have established meaningful connections that enrich the lives of all who live and work in the greater Norwalk region.”
Each year, several hundred NCC students provide thousands of hours of service to community organizations through service learning in academic courseworkandvolunteer activities organized by student clubs.
The college honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, is heavily involved in community service activities. Students raise awareness and funds for the Relay for Life, AIDS Walk, Heart Walk, Better World books and Haiti Relief. They also hold an annual clean-up of the Norwalk River.
NCC’s chapter of The Student World Assembly has a sustained partnership with Habitat for Humanity and helps to build and repair houses in local communities.
Over the past 35 years, NCC archaeology faculty and students have worked on more than 200 community digs for local historical societies and museums.
The Fairfield County Women's Center at NCC offers programming, support, and referral services for students and community members seeking assistance.
The NCC Committee for Active and Responsible Environmental Sustainability (NCC C.A.R.E.S. ) is leading efforts to reduce the college’s carbon footprint. On behalf of the college, NCC President David Levinson signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Change Commitment, a pledge affirming the institution’s commitment to becoming a sustainable institution.
Since 2008, NCC has partnered with the Family and Children's Agency in Norwalk to offer an afterschool program for middle school children on the NCC campus.
Since 2005, the college has collaborated with the local alternative high school to provide space and programming for young adults at risk of dropping out of secondary education.
NCC in partnership with Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON), the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce, local health care providers, state representatives, teachers, administrators and after-school providers, has held Community Conversations focusing on the economy, education, and healthcare reform.
In 2009-10 the college coordinated 19 private, state and federal grants totaling nearly $10 million dollars which helped to reduce the achievement gap for under-represented populations, expand community-based job training, build the allied health workforce, and enhance initiatives related to ESL coursework, hospital partnerships, school readiness, renewable energy, and school to career preparation.
For more information, contact:
Pamela Edington, Ed.D.
Dean of Academic Affairs
Norwalk Community College
Associate Vice President, Public Affairs,
(650) 333-6974 (cell)
John Saltmarsh Director, New England Resource Center for Higher Education