UAB receives Carnegie Foundation community engagement designation

UAB is one of 51 universities nationally and the only one in Alabama to be classified for its high research activity and community engagement.

Written by: Tiffany Westry

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The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has named the University of Alabama at Birmingham to its list of colleges and universities to receive its 2015 Community Engagement Classification. UAB is one of 51 universities nationally and the only college in Alabama to be classified for high research activity and community engagement.

The foundation is an independent policy and research center dedicated to the improvement of teaching and learning. The designation recognizes UAB for its deep engagement with local, regional, national and global communities.

The Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement is an elective classification. Institutions participate voluntarily by submitting required material as part of an extensive application process. Those materials include but are not limited to a description of the nature and extent of the university’s engagement with the community — local or beyond — plus institutional commitment, its impact on students and faculty, and an assessment of initiatives geared toward community engagement.

“The organization looks for evidence of how our community-engagement efforts have become deeper, more pervasive, and better integrated and sustained,” said Elizabeth Vaughan, coordinator of Service Learning.

A team of faculty and staff from various areas of the university documented more than 50 of UAB’s community-engagement partnerships, events and initiatives. The scope is broad:

    • Academic service-learning courses are underway in all of UAB’s schools and colleges.
    • The ongoing partnership of One Great Community, as part of the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science and the Birmingham Citizens Advisory Board, supports community-based participatory research and gives voice to the city’s 99 neighborhood associations.

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  • UAB contributed to and supported programming for “50 Years Forward,” a commemoration of the seminal events of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement.
  • UAB School of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences have directed The Red Mountain Writing Project, which advances literacy instruction through support to teachers and students throughout North-Central Alabama.
  • UAB Media Studies partnered with StoryCorps in 2013 to collect interviews of Birmingham-area African-Americans as part of the largest oral history project aimed at preserving the stories of everyday people and presenting them with dignity.

The foundation selected 240 U.S. colleges and universities to receive its 2015 Community Engagement Classification. UAB is among 157 institutions to be re-classified; it first was classified in 2008. The campuses are identified as improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing civic and academic missions.