Gonzaga Earns Recognition for Community Engagement from Carnegie Foundation

It is an honor and a delight for me to share with you that our University has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching with the 2015 Community Engagement Classification. Only 240 U.S. colleges and universities received the honor this year; Gonzaga is among 83 institutions that are receiving it for the first time. Nationwide, less than 7 percent of all four-year private and public institutions have ever received this designation.

Every five years, institutions with reputations for strong community engagement are invited to apply for the designation, among the most prestigious recognitions in the nation. In 2013, Dr. Patricia O’Connell Killen and Dr. Judi Biggs Garbuio seized the opportunity to participate, and appointed a committee to outline the nature and extent of Gonzaga’s engagement with local, regional and global communities. In a demanding and detailed self-assessment process, Gonzaga provided descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.

Gonzaga’s thoughtful and dynamic efforts to improve teaching and learning while making a difference in the communities we serve – and meeting our civic and academic responsibilities – were presented through a variety of examples. Many members of the Gonzaga community were involved in collecting, analyzing and presenting the information to meet the rigorous requirements of the Foundation.

This distinguished classification places Gonzaga among the nation’s leading universities in civic engagement, and demonstrates our ongoing commitment not only to our mission, but to reciprocal collaboration with the communities we serve to enrich scholarship, teaching and learning, citizenship and the public good. It is worthwhile noting that this designation comes during the year that our Center for Community Action and Service Learning celebrates its 20th anniversary!

Our sincere congratulations go to Academic VP Killen and VP for Student Development Biggs Garbuio for this significant achievement on behalf of Gonzaga. Specific recognition is extended to the co-chairs of the Carnegie Committee, Dr. Ron Large, Associate Academic Vice President, and Sima Thorpe, Senior Director of External Relations and Assessment, Student Development, who led the application process. Members of the committee included: Todd Dunfield, Director, CCASL; Brady Essman, Student; Kaaren Goeller-Bloom, Student Development; Mary Joan Hahn, Director of Community and Public Relations, University Advancement; Molly Pepper, Assoc. Dean, School of Business; Tracy Poindexter-Canton, AVP’s Office; Catherine Siejk, Professor, Religious Studies; Lazarina Topuzova, Asst. Prof., Organizational Leadership; John E. Traynor, Assoc. Professor, School of Education; Christina Turner, Assoc. Director, Institutional Research; Joann Waite, Director, Sponsored Research & Programs; and Chris Wheatley, Assoc. Director, CCASL.

Most especially, our gratitude and appreciation is extended to every member of the faculty, staff, student body and GU community who works daily with respect, intention and dedication to building and manifesting community and civic engagement. I trust you will take pride in knowing your efforts are not only recognized and appreciated, but as evidenced by this important designation, an integral component of what makes this institution so special. Thank you.

Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil., President
January 9, 2015