Northern Michigan University is a recipient of the 2015 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. NMU is one of 240 higher education institutions in the nation to earn the distinction. The majority are being reclassified after previously obtaining the community service designation, as NMU did in 2008.
Colleges and universities were invited to apply for the classification by submitting documentation describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond.
“The Carnegie classification reinforces Northern’s ongoing commitment to community service and involvement,” said NMU President Fritz Erickson. “There are so many wonderful examples of engagement across campus, from academic service learning and community-based research to volunteer efforts and partnerships that facilitate training for U.P. educators and other workforces. Northern’s students, faculty and staff have gained a positive reputation for looking beyond campus for opportunities to apply their time and talents in ways that benefit the broader community.”
According to the NMU Center for Student Enrichment, the student body volunteers more than 738,000 hours annually through the NMU Volunteer Center and the Superior Edge, a program in which students can earn up to four edges in community engagement, diversity awareness, leadership development and real-world experience. There are also nearly 100 courses offering academic service learning experiences, which generate about 136,000 hours of community impact. Participants in the nationally recognized Student Leader Fellowship Program coordinate and execute a community service internship, accounting for another 4,480 hours annually.
NMU’s application highlighted its partnerships with several local and regional entities. These include UP Health System Marquette in the areas of brain tumor research and surgical technology; Lake Superior Community Partnership and the U.P. power industry for an electrical line technician program; various law enforcement agencies through the NMU Public Safety Institute; area K-12 schools and educators through Seaborg Center mathematics and science programs; and state/national councils on economic education and school districts through economic literacy services provided by the NMU Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship.
“This is the first time that there has been a reclassification process,” said Amy Driscoll, consulting scholar for the community engagement classification, in a press release. “We are seeing renewed institutional commitment, advanced curricular and assessment practices and deeper community partnerships, all sustained through changes in campus leadership, and within the context of a devastating economic recession.”
Institutions receiving the Carnegie designation were classified in one of three categories: curricular engagement, outreach and partnerships or a combination of both areas. NMU received the maximum recognition by qualifying for the latter category.