Carnegie Foundation Recognizes Rockhurst Community Engagement EffortsJanuary 3, 2011

Rockhurst University has been nationally recognized for the strength of its community outreach efforts. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has awarded Rockhurst its community engagement classification, a distinction shared by only 311 universities nationwide.

The foundation announced its 2010 designees today following a rigorous application and selection process.

“We have a university community that is extremely committed to making the world a better place,” said Julia Vargas, director of the center for service learning. “This designation is the result of a collective effort by our students, faculty, staff and community partners and it affirms that we’re truly following our stated mission and Jesuit, Catholic tradition.”

In 2006, the Carnegie Foundation introduced the community engagement classification for which universities could voluntarily apply by completing a comprehensive application process. The classification is awarded to institutions that engage students, staff and faculty with the community through curriculum, by providing university resources for community use and through partnerships that benefit the university as well as community organizations.

Among the many initiatives that earned Rockhurst University its community engagement classification were:

  • A 16-year old service learning program that partners with more than 100 community organizations to support faculty and students as they interweave civic engagement and community service with the academic experience.
  • A 14-year old service immersion trip program that sends students, faculty and staff to international and domestic locations, including Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Baltimore, New Orleans and Appalachia.
  • An occupational and physical therapy pro bono clinic through the Kansas City Free Health Clinic that provides free services to uninsured community members.
  • The Rockhurst University Neighborhood Committee, composed of neighborhood leaders and university staff and students, that provides a forum for community input on university development projects and promotes healthy neighborhood initiatives.

Rockhurst is the only institution in the Kansas City area to have earned the community engagement classification. The classification will not be awarded again until 2015.

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