Seventeen universities will convene at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) next week to prepare a collective approach to championing social justice in Australian higher education, ahead of submitting their response for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification in May.
Jointly led by Charles Sturt University and the University of Technology Sydney, the cohort includes representatives from the United States where the Classification originated, and from Canadian universities, who are also embarking on their own framework.
The result will be a bespoke Carnegie Community Classification framework, interpreted for an Australian context that encompasses the unique geographical and cultural differences our universities span.
“Being a lead university in the first Australian trial of the Carnegie Classification is an institutional highlight,” said Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann.
“We are committed to working meaningfully with our communities. This process will ensure that community participation and engagement continues to be at the core of what we do and enable us to deepen our work in the development of our regions and our people.”
“Australian universities have a strong history of community engagement, and the higher education landscape in Australia is distinct from other national contexts,” said UTS Executive Director, Social Justice, Verity Firth.
“For universities, meaningful community engagement means an end to ‘ivory tower’ thinking. Partnerships between universities and the community need to be mutually beneficial and accept the knowledge and experience that both parties bring to the table. The end goal is to deepen scholarship, research and creative activity, all while addressing critical social issues.”
Presentations next week will include community engagement case studies from Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research at UTS, Southern Cross University, Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney, and the University of Alberta.
The submitted framework will be assessed by representatives from Brown University, who determine the universities to be awarded the classification.
Eight additional universities are taking part in the pilot and a further seven have an observer status, with a view to taking part after the framework has been finalised.
The Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement is the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in US higher education for the past 13 years.