The new see tomorrow 2014-2020 Strategic Plan for the University of Kentucky includes “engagement” within its major initiatives, challenging all of us at UK to make sure our work will “Have a Meaningful Impact on the Commonwealth and the Community.” The Office of Community Engagement defines engagement as “a collaboration between the University of Kentucky and external partners (local, state, regional, national, global) for a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.” This definition is aligned with that established by the Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement classification – a performance indicator to which the University subscribes. On April 15th, UK submitted its report for reclassification (see the earlier Bluegrass Blade post describing this University-wide effort led by Dr. Katherine McCormick, the Stuckert Endowed Professor for Service-Learning).
In 2012-2013, the process for university-wide adoption of three definitions related to community engagement began with the submission of the definitions by the Senate Admissions and Academic Standards Committee for approval by the University Senate Council (download minutes of the April 15, 2013 Senate meeting here). The hope is that the Senate Committee for Rules and Regulations will confirm the definitions and present to the full Senate for codification.
- Academic service-learning is the most prominent form of civically-engaged teaching and learning evidenced in the UK curriculum and has been defined for the university community as “credit-bearing learning experiences designed to enhance mastery of course concepts and content, gain appreciation of the discipline within its societal context, and promote civic responsibility through meaningful community service that meets a community-identified need.”
- Distinguished from academic service-learning, co-curricular service-learning is not anchored in a specific course but is defined as “a part of student life experiences, including activities such as student involvement, leadership, and participation in residential life and living-learning communities. Students learn through reflection which links community-identified needs and concerns with their personal values and professional goals. Co-curricular service-learning can be both individual action or student-led initiatives.”
- The university also defines community-based learning experiences as “for-credit courses in which students apply, and thereby achieve greater mastery of, theoretical knowledge in real-world settings under the supervision of a faculty member. Examples include experiential education, internships, externships, co-ops, practica, field experiences, clinicals, residencies, and capstone courses.”
As they are not yet confirmed, these definitions have not been posted to a UK website or included in official university documents. However, given the readiness with which the colleges provided ample examples of their faculty, staff and students working in the various aspects of community engagement and service-learning, the report to the Carnegie Foundation is ample proof of the University’s full commitment to these high impact practices in student success.
You can read the full report by downloading the .pdf file here: UK Carnegie Reclassification Application April 15 2014 – and the accompanying “Partnership Grid” in a spreadsheet (download the 2015_Partnership_Grid for UK – an Excel file – here).
Please reply below or contact Dr. Katherine McCormick directly.