OSU is proud to hold the elective Carnegie Community Engagement classification. This classification requires periodic renewal and so reporting. Several colleges have chosen to document their efforts towards Community Engagement in 21 of the 36 Digital Measures screens. The following will explain when and how to document your efforts as they contribute toward OSU's renewal of the Carnegie Community Engaged classification and your community engagement portfolios more broadly.


Step-by-Step Instructions

Should I complete this field?

OSU uses the Carnegie Foundation’s definition of community engagement: “the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.”

If you conduct engaged work that directly benefits community partners while it contributes to institutional and academic unit missions, you are conducting community engaged scholarship. Engaged scholarship can be:

  • Research and creative activities;
  • Teaching and learning;
  • Service and practice;

Engaged scholarship responds to community needs or takes place in the context of community partnerships.

Examples of engaged scholarship are given below. The key idea is reciprocity and mutually beneficial work with community partners. Traditional outreach is not necessarily engagement. Here are a few examples of what IS NOT community engagement:

  1. Service on committees
  2. Volunteer work that serves communities but does not include community partnerships
  3. External work that does not support institutional missions
  4. One-off participation in community events and gatherings
How do I track my Carnegie Community Engagement efforts?

Look for this field toward the bottom of the data entry screen; 21 of Digital Measures’ 36 data entry screens will accept community engagement efforts.

In the text box, explain how your efforts on this activity are reciprocal and mutually beneficial community engagement. Find more information behind the help text link or visit OSU's Carnegie Community Engagement website. If the record you are creating does not classify as community engagement, leave the field blank.


Improving Your Community Engagement Reporting

The Carnegie Foundation provides a definition for the elective community engagement classification that consists of two parts:

What it is/how it is done:Community engagement describes the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

What it actually does:The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good”.

Let’s start by considering some examples that DO NOT represent community engagement

They DO NOT meet the reciprocity and mutual benefit criteria of working WITH community partners or within a community partnership.  (Adapted from materials shared during the 2019 Summer Intensive Community Engagement Workshop at Michigan State University): 

Community Engaged Research IS NOT

  • Research conducted IN a community setting or research ABOUT or ON a community without any input from community members.
  • Research conducted on behalf of a group of people, FOR a group of people
  • Research about community engagement (example: service-learning, scholarship of teaching and learning). Research about engagement is not necessarily engaged research.

Community Engaged Creative Activities ARE NOT

  • Creating a work of art to reside in a community setting
  • Building a work of art that is about communities or a community issue/topic
  • Adding something creative to a traditional component of scholarship

Community Engaged Teaching and Learning IS NOT

  • Placing students in a community setting for learning experiences
  • Developing a curriculum or class about a community or group of people, or an issue they face without incorporating their voice
  • Students improving campus without participation of community members outside campus>

Community Engaged Outreach and Service IS NOT

  • Using your expertise to address specific issues of interest to the university or driven by a research question of interest to you
  • Volunteering in a community organization
  • Serving on a community organization’s board


STRONG faculty Community Engaged Scholarship

Community Engaged Research is conducted WITH community partners, who have a voice in decision making throughout the research process to various extents.

Example: Arsenic exposure and immune functioning in Bangladeshi children is an engaged research project conducted by the College of Public Health and Human Sciences and the Community Engagement Core in partnership with the Dhaka Community Hospital Trust (DCHT) in Bangladesh. This research examines how arsenic exposure from groundwater influences children’s health. This is a community concern although there was no science-based information available. This project trained 15 people in the Dhaka Community Hospital and community clinics on research techniques. When households with high arsenic levels in their drinking water are identified, the Hospital intervenes with an arsenic remediation program and counseling.

The project has sent several students to Bangladesh, to broaden their understanding of global health research, biomedical research in resource-limited settings, and community-engaged research. OSU has accepted Bangladeshi students into its research group and trained them in advanced environmental epidemiological research, building bidirectional cultural capacity and scientific capacity. This collaboration has supported novel biomedical research funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. In these projects, DCHT provides clinical expertise and access to health care systems in Bangladesh and OSU provides epidemiological, analytical chemistry, and biostatistical expertise. This project has discovered new information about how arsenic exposure in drinking water, and how it influences children’s developing immune systems.

This a strong CE example because:

  • The research question emerged from the community, based on a community need.
  • Community members are trained as co-researchers.
  • There are mutual benefits for the community in addressing arsenic exposure and for the institution in fulfilling institutional research missions.

Community Engaged Creative Activities are created, developed and performed collaboratively WITH community partners

OSU Libraries and Press (OSULP) are active in a variety of community-engaged practices. The Oregon Multicultural Archives (OMA) work as a series of interconnected but separate relationship. Much of the work behind this project is invested in creating, nurturing and developing these relationships.

These relationships are mutually beneficial and reciprocal.The mission of the OMA is to assist in preserving the histories and sharing the stories that document Oregon's African American, Asian American, Latino/a, and Native American communities. The organizations and groups OMA archivists engage with benefit from the expertise and capacity of OSULP’s Special Collections and Archives Resource Center to protect, preserve and organize their stories and resources. These can be texts, artifacts and other resources. OSULP archivists actively collect oral histories and digitize collections to increase access. They display and share the culture and history of their community partners. At the same time, OSULP gains the richness of these resources, in support of the mission of building a vibrant research environment for the OSU community, and for the state of Oregon. The presentation in the following link captures the way that community engagement and outreach is at the core of these partnerships (https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/parent/9c67ws678/file_sets/5425kg58k

This a strong CE statement because it shows the elements of engaged creative activity, defining the building of reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationships. It articulates the roles of university and community partners in collecting and maintaining the exhibit.

Community Engaged Teaching and Learning is organized around sharing existing knowledge with community audiences.

Example 1 (for-credit): After hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico documented over $780 million losses in agriculture production, exacerbating an existing food crisis and increasing Puerto Rico’s  dependency on food imports for months to come. A service-learning course was driven by the need to support the Puerto Rican community and schools during this food crisis. The course was also a response to widespread faculty and student interest to engage and co-create a transformative service learning experience. A spring-break intensive service-learning experience was designed as a collaboration among

  • the College of Agricubreltural Sciences, College of Sciences - BioResource Research Program,
  • College of Engineering - Construction Engineering,
  • Oregon Sea Grant
  • College of Education,
  • Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom,
  • Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences MANRRS,
  • Puerto Rico’s land grant university - University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (UPRM), and
  • the Segunda Unidad Bernaldo Mendez Jimenez school in San Sebastian.

Through collaboration with UPRM faculty and teachers at the middle school, a service learning course focused on agriculture and agriculture education in island communities was transformed into an opportunity for OSU faculty and students to work directly on renewing and rebuilding a school agriculture education program side-by-side with students, faculty, and community members from the city of San Sebastián.

This experience engaging in co-creating projects and curricula with our Puerto Rico partners set the coordinates for further service-learning experiences in post disaster communities. The history of this course has shifted from a traditional study abroad experience to a service learning model. A group of six leaders, 31 students, and a volunteer facilitator designed six community indicated needs-based projects in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez partners.  These projects included:

  • cleaning school grounds of debris
  • building a new roof and accessible sidewalk for the agriculture program
  • piloting new bilingual curriculum, and
  • restoring garden areas for school and community use

Specific projects students undertook were identified ahead of time through close communication with the school and UPRM faculty.

This a strong CE example because it articulates the role of community partners in shaping the goals and experiences of OSU student learners; reciprocally, the experience of service transformed an OSU course and faculty roles and expectations. 

Example 2 (non-credit instruction: Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) partners with 38 schools and 17 school districts to engage 65 teachers and 750 students annually. SMILE Clubs are rural after-school programs. Engaged teaching and learning increase underrepresented students’ success in STEM degree programs and careers, and deliver high-quality professional development to teachers.

SMILE partnerships provide broader impacts and outreach support to faculty in their grant proposals, making OSU more competitive for Federal research funding. SMILE creates community-engaged opportunities for undergraduate students provide near-peer mentoring during SMILE programming. The institution benefits by having an alternative pathway for students underrepresented on campus. The program also creates networks for the university through local community colleges and school districts. SMILE impacts communities by improving the academic success of underrepresented students, and establishing long-term relationships and ongoing professional development with the teachers who manage SMILE clubs. SMILE has a high retention of teachers. Teachers identify the high quality, university-led, biennial professional development and the connections to university scientists, labs, and experiences as supporting their continued participation.  Needs of partner school districts direct SMILE club activities. These partnerships are renewed annually; many of them are in their second decade of renewal, demonstrating the value perceived by school districts and communities.

This a strong CE statement because it explains how community input is collected annually to shape and renew programming community youth and demonstrates reciprocal benefits for the communities, school districts, and University alike.

Through community engaged service and practice activities, address issues/problems identified by individuals, organizations or communities are collaboratively addressed by university expertise. This work is not primarily driven by a research question although that may be of secondary interest.

Example: Engineers Without Borders at Oregon State University (EWB-OSU) is a non-profit humanitarian organization that collaborates with developing communities worldwide to improve quality of life and meet basic community needs. The Organization’s mission is the implementation of environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects, while developing internationally responsible engineering students. EWB focuses on empowering communities to meet their needs sustainably by providing them a strong foundation to develop systems in which the community is invested, for which they have a sense of ownership, and that meet their local needs. EWB-OSU partners with a community for a minimum of 5 years, in a three-phase collaboration: Assessment, solution development, and monitoring and evaluation. EWB-OSU currently provides access to safe drinking water for communities in Nicaragua and Cambodia. EWB-OSU maintains consistent communication among all involved parties. For example, in the Nicaragua program, weekly Skype calls with the community, ensuring that projects are not “charity”, but rather a partnership between equals working toward a common goal.

This is a strong CE example because it clearly demonstrates how and when community partners are involved. It names community partners as equals with a shared goal. It points the benefits to the community as well as the alignment of the university mission of providing transformational learning to students.

Applies To: 
Agricultural Sciences, Forestry, Extension and Engagement