Stetson University Earns Carnegie Recognition

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Stetson University has been awarded the 2008 Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The foundation announced Dec. 18 that Stetson was one of 119 colleges and universities selected for the 2008 classification, joining 76 institutions identified in 2006.

The distinction is external validation from a prestigious source that recognizes community engagement is central to the life of Stetson University, said Dr. D. Gregory Sapp, Stetson’s Hal S. Marchman Chair of Civic and Social Responsibility and associate professor of Religious Studies. Fewer than 5 percent of nonprofit, four year institutions of higher education in the United States carry the designation.

The independent accreditation is part of a burgeoning standardized classification. The designation “allows someone considering Stetson to know it’s a place where community engagement is part of who we are, that it’s part of our character,” Sapp said.

Stetson students and faculty on the DeLand and Gulfport campuses provided more than 54,000 hours of service during the 2007-2008 academic year. That number represents both academic service learning hours and nonacademic volunteer hours. More than $19 million of the university’s $125 million endowment directly supports community engagement.

Examples of academic service learning programs at Stetson include Bonner Community Engagement, a 60-student service-oriented program; Community-Based Research; La Plaza Comunitaria community center in Pierson; and the CHOMI microcredit program in DeLand and Tanzania. Examples of volunteerism include CAUSE (Campaign for Adolescent and University Student Empowerment); the Greenfeather campuswide fundraiser for local nonprofit groups; and pro bono work at the College of Law.