The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification allows universities to demonstrate their commitment to the communities they serve and to share good practice in the sector.

The Carnegie Foundation and Swearer Centre logos sitting side-by-side

The classification was first offered in 2006 and and has been the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in US higher education for the past 13 years. The Swearer Center at Brown University became the administrative and research host institution for the classification in January 2017.

It is an elective classification. Participating universities conduct a self-study to capture a full picture of the various elements of institutional commitment to community engagement. This involves data collection and documentation of important aspects of institutional mission, identity and commitments, and requires substantial effort invested by participating institutions.

The classification framework represents best practices in the field, and encourages continuous improvement through periodic re-classification.

A total of 361 institutions in the US are currently classified as Carnegie Community Engaged Campuses.

International pilot programs have been, or are in the process of being implemented in Ireland, Canada and now Australia.

“The opportunity to collectively forge an Australian community engagement classification through a world-leading framework is a game changer for higher education in Australia. Enhanced ability to benchmark, reward, incentivise and achieve scaled impact will enable and drive the critical mission of universities as institutions in service of society.”

Verity Firth, Executive Director, Social Justice, UTS.

The Carnegie Foundation describes the purpose of community engagement as the partnership of 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.

“This process will really help to lift our standards of community participation and engagement and in turn produce better outcomes for the communities in which we operate.”

Professor Andrew Vann, Vice Chancellor of Charles Sturt University.

Australian Pilot

Why Australia is Participating

  • Australian universities are highly engaged in the communities they serve. Considered an international gold standard, the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification allows universities to demonstrate this commitment to their communities and to share good practice in the sector.
  • The participating Australian universities have distinct institutional strengths and represent engagement with diverse communities in metropolitan and regional centres across the country. 
  • The classification will shape a future Australian framework that will magnify impact nationally by supporting institutions and communities across the country in their partnership initiatives.
  • Australian University campuses are hubs for our communities—contributing to educational achievement, community engagement, and economic activity.
  • Australian universities identify that their role is to embody the foundational principles and values of inclusion and diversity; mutual trust, respect and accountability; sustainable approaches; healthy relationships; equity; and knowledge creation.
  • There is a genuine interest and need for Australian Universities to reflect on and implement institution-wide measurements and evaluation methods of community engagement.
  • “This international pilot project will enable us to develop partnerships and learning communities where we will exchange research, data, and best practices with partners around the world. We look forward to informing the US classification with this international knowledge, and to supporting local and regional cohorts in developing locally relevant versions of this classification framework.” – Mathew Johnson, Executive Director and Associate Dean of Engaged Scholarship, The Swearer Center.

Australian Pilot Process

  • In August 2018, participating Australian universities attended an initial convening in August to learn about the history, philosophy, and logic of the existing US Carnegie Classification. 
  • By mid 2020, the Australian pilot institutions will complete and submit the existing US classification application and host individual campus site visits from the US Carnegie Classification Team in city and regional areas.
  • The cohort will work together as a learning community to identify needed adjustments to the existing classification, recommend solutions and contribute to the development of an Australian specific version of the classification.


Australian Pilot Leading Universities

Charles Sturt University LogoCharles Sturt University
University of Technology Sydney LogoUniversity of Technology Sydney

Participating Universities

Australian Catholic University LogoAustralian Catholic University
CQUniversity Australia LogoCQUniversity Australia
Curtin University LogoCurtin University
Flinders University LogoFlinders University
La Trobe University LogoLa Trobe University
Southern Cross University LogoSouthern Cross University
University of Sunshine Coast University of the Sunshine Coast
Western Sydney University LogoWestern Sydney University

Observer Universities

Deakin University LogoDeakin University
Federations University LogoFederations University
James Cook University LogoJames Cook University
Swinburne University LogoSwinburne University
The University of Sydney LogoThe University of Sydney
The University of Tasmania LogoThe University of Tasmania
The University of Western Australia LogoThe University of Western Australia