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Illinois State University earns prestigious Carnegie designation for community engagement

A bunch of students crouched over looking at the camera

Illinois State students on an Alternative Break trip.

Illinois State University has received the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Elective Classification for Community Engagement. The designation came after Illinois State completed an extensive application process involving data collection and documentation of the University’s commitment to community engagement.

emblem of a tree with the words Carnegie Foundation Elective Community Engagement Classification

Seal of the Carnegie Foundation Elective Community Engagement Classification

“Civic Engagement is a core value of this University, and I am pleased that the Carnegie Foundation has recognized our commitment and efforts by awarding the University the Elective Classification for Community Engagement,” said Illinois State University President Larry Dietz, who initiated plans to create the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CESL) early in his presidency. “Through the center, we support students, faculty and staff with in-class and out-of-class learning experiences that partner with the community. These experiences are prime examples of how we live our values every day.”

Illinois State is one of around 350 institutions nationwide that hold the classification. Similar to an accreditation, the extensive application process can take several years to compile and assess. A National Review Committee determined the University’s qualification for recognition as a community-engaged institution. The classification lasts for six years. Illinois State will need to apply for reclassification during the 2026 cycle.

“There are so many amazing experiences that Illinois State is offering its students,” said Christine Bruckner, assistant director of assessment, data management, and grant writing for CESL. “It’s not just that we received this designation, it’s what we’ve done with and for our students and community.” She added that the designation reflects Illinois State’s commitment to civic engagement throughout the University’s infrastructure, curricular and co-curricular opportunities for students, faculty and staff scholarship, community outreach, and community partnerships.

For more information on the designation, or on CESL, contact CESL Marketing and Communication Coordinator Emily Nafziger at (309) 438-1166 or ernafzi@ilstu.edu.