In early January, NSU received a Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
The foundation gives the classification to institutions that they make community engagement a priority, promote collaboration with the community and work to improve it.
Barbara Packer-Muti, Ed.D., executive director of the Office of Institutional and Community Engagement, said NSU was one of 115 institutions that received this designation. She said that the foundation gave NSU the classification after observing its community activities.
“What they are saying is that we are doing an amazing job in terms of engaging our students and faculty with the community and providing services to the community,” Packer-Muti said. “Any outside respected agency like the Carnegie Foundation providing us with this designation means that we’ve really gone above and beyond what many institutions do.”
Chancellor Ray Ferrero Jr. said 13 Florida schools applied for the designation, four of which are independent, private non-profit institutions like NSU.
“This was an opportunity for us to really survey and inventory the huge amount of community service that we do here at the university,” Ferrero said. “There’s now a compilation of all of those things that was submitted to Carnegie, and they deemed it worthy of respect and designation.”
Ferrero said that NSU has a responsibility to be involved in the community. He also said that NSU’s community services round out students’ education, teaches them social responsibility and gives them the opportunity to participate in things other than their educational requirements.
“When you plant seeds with the students by providing opportunities to really help the community in which they are going to school, that becomes part of who that student is, and ultimately, in the long run, they’ll continue to serve their own communities wherever they end up,” Packer-Muti said.
Packer-Muti said that before the Office of Institutional and Community Engagement was established three years ago, there was no collective organization of NSU’s community services, although each academic unit was doing something in the community.
“By collecting all the information and providing resources, we’ve seen tremendous growth and collaboration across the academic and support units,” she said. “We have 1,046 different activities that are taking place in the community that NSU serves.”
Ferrero said that the more involved students are, the better it is for their futures because prospective employers will recognize that the student cares about the community in which they work.
Dashka Gabriel, sophomore communication studies major, said she thought NSU receiving the award was impressive.
“We’re starting to be recognized as emerging leaders,” Gabriel said. “Such a small amount of schools got chosen, and we were one of them. That means we’re being recognized and that students and faculty — the whole school — is being recognized for what we do on campus.”