University of Minnesota becomes nation’s first to receive community engagement distinction for every campus.
The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) has achieved the 2024 Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement. Of the nearly 4,000 U.S. universities and colleges that qualify, this prestigious recognition has been granted to only 368 institutions.
"At UMD and in the U of M System as a whole, community engagement is not just a concept; it is woven into our identity,” said Interim Chancellor David McMillan. “Part of our mission is to provide benefits to the communities, region and state we serve. That takes real, focused effort, but the benefits are many, impacting not only our communities, but also the people doing the work, their colleagues, and our students. This classification aligns perfectly with our mission, and affirms our dedication to impactful projects that address real-world challenges and create lasting change."
This distinction shines a singular spotlight on the U of M nationally and meets a stated goal in the University’s comprehensive, systemwide strategic plan (MPact 2025) for all campuses to earn the Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement. The U of M is the country's first and only university system at which every individual campus has received this selective six-year designation.
In addition to building strong institutional structures supporting community engagement, accomplishments highlighted in the recent application included UMD’s award-winning community-engaged work ranging from food security to sustainability. UMD also recently created a community engagement coordinator position to help drive and celebrate this work. Cheryl Skafte brought a wealth of experience to the role in January 2023.
"I am honored to be working alongside the faculty, staff, and students who contributed to our Carnegie application,” said Skafte. “Collaboration and reciprocity are central to our initiatives, which aim to empower and uplift our community partners. This designation highlights our commitment to this work, and I’m excited for what we’ll be able to accomplish together in the future."
As UMD celebrates this achievement, the institution continues to look forward to building meaningful relationships with community partners, stakeholders, and students to amplify the impact of community engagement initiatives.
“To me, this is an important part of how we prepare students to be active, responsible, and authentic contributors to society,” said Skafte.
Members of the community and UMD campus are encouraged to reach out to Skafte to share engagement experiences that are already happening, or to learn more about how to partner with students, faculty, and staff. She can be reached at 218-726-8038 or [email protected].
Learn more about the University of Minnesota’s systemwide achievement in the U of M press release.
Header Image: A participant carries trash during a cleanup even in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. August, 2023. Credit: University of Minnesota Duluth