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Widener Again Receives Community Engagement Classification from Carnegie Foundation

Widener was one of the first colleges in the nation to receive the "Community Engagement" classification in 2006. 

Widener University, which was among the first colleges and universities nationwide to be classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a “community engagement” institution in 2006, has again received that select designation following an intensive application and review process.

Widener is one of only 361 institutions nationwide that hold the community engagement classification. The renewal of Widener’s classification is valid until 2025.

Unlike the Carnegie Foundation’s other classifications, which rely on national data, institutions must apply to the foundation to be included in the community engagement classification. To be selected, institutions must provide descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that show alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practice.

“The renewal of Widener’s community engagement classification demonstrates the university’s long-term commitment to the principles of civic engagement,” said Widener President James T. Harris III. “We are dedicated to connecting our curricula to societal issues, contributing to the vitality and well-being of the communities we serve, and developing students who demonstrate professional and civic leadership.”

In recent years, Widener has been recognized among the most engaged institutions in the nation by Washington Monthly and Newsweek. The university was recently named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll “with distinction,” and has made the honor roll eight consecutive years. In 2013, the honor roll selected Widener as a President’s Award Finalist.

Among Widener most significant civic engagement initiatives are the Widener Partnership Charter School, the state’s first university-based charter; the College Access Center of Delaware County, in collaboration with five other local institutions; the Widener Small Business Development Center; and several innovative clinics including the Veterans Law Clinic, Chester Community Physical Therapy Clinic and Widener Community Nursing Clinic.

“The community engagement classification represents a significant affirmation of the importance of community engagement in the agenda of higher education,” said Carnegie President Anthony S. Bryk. “The foundation believes that the classification provides campuses of every institutional type an opportunity to affirm a commitment to community engagement as an essential aspect of institutional mission and identity.”

Widener University is a metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve more than 6,000 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free campus. Visit the university’s website,