By Keith Pierce

The Carnegie Foundation has named Old Dominion University one of the nation's leaders in engagement and outreach with a 2020 Community Engagement Classification.

ODU is one of 119 institutions nationwide to earn the designation this year. It is one of nine schools in Virginia to hold a Carnegie Classification.

"This designation confirms that Old Dominion is a leader not just in instruction, research and diversity, but also in community service," ODU President John R. Broderick said. "Our success relies on a broad-based effort, starting with our Office of Community Engagement and including faculty, staff and students."

The University is one of 44 institutions that earned the recognition for the first time; 75 others were renewed after first being classified in 2010 or 2015.

Among the 2020 recipients of the classification, 67 are public institutions and 52 are private. Fifty-two, including ODU, are classified as research universities, 39 are master's colleges and universities, 22 are baccalaureate colleges, three are community colleges, and three institutions have a specialized focus - arts, medicine, and other health professions. They represent campuses in 37 states and U.S. territories.

"Earning this classification required an extensive review and documentation of ODU's commitment to community engagement across all aspects of the institution, especially with our curriculum, outreach and partnerships," explained Austin Agho, ODU's provost and vice president for academic affairs. "It is gratifying to know that our hard work has steadily strengthened ODU's impact across the Hampton Roads region."

The classification is awarded after a process of self-study by each institution, which is then assessed by a national review committee led by the Swearer Center for Public Engagement at Brown University, the administrative and research home for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification has been the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in U.S. higher education for the past 14 years.

"These newly classified and reclassified institutions are doing exceptional work to forward their public purpose in and through community engagement that enriches teaching and research while also benefiting the broader community," said Mathew Johnson, executive director of the Swearer Center.

"We also note that many more institutions who are not receiving classification today are doing similar important work and we celebrate them as well. It is clear that many campuses are facing difficult times and finding it challenging to maintain and advance their community engagement in the current climate. It is our hope that by celebrating these classified campuses, others might come to see community engagement as part of the strategy to address the current set of challenges in higher education."

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