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Tarleton receives Carnegie classification for community engagement

Friday, January 31, 2020

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Tarleton State University is one of 119 colleges and universities nationwide — and the only school in The Texas A&M University System — to receive the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s prestigious 2020 Community Engagement Classification. This is the first time Tarleton has received the recognition.

Awarded every five years, the elective classification recognizes an institution’s commitment to use its resources, knowledge and research to build partnerships. Colleges and universities apply by submitting extensive documentation describing the nature and extent of their community participation.

“Receiving the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification is an incredible milestone,” said Tarleton President James Hurley. “It recognizes our commitment to strengthen community partnerships that enrich student learning and serve the public good.”

In a letter informing Tarleton of its classification, the foundation praised the university’s application for its “excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community service.”

Tarleton’s 80-page application features hundreds of projects involving service learning, scholarship and research initiatives.

“Service is a defining characteristic of our university — a core value,” said Dr. Karen Murray, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs. “This external recognition by our peers validates our commitment to that core value, its impact on our community and the transformation of our students. The Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification brings special distinction to our institution.”

Tarleton’s Carnegie application was prepared by the school’s Center for Transformative Learning led by Director Denae Dorris, with input from every department and division in the university. A national review committee, led by the Swearer Center for Public Engagement at Brown University, assessed the submission.

“Pursuing the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification engaged the entire university in an evidence-based self-assessment,” Dr. Dorris said. “The recognition truly reflects the valuable contributions of our faculty, staff and students to the communities we serve and highlights the important role our community partners play in providing transformative learning experiences for our students. A very special thanks to Tarleton’s Carnegie Steering Committee for guiding our efforts.”

Among the 2020 recipients of the classification, 67 are public institutions and 52 are private. They represent campuses in 37 states and U.S. territories.

Tarleton’s classification is valid until 2026 when it can seek reclassification. A university celebration is planned for later this semester.

About the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching aims to build a field around the use of improvement science and networked improvement communities to solve long-standing inequities in educational outcomes. The foundation, through the work of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, developed the first typology of American colleges and universities in 1970 as a research tool to describe the diversity of U.S. higher education. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, housed at Indiana University Bloomington’s Center for Postsecondary Research, continues to be used for a range of purposes by academic researchers, institutional personnel and policy makers. For more information, visit

About the Swearer Center for Public Service

In 1986 Brown University President Howard Swearer founded one of the first public service centers in the nation, now named for him — the Swearer Center for Public Service. The center is a hub of community, scholarship and action at Brown. Through innovative programs and fellowships that reach across Rhode Island and around the globe, the Swearer Center connects people to co-create knowledge and positive social change, advances engaged scholarship and integrates social innovation with community engagement. In 2017 the Swearer Center became the administrative and research home of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. For more information, visit

Tarleton, founding member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven education marked by academic innovation and a dedication to transform today’s scholars into tomorrow’s leaders. It offers degree programs to more than 13,000 students at Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, RELLIS Academic Alliance in Bryan, and online, emphasizing real-world learning experiences that address societal needs while maintaining its core values of tradition, integrity, civility, excellence, leadership and service.


Dr. Denae Dorris, Director of the Center for Transformative Learning

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