First meeting of the Canadian Pilot Cohort – Community Engagement Classification, at Simon Fraser University.First meeting of the Canadian Pilot Cohort – Community Engagement Classification, at Simon Fraser University.

Project to explore classification of community engagement

Exploring how Canada might benefit from a framework to assess community engagement in higher education is a unique opportunity for the University of Windsor, says provost Douglas Kneale.

The University of Windsor has been selected as one of 16 Canadian post-secondary academic institutions working together to pilot the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification and assess its fit for Canada. The program helps universities to document and reflect on the nature of their community relationships and partnership practices.

“I am thrilled that the University is taking part in this project,” Dr. Kneale says. “Kudos to the members of our pilot team for their leadership in working with campus and community partners who contribute to research, learning, and economic well-being in the Windsor-Essex region.”

About 350 colleges and universities in the United States participate in the classification system, identifying them as placing an emphasis on community partnership.

Cheryl Collier, chair of the Carnegie Pilot Steering Committee, says the pilot project will test the framework in the Canadian context.

“Right now, it’s more about learning from each other and about how different institutions work with their communities than about receiving the classification,” she says.

An initial meeting of representatives from the 16 piloting institutions — including three from the University of Windsor — discussed how academic institutions increase engagement through mutually beneficial partnerships within their communities.

A team from the University of Windsor will complete the classification application by May in consultation with faculty, staff, students, and community partners. The experiences of teams from across the country will inform the development of a Canadian version, to be drafted by the end of 2021.

To learn more about the Canadian Pilot Cohort and Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, visit