Project History


In 2017, Simon Fraser University began speaking with the Swearer Center at Brown University, the administrative and research home of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, about the potential benefits of assembling a select and diverse group of Canadian institutions of advanced education to participate in a pilot of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification in Canada.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the McConnell Foundation joined SFU and Brown to help present the Pilot and a call for expressions of interest was sent out to all Canadian colleges, universities and institutes through Universities Canada and Colleges and Institutes Canada.  Interest in the Canadian Pilot was high and ultimately, 16 Canadian post-secondary institutions were selected to join a Canadian Pilot Cohort (CPC) of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

Canadian Pilot Cohort Institutions
Assiniboine Community College McMaster University Saskatchewan Indian institute of Technologies
University of Alberta University of Ottawa York University
Carleton University Mount Allison University Simon Fraser University
University of British Columbia Université du Québec Yukon College
Kwantlen Polytechnic University Nova Scotia College of Art and Design  
University of Calgary University of Windsor  

Selection of these post-secondary institutions resulted in a CPC consisting of institutions from nearly every province in Canada as well as representation from its northern territories while also considering equity factors, such as population, institution size, access and others.  It also resulted in a balance of institutional type in the CPC, with representation by multiple medical/doctoral universities, comprehensive universities, primarily undergraduate universities, technical institutes, and colleges that collectively operate campuses in a variety of urban, suburban and rural settings.

Canadian Pilot Cohort Commitments 
  • To attend an initial convening to learn about the philosophy and logic of the existing Carnegie Community Engagement Classification
  • To engage in the data collection, analysis and synthesis required to review and answer the questions in the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification Documentation Framework and to host individual campus site visits from the existing US Carnegie Community Engagement Classification Team
  • To work together as a learning community to identify needed adjustments to the existing Classification, recommend solutions and contribute to the development of a Canadian specific version of the Classification, if deemed desirable.

Canadian Pilot Cohort Initial Convening - Vancouver, BC

The initial convening was held in February 2019 at Simon Fraser University and included participation of approximately 50 representatives from the sixteen post-institutions.

Together, representatives from participating institutions shared, discussed, learned, dreamed, and planned next steps to explore possibilities for the development of a Canadian framework for the Carnegie Elective Community Engagement Classification.

The spirit of collaboration was high across the convening and this was reflected in the values and principles developed by participants to establish and guide the culture, behaviours and contributions of the CPC.

The initial convening offered dedicated time for participants to get to know one another, share their stories of successful community-college/university partnership and practice, strengthen inter-organizational relationships, and respectfully reflect on a shared set of values and principles to guide the cohort.

Substantial effort was dedicated to learning about the existing Carnegie Community Engagement Classification with focus on the importance of partnerships, the Framework as a theory of change, and Carnegie’s definition of engagement.