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Carnegie Foundation Selects Colleges and Universities for 2020 Community Engagement Classification

February 4, 2020
The Carnegie Foundation has announced Whitworth University is one of the 119 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, an elective designation that indicates institutional commitment to community engagement. The university is among only 44 institutions to be newly classified in 2020. This is the highest form of achievement for universities partnering to make a difference in the world.

This classification is awarded following 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 application process required Whitworth to document its benefit to the community from across all units of the university; from student life to church engagement, academics to operations, and alumni to athletics.

“Whitworth has a long-standing commitment to partnering with the Spokane community for neighborhood development and progress,” says Rhosetta Rhodes, Whitworth’s vice president for student life and dean of students. “This designation is reflective of our missional purpose, to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity.”

Whitworth’s Dornsife Center for Community Engagement took a lead role in completing the institutional self-study, leading to the classification. The center brings together students, faculty, staff and community partners in strategic service that strengthens communities while enriching educational programs.

One of those community partners is the West Central Community Center, where many Whitworth students engage with youth and those most in need.

“The impact that the work study students have had on the kids in our youth development program, who often do not have a strong connection or support person outside of the program, has been one of the biggest blessings,” says Rick Harris, West Central Community Center’s recreation and facilities manager. “The work study students come in compassionate and caring, and so ready to make a difference in the lives of the kids here.”

“This achievement was only possible because of the amazing work of our students, faculty, employees and alumni in the community,” says Ross Brooke Watts, Ph.D., the director of the Dornsife Center for Community Engagement. “Everyone at Whitworth should feel proud of this classification. We have joined a select group of campuses in the nation, committed to using our knowledge, time and capital to the benefit of our neighbors.”

Among the 2020 recipients of the classification, 67 are public institutions and 52 are private.
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. For more information, visit and

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of more than 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Georgina Manok, The Swearer Center for Public Service, Brown University, 401-863-3638
Mathew Johnson, The Swearer Center for Public Service, Brown University, 401-209-4918 or
Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, 509-777-4703 or