New classification recognizes the university’s efforts in civic engagement among undergraduates, graduates, theological students, faculty, and staff.

Madison, N.J.—Drew University’s deep commitment to civic and community engagement has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which listed Drew among 361 colleges and universities to receive its coveted Community Engagement Classification in 2015.

The classification follows a rigorous process that involved a 60-page application listing not only the ways Drew students in all three colleges and faculty and staff engage with the outside world, but also the ways that the university has built bridges with the borough of Madison, non-profit organizations, and other communities.

“It has long been one of the hallmarks of Drew to engage meaningfully in the greater community,” said President MaryAnn Baenninger. “Our students, faculty, and staff get involved in a variety of programs – through art and drama, through ministry and the environment, through teaching, internships, and volunteer opportunities. I am proud of their demonstrated work and commitment.”

Drew University was among 133 first-time applicants for the classification, of which 83 college and universities were chosen. Drew students are involved in civic engagement in myriad ways. Undergraduate students participate in arts and drama programs with underserved high school students, commit to volunteering at non-profit organizations, and even take part in an alternate spring break where they work on environmental issues in Kentucky. Drew also offers a host of community-based learning courses – applied learning courses in which service to the local community is integrated into class like a reading assignment, providing students with additional “texts” for consideration during class discussions and in written assignments.

As part of their coursework, students in the Theological School are required to get involved in a non-profit agency or church setting where they lead worship, work on church outreach, tutor students, and help at soup kitchens. Graduate students studying to become teachers take part in enrichment projects and teaching programs in urban classrooms, in addition to their student teaching. Faculty and staff volunteer in non-profit groups and have also helped in relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.

Drew also has formed significant partnerships with the borough of Madison. Student volunteers assist the local ambulance corps, the university co-sponsors the seasonal farmer’s market, and President Baenninger serves on the Chief Executive Council for the borough.

“The importance of this elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national, and global communities,” said John Saltmarsh, Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education, who is on the advisory committee for the Carnegie Foundation. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”

A full list of the institutions that hold the community Engagement Classification can be found on the website of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (

About the Carnegie Foundation

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to developing networks of ideas, individuals, and institutions to advance teaching and learning. We join together scholars, practitioners, and designers in new ways to solve problems of educational practice. Toward this end, we work to integrate the discipline of improvement science into education with the goal of building the field’s capacity to improve.