Carnegie recognizes AACC for community involvement

Anne Arundel Community College is engaged. The Carnegie Foundation said so.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching selected AACC as one of its 2008 engaged community institutions for its commitment to involve the community through its curriculum, its outreach and its partnerships.

AACC is one of only nine community colleges in the nation and the only community college in Maryland selected for this honor. Towson University is the only other Maryland school named an engaged community institution this year, with University of Baltimore chosen in 2006.

“This honor is a tribute to our students, faculty and staff who continually seek new ways to meet community needs and offer solutions to community challenges,” said Martha A. Smith, Ph.D., president of AACC. “To be recognized by such a prestigious national organization as the Carnegie Foundation is gratifying.”

To be chosen, a college has to provide descriptions and examples of ways its interactions with the community are ingrained in its mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.

Carnegie recognizes institutions for community engagement in one of three categories:
• Curricular engagement, in which learning and scholarship engage students, faculty and the community in a collaboration that addresses community-identified needs
• Outreach and partnerships, which uses a college’s resources to meet community needs or to collaborate with partners to address specific needs
• Both curricular engagement and outreach and partnerships, which is the category for which AACC was selected.

One of the most obvious collaborative endeavors is AACC’s Arundel Mills facility being designated as a Regional Higher Education Center. AACC partners with College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Frostburg State University, McDaniel College, Stevenson College and University of Maryland University College, all of whom offer classes at AACC, providing county residents the opportunity to pursue baccalaureate or master’s degrees without leaving the county.

Another example is AACC’s partnership with the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation and the BWI Business Partnership Inc. to establish a workforce center at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport for both airport employers and employees and travelers.

AACC just celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Chesapeake Area Consortium for Higher Education, a partnership between AACC, Chesapeake College and the College of Southern Maryland that allows students at all three colleges to earn the Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Applied Science degree.

The college’s Environmental Center has worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for several years, as well as with state and county agencies, on projects to replenish underwater bay grasses and to research the best varieties for specific sections of the Chesapeake Bay.

AACC’s Internship office and its Computer Technologies department also were instrumental in founding CyberWATCH, a consortium of Washington-area organizations, colleges and universities that created a regional cybersecurity center that matches employer needs with interns in the high-demand and growth areas of technology and homeland security.

The college’s Center for Learning through Service, part of the Paul S. Sarbanes Center for Public and Community Service, also has matched hundreds of students with volunteer work in the community. The center last year passed the $1 million mark in comparable earnings in the community.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching was founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an act of Congress as an independent policy and research center with the primary mission “to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold and dignify the profession of the teacher.”

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