What are Elective Classifications?
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching sponsors Elective Classifications for those institutions that have made extraordinary commitments to their public purpose. The Elective Classifications are managed on behalf of the Carnegie Foundation by an Elective Classification Central Office.
Institutions apply to be recognized by the Carnegie Foundation through a particular Elective Classification theme and make extraordinary commitments to that theme. Elective Classifications are not awards. They are evidence-based documentation of institutional policy and practices focusing on areas such as institutional culture and mission, curricular and co-curricular programming, continuous improvement activities, and the recruitment and reward of faculty, staff, and students.
Becoming a classified institution requires the investment of substantial effort by participating institutions to provide evidence of the commitment to a special purpose, demonstrated with precision across the breadth of the institution. These Classifications are an institutional recognition given to an individual campus and as such requires that the self-study process consider and document many aspects of the institutional life of a campus. Classification is thus given to successful campuses, not programs, centers, or systems of campuses. See our Policy for Multi-Campus Institutions for additional guidance.
The Carnegie Foundation’s Elective Classification for Community Engagement is a way for Colleges and Universities in the US to gain recognition for institutionalizing community engagement. Campuses must apply for the classification, which is offered every 2 years.
The Carnegie Foundation’s Elective Classification in Leadership for Public Purpose is a way for Colleges and Universities in the US to gain recognition for institutionalizing the development of leadership abilities in all institutional stakeholders and the understanding of leadership as a public good. Campuses must apply for the classification which is offered every 2 years starting 2024.
Training and Support
In an effort to support campuses seeking the Carnegie Elective Classifications, ACE provides training and support services both virtually and in-person. The classifications team at ACE offers multi-institutional webinars, conference presentations, and workshops. For campuses that are interested in one-on-one support, contact information for Carnegie-prepared consultants is available; these consultants are independent of ACE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Campuses that submitted an unsuccessful application for the Elective Classification for Community Engagement in the previous cycle (2020) may request a feedback session.
Community Engagement Training and Consultants
The Community Engagement forum on ACE Engage is designed for resources, training, and to connect campuses who are preparing for the Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement
Leadership for Public Purpose Training
Higherled is an online forum designed for resources, training, and to connect campuses who are preparing for the Carnegie Elective Classification in Leadership for Public Purpose. Hosted by the Doerr Institution for Emerging Leaders at Rice University.