Georgetown Lauded by Carnegie Foundation for Community Engagement

Carnegie CEC digital seal

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has renewed Georgetown’s prestigious classification as one of the nation’s premier institutions committed to community engagement.

The university is among 361 colleges and universities to receive the 2015 Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement, which extends to 2025.

“These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions,” says John Saltmarsh, director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE).

The NERCHE partnered with the Carnegie Foundation to administer the community engagement classification.

Commitment to Common Good

President John J. DeGioia attributes the university’s long history of service and community engagement to Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit identity.

“Our commitment to the common good, to engaging productively and positively with our community locally and globally, is at the core of this tradition and at the heart of what we do at Georgetown,” he says.

Strengthening Engagement

Since 2008 – when the university first received the classification – Georgetown has created two new offices dedicated to strengthening community engagement across the university.

The Office of Community Engagement and the Office of Global Engagement support the university’s commitment to the common good by facilitating community engagement activities in Washington, D.C. and around the world.

Georgetown also has developed academic programs that feature community engagement as a major component – including a master’s in global human development, a minor in education, inquiry and justice, a justice and peace studies major, and a Global Social Enterprise Initiative.

Core Educational Purpose

Georgetown launched the Designing the Future(s) of the University initiative in 2013 to explore new ways to deliver education for the 21st century while retaining its core values.

“As we face new challenges in higher education and explore new ways to educate our students, we remain committed to the core purposes of the university – formation, scholarship and the common good – all tenants to which deep and meaningful community engagement is essential,” DeGioia says.

The integration of community engagement in the classroom is a key component of the Carnegie classification.

Countless Examples

Georgetown students engage in service learning opportunities through courses, programs and centers at the university. Numerous faculty and staff members also partner with community organizations through research and consulting projects and serve in leadership roles.

Through these experiences, students and faculty and staff apply their skills and knowledge to communities struggling with some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Service learning extends outside the classroom as well, with students participating in community service activities and service-learning courses through the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching, and Service (CSJ) and through medical and legal clinics at the School of Medicine, the Law Center, among many others.

“This is an institutional recognition of community engagement,” says Andria Wisler, CSJ executive director, “and the process produced countless examples of our commitment to community engagement and social justice through deep community partnerships and creative curricular and experiential learning initiatives.”

Campus Compact Recognizes Georgetown for Community Engagement

Georgetown University recently received recognition for its community engagement efforts from Maryland-DC Campus Compact, a network of colleges and universities committed to advancing communities through civic engagement in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The university received the Engaged Campus Award, which recognizes a university that demonstrates exemplary committed to being a community engaged campus. Georgetown’s community engagement work extends across the entire university, including faculty-led, community-based research; high-impact experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students; longstanding partnerships with community organizations; and much more.

Maurice Jackson, associate professor of history, also received the Civic Engagement Award, which recognizes an individual who contributes to the advancement of community engaged learning and scholarship. Jackson has been a longtime advocate in the District and is an expert on D.C. history and culture. He has written and lectured extensively on the history of jazz in D.C. and the city’s African American population. In September 2013, he was appointed the inaugural chair of the District of Columbia Commission on African American Affairs.

“We are pleased to have the university’s work in our community recognized in this way,” says Lauralyn Lee, associate vice president for community engagement and strategic initiatives. “The Engaged Campus Award reflects the university’s commitment to meaningful and sustained civic engagement, a very important part of our Catholic and Jesuit tradition, our commitment to the common good and the educational experience we provide our students.”

“We share this recognition and honor with the many Georgetown faculty, staff and students who participate in this work and with our dozens of amazing community partners,” says Andria Wisler, executive director of the Center for Social Justice. At Georgetown, we value the relationships with our community partners and their eagerness to collaborate for effective social change.”

Georgetown received the two awards at a ceremony at Morgan State University on November 10th. Read more about the awards and Georgetown’s community engagement work in the District of Columbia.

Politics and Prose: New Course Looks at Washington, DC

How politics in the District of Columbia is depicted in novels, journalism and film is the subject of Washington Confidential, a new Georgetown course co-taught by NPR’s book critic and a ghostwriter/researcher for prominent city movers and shakers.

“I’ve learned how little Washington is represented in novels, poetry and film unless the subject is politics or politicians,” says Joanie Greve (C’15), a student in the class. “Very little has been written about the life of the city itself, partly because of how hard many writers have found the task.”

The faculty members teaching the course are steeped in all things Washington.

Maureen Corrigan, critic-in-residence for Georgetown College’s English department is book critic on the Peabody Award-winning NPR program, “Fresh Air,” and also serves as Mystery Columnist for The Washington Post.

Barbara Feinman Todd, who now directs Georgetown’s journalism program, served as ghostwriter and “book doctor” on Hillary Clinton’s It Takes A Village and other memoirs, and as researcher on Ben Bradlee’s A Good Life, Bob Woodward’s VEIL and Carl Bernstein’s Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir.


Students in the class watch films and read a wide range of works, from Democracy by Henry Adams to Thomas Mallon’s recent novel, Watergate, to Washington Post Publisher Katharine Graham’s Personal History and Edward Jones’ Lost in the City and other material.

Films include the classic 1976 Watergate film All the President’s Men and 1939’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

“I wanted to introduce students to other versions of Washington, the less obvious ones,” says Feinman Todd. “I’ve lived and worked here for three decades and I’m still figuring out how things work – who is really doing what behind the scenes, the stuff you can’t Google, that doesn’t have a paper or electronic trail – that’s what interests me.

“That’s the book about Washington I want to write,” she adds. “As I try to convey my take on this town to the students it’s helping me work it out in my head. And getting to do this alongside Maureen? Priceless.”

Greve says she’s enjoyed required reading that explores ‘other Washingtons,’ such as the one depicted in George P. Pelecanos’ novel Hard Revolution, which describes neighborhoods affected by the 1968 race riots.

“I think Professor Todd and Professor Corrigan work so well together as a teaching team because they’ve had very different yet complementary experiences of Washington,” Greve adds. “They’ve each lived this city with one foot in journalism and one in academics, and it gives them a rounded and balanced perspective on everything we learn.”


Feinman Todd says she and Corrigan, who are good friends, have wanted to co-teach a course for quite some time.

“Barbara knows more about the craft of journalism and the worlds-within-worlds of Washington than Julia Child knew about cooking and James Joyce knew about Dublin,” says Corrigan, the recent authorof So We Read On, How the Great Gatsby Came to be and Why It Endures (Little, Brown and Company, 2014).“I also thought the class would be a wonderful complement to my New York Stories course – I love to investigate how cities are defined, in part, by the narratives they inspire.”

In a recent class, Corrigan and Feinman Todd led a discussion of Mallon’s historical fibook of historical fiction, which focuses on characters less key to the Watergate scandal, such as the wives of some of the president’s operatives and Fred LaRue, deputy director of the Committee to Re-Elect the President, a.k.a. CREEP.

“Even as somebody who, young as I was when I lived through this era – I couldn’t remember who Fred LaRue was,” Corrigan noted in class. “Part of what Mallon is doing here is decentering the narrative.”

She said the author Watergate appears to be employing a literary theory known as New Historicism, in which writers attempt to “take away from the official narrative history,” and also sometimes “tell it from the bottom up.”


Mallon is scheduled to visit the class on Nov. 13.

Other upcoming guest speakers include Natalie Hopkinson, author of Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City on the Go-Go musical scene in Washington, D.C., and Georgetown’s Dinaw Mengestu (C’00), Lannan Foundation Chair in Poetics and the author of The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, a novel about immigrants in the city, among other novels.

Past speakers include Ted Gup, author of The Book of Honor: Covert Lives and Classified Deaths at the CIA, on secrecy in Washington, D.C., and Evelyn Small, book researcher and editor for Graham’s memoir.


Greves, who hopes to become a journalist after graduation, interned with TIME magazine in New York City this past summer.

She says the class has given her a new appreciation for Washington, D.C., history a better understanding of the city’s moving parts.

“When I see Washington on MSNBC, it becomes easy to think of the city as just these talking heads and the politicians they rip apart or interview, or both simultaneously,” she adds. “But there are many other people here, many other experiences and many other workers that go into making this city run. Reading some of their stories and perspectives has reminded me of their importance here.”

This story is reposted from