Friday, January 31, 2020

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV is one of just 119 colleges and universities in the United States to receive the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification for 2020.

The Carnegie Foundation today announced the classification, which honors an institution’s commitment to community engagement and its collaborations with local, regional, state, national and global partners.

This is the first time UTRGV has earned the elective, evidence-based designation, which recognizes the university’s efforts to engage with community partners, build on community assets and address a wide array of community challenges.

A special team of faculty, staff and community partners convened over the course of a year to document UTRGV’s community engagement efforts for the reporting year 2017-2018.

UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken said the UTRGV designation should come as no surprise.

“When it comes to improving the social and economic mobility of students, there are few institutions in the nation that make more of an impact than UT Rio Grande Valley,” he said. “Because UTRGV is invested and engaged in communities throughout the Valley, it has a deep understanding of the support and resources students need to be successful during and after college.

“UTRGV is not just an institution of higher education; it is a community pillar, and the Carnegie designation is a reflection of that,” Milliken said. “Congratulations to President Bailey and all UTRGV administrators, faculty and staff who remain focused every day on the grand purpose of public higher education.”
UTRGV President Guy Bailey said recognition by the Carnegie Foundation is an important acknowledgement of the work and dedication of the university to the community it serves.

“Community Engagement is one of UTRGV’s core priorities and this tremendous honor validates all the extraordinary things we’re doing for the entire Rio Grande Valley,” Bailey said. “This is truly a team effort that recognizes the community engagement efforts of many of our students, faculty and staff. We should all be extremely proud of this designation.”


The Carnegie Foundation commended UTRGV’s application for documenting the nature and extent of engagement activities, including alignment of campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.

Leading the effort were more than 50 certified faculty experts, who offered nearly 150 Designated Service-Learning course sections to more than 4,000 students who participated in Designated Service Learning and Community Engaged Scholarship and Learning courses.

Institutions participate voluntarily by submitting required materials, as part of an extensive application process that requires data collection and documentation to prove the nature and extent of engagement with the community. The approach enables the foundation to address elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness that are not represented in the national data on colleges and universities.

Veronica Gonzales, UTRGV’s vice president for Governmental and Community Relations, said the designation is important for the university because it embodies the Carnegie Foundation’s goal of rewarding the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources.

“Engaging with our community is key to UTRGV’s mission to transform the Rio Grande Valley,” she said. “This prestigious Carnegie Classification is especially meaningful because it recognizes the ongoing collective efforts made by our students, faculty, staff and leadership to connect with and positively impact our region. I am especially thrilled for our community engagement team, who led the effort to make this classification possible and who worked tirelessly to submit an excellent application.”



The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.