FAQs: 2015 Carnegie Community Engagement Classification

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the 2015 Carnegie Community Engagement Classification application process.  If you have a question that is not answered on this page, please contact NERCHE at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Does the Documentation Framework list all of the questions that appear in the official online application? 

Yes.  The Documentation Framework comprises a list of all questions that appear in the application and also includes various notes that provide additional guidance as to the purpose of certain questions and the type of information that is expected in applicants’ responses.  It is strongly recommended that institutions use this framework for collecting data and drafting responses to the application questions.  (Transferring responses from the framework to the online application and then submitting it should be the last steps in the application process.)

To download a copy of the Documentation Framework, click on the appropriate file below:

  • Documentation Framework for First-Time Applicants:  PDF | Word
  • Documentation Framework for Re-Classification Applicants:  PDF | Word

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Are web links (i.e., URLs) permitted in responses to application questions? 

This depends entirely on the type of application your institution is submitting. 

Web links will NOT be accepted as valid supporting documentation in First-Time Applications (i.e., reviewers will not open links included in the application).  Instead, when relevant, First-Time Applicants should copy and paste text from websites and include that information as part of application responses, where appropriate.

Re-Classification Applicants should provide web links to relevant campus resources where requested in the application.  Reviewers may want to examine websites for additional clarification of the responses in the application. (Reviewers also may ask for a telephone conversation to clarify evidence provided.)

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How and when should an applicant enter text into the official online application?

It is strongly recommended that applicants complete the entire application in a word-processing application (e.g., Microsoft Word) and then cut and paste text from that file into answer fields on the online application.  More specifically, institutions should use the Word version of the Documentation Framework for collecting data and drafting responses to the application questions.  (Transferring responses from the framework to the online application and then submitting it should be the last steps in the application process.) 

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Can an applicant “click through” the pages of the online application to review all of the questions?

In the online application, all required responses on a page must be completed before an applicant can proceed to the next page.  Therefore, applicants should instead refer to the Documentation Framework in order to review all of the application questions.

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Can an applicant save an unfinished online application and then return to it at a later time?

Yes. Applicants may save an incomplete application and then continue it at a later time by clicking on "Save and continue later" at the top of every page of online application form.   A unique web link will be sent to the e-mail address provided by the applicant, allowing the applicant to return to the saved application.  

Please note:  When an applicant clicks the “Save and continue later” button, the online software will save data on all previous pages of the application but not the current page.  Thus, if there is data on the current page that the applicant wishes to save, he or she should advance to the next page of the application and then click the “Save and continue later” button.

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Who should be responsible for submitting the online application? 

Though the process of compiling responses to the application questions will likely involve many individuals from the applicant institution, it is strongly recommended that only one person be responsible for filling out and submitting the online application itself.  Preferably, the individual listed in the “Applicant’s Contact Information” section of the application will be the same individual who submits the application.

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Are application responses limited to a certain number of words?

Yes.  Most application questions require responses that cannot exceed a certain number of words.  (With only a few exceptions, the word limit for all essay-style responses in the application is 500 words.)  If a response provided by an applicant exceeds the word limit, the online application software will only submit the maximum number of words allowed for that question, resulting in an incomplete response.  Therefore, it is recommended that applicants draft their responses in a word-processing application (e.g., Microsoft Word), and use the word-count feature before cutting and pasting text into the online application. 

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Are paragraph divisions (i.e., “hard returns”) and bullets counted as words in the online application?

Yes.  Each paragraph mark and bullet in a response is treated as one word, which will be deducted from the total word limit in an individual response box (where applicable). 

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Can applicants include formatted text in response boxes on the application?

No.  The response boxes in the application will only accept non-formatted text (i.e., no font enhancements, such as bolding, italicization, or underlining, and no tables). 

In addition, the response boxes do NOT allow embedded hyperlinks.  The full text of URLs must be listed when referring to web addresses (where appropriate).

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Will each application be reviewed in its entirety by a single reviewer at a time?   If so, is it acceptable for applicants to use acronyms and/or abbreviations when referring to entities (e.g., departments or colleges) that are referenced more than once in the application? 

Each application is indeed reviewed in its entirety by a single reviewer at a time (with multiple reviewers reviewing each application); thus, it is acceptable to use acronyms and/or abbreviations throughout the application after the first full reference to an entity.

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Are applicants required to answer all questions on the application?

Responses to questions marked with a red asterisk (*) are required in order for the application to be submitted.

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When responding to the questions that ask for the number of students, faculty, departments, and courses associated with academically based community engaged courses, should I include internships, clinical placement, student teaching, cooperative education, and other forms of experiential education?

The 2015 application seeks evidence of community engagement in courses where there are collaborative and reciprocal partnerships. While an internship may be based on a collaborative and reciprocal partnership, for example, it may also be based on a placement with the purpose of professional preparation. When collecting data, many campuses make the distinction between experiences that are placements that enhance academics and provide professional training, and those that are partnerships that enhance academics and meet community needs. The distinctions are not absolute, but it is important to be able to clarify the differences in type of experiential education so that not everything experiential is counted as community engagement.

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Where can I download a copy of the “Partnership Grid template” required in section II.B. of the application?

A link to a downloadable copy of the Partnership Grid template (Excel file) can be found in the Documentation Framework as well as in the online application itself. 

For the convenience of applicants, the template can also be downloaded here.

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Whom should applicants contact for technical or content-related questions about the Community Engagement Classification application?

General inquiries regarding the application process should be addressed to the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .   For more immediate assistance with technical issues, please contact Brad Arndt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (617) 287-7744.  For guidance related to application content, please contact John Saltmarsh at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (617) 287-7743.

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Whom should an applicant contact to receive a copy of the link to the online application?

The online form is the ONLY allowable means by which to submit your institution’s classification application responses.  To have a link to 2015 online application re-sent to your institution, please contact Brad Arndt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (617) 287-7744.

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For a campus applying for Re-Classification, is it possible to receive a copy of its original, first-time application (from 2006 or 2008)?

Yes.  To receive a copy of a previous, successful Community Engagement Classification application, please submit a request to Brad Arndt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (617) 287-7744.

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When is the 2015 Community Engagement Classification application due?

The deadline for submitting the application for the 2015 Community Engagement Classification is April 15, 2014 (at 5:00 PM Eastern Time).  

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When will the results of the 2015 application process be announced?

The results of the 2015 Community Engagement Classification application process will be announced in January 2015.  Only those institutions that receive the classification will be identified.

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After 2015, when will institutions be eligible to apply for Community Engagement Classification?

The next Community Engagement Classification application process will be announced in 2018 (for the 2020 application cycle).

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