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Engagement and Service

Criterion 5: Engagement and Service

As called for by its mission, the organization identifies its constituencies and serves them in ways both value.

Criterion 5 focuses on service.  It looks at the extent and ways in which the institution engages with and serves the community.  The Commission states that “If colleges and universities have erred in the past half century, it has been in marginalizing the importance of their engagement in ‘serving the common good.’ ”  Criterion 1 repeats the call for the institution to be explicit about how it defines its constituencies and the service it intends to provide to them. Criterion 5 asks for evidence that the organization lives up to its mission.

Core Component 5a: The organization learns from the constituencies it serves and analyzes its capacity to serve their needs and expectations.

As it defines and interprets evidence related to this core component, an organization may wish to consider the following examples of evidence.

  • The organization’s commitments are shaped by its mission and its capacity to support those commitments.
  • The organization practices periodic environmental scanning to understand the changing needs of its constituencies and their communities.
  • The organization demonstrates attention to the diversity of the constituencies it serves.
  • The organization’s outreach programs respond to identified community needs.
  • In responding to external constituencies, the organization is well-served by programs such as continuing education, outreach, customized training, and extension services.

Core Component 5b: The organization has the capacity and the commitment to engage with its identified constituencies and communities.

As it defines and interprets evidence related to this core component, an organization may wish to consider the following examples of evidence.

  • The organization’s structures and processes enable effective connections with its communities.
  • The organization’s co-curricular activities engage students, staff, administrators, and faculty with external communities.
  • The organization’s educational programs connect students with external communities.
  • The organization’s resources—physical, financial, and human—support effective programs of engagement and service.
  • Planning processes project ongoing engagement and service.

Core Component 5c: The organization demonstrates its responsiveness to those constituencies that depend on it for service.

As it defines and interprets evidence related to this core component, an organization may wish to consider the following examples of evidence.

  • Collaborative ventures exist with other higher learning organizations and education sectors (e.g., K–12 partnerships, articulation arrangements, 2+2 programs).
  • The organization’s transfer policies and practices create an environment supportive of the mobility of learners.
  • Community leaders testify to the usefulness of the organization’s programs of engagement.
  • The organization’s programs of engagement give evidence of building effective bridges among diverse communities.
  • The organization participates in partnerships focused on shared educational, economic, and social goals.
  • The organization’s partnerships and contractual arrangements uphold the organization’s integrity.

Core Component 5d: Internal and external constituencies value the services the organization provides.

As it defines and interprets evidence related to this core component, an organization may wish to consider the following examples of evidence.

  • The organization’s evaluation of services involves the constituencies served.
  • Service programs and student, faculty, and staff volunteer activities are well-received by the communities served.
  • The organization’s economic and workforce development activities are sought after and valued by civic and business leaders.
  • External constituents participate in the organization’s activities and co-curricular programs open to the public.
  • The organization’s facilities are available to and used by the community.
  • The organization provides programs to meet the continuing education needs of licensed professionals in its community.

*The material on this page is taken from the Higher Learning Commission Handbook of Accreditation