Carnegie Elective Classification

Carnegie Elective Classification for Leadership for Public Purpose

Rice University's Doerr Institute, in partnership with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the American Council on Education (ACE), has established the Carnegie Elective Classification for Leadership for Public Purpose. 

View the full history of the partnership and Classification here.

What is leadership for public purpose?

Conceptual Definition
Effective leadership for public purpose transcends functional or instrumental leadership (i.e., personal career or political gain; or narrow business or organization outcomes), in pursuit of collective public goods like justice, equity, diversity, and liberty.
It can be manifest in all realms of social life such as private business, public and nonprofit institutions, neighborhood and community life, professional associations, civil and government institutions, and religious institutions.

Operational Definition
Institutions that are committed to leadership for public purpose enhance the learning, teaching, and research mission of their institution by:

  • Developing leadership abilities in all institutional stakeholders
  • Contributing to the public scholarly understanding of leadership as a public good
  • Understanding of the sociopolitical contexts, systems, and practices within which all leadership resides
  • Preparing students for lives of public leadership for public purpose in their careers, communities, and the broader society.


The Classification

The Carnegie Foundation's Elective Classifications require institutions to undergo a rigorous process of self-study from which they provide evidence of their institutional indicators including:

  • Assessment of student learning
  • Curricular and co-curricular offerings
  • Faculty and staff rewards and contributions
  • Mission statements
  • Strategic plans

Institutions that demonstrate, through the evidence they provide, an extraordinary institutional commitment, receive the Carnegie Foundation's endorsement as a Classified Institution.

This new Elective Classification will begin the process of creating an institutional and sector-level continuous improvement process, grounded in the identification and sharing of best practices in leadership education and development that can be transformative for higher education.

Interested in The Classification?
Next Steps:

Step #1:  Sign-up to get notified when applications open
Step #2: Join HigherLed, our consortium of higher education leaders, to learn more about the process and share best practices.
Step #3: Join our monthly Q&A session on Carnegie Elective Classification. Details in HigherLed.


Find Out More



Contact Carla Ortega Santori at Carla.Ortega.Santori@rice.edu