22 January 2019
UCCS recently announced its new classification as an R2 research school by Carnegie Classification, making it the only R2 school in Southern Colorado and one of three in the state. Carnegie Classification is determined by the amount of outside funding that a school brings into research and how many students graduate with doctoral degrees from the school. While the new classification is above all a recognition of achievement, it is indicative of the work happening at UCCS.
Carnegie Classification recognizes three levels of research ranging from highest, R1, to moderate levels, R3, of institutional research. According to the Carnegie Classification website, further classification is based on the size of the school, the residential status of students and the length of programs.
UCCS, beyond the R2 classification, is considered a large school with a majority of students being non-residents. The school has a large amount of undergraduates and professional dominant research doctorates. Data collected for these identifiers were collected in the fall of 2017. The most comparable school based on the available statistics is Kennesaw State University in Georgia.
According to their website, the Carnegie Classification has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in US higher education. It has been widely used in the study of higher education as a way to represent and account for institutional differences and also, in the design of research studies, to ensure adequate representation of sampled institutions, students or faculty.
One contributing factor to the recategorization is the recent changes to the Carnegie Classification parameters of doctoral degree research funding.
According to a Communique article, the organization recognized 259 R1 and R2 universities who graduated at least 20 doctoral students in each year with at least $5 million in research activity. The cutoff between R1 institutions with “very high research activity,” and R2 schools with “high research activity” was determined by the research activity index.
“We have been consistently receiving around $5 million in research funding and grants. A large part of the new classification is the increase of students earning their doctorate degrees,” said Kelli Klebe, dean of the Graduate School and professor of Psychology.
The new classification coincides with the steady pace of increased attention to research, largely thanks to student drive. Faculty continue to be impressed by research possibilities.
“When I first arrived [in 1989], I would never have imagined that we could have grown to where we are today in the range of academic programs, the quality of the faculty and students and the excellence of research,” said Tom Christensen, provost and executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.
The new Carnegie Classification functions much like a certificate of achievement on a resume, a demonstration that, “we can be trusted to get the job done,” said Jessi Smith, associate vice chancellor for Research and Professor of Psychology.
While it does not directly and immediately affect students, the new classification means new possibilities. Staff are hoping that with this recognition, more funding and recruitment can be done in the future.
“Learning is a living process. When students learn from the best researchers in the field, they are learning the cutting-edge techniques, the newest knowledge on a topic and learning a way of asking questions, even among those who don’t wish to have a research career. Research is what produces the knowledge that gets taught in the classroom,” said Smith.