Temple University — known for the past six years as a Research I university — has been reclassified as a doctoral/research university – extensive institution, according to a preliminary report released by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
The revision is due to a change in the overall system of classification. Both categories are roughly equivalent to each other, which means Temple’s demographics have not changed substantially since 1994 when the last report was released. These classifications are not designed to rank the quality of the school; rather, they are used by education researchers to compare similarly structured schools.
Under the old system, the amount of federal funds received by a school were a key determinant of its category designation. Since more federal funds are given to hard science and social science research than to humanities or arts research, critics argued that schools with larger humanities and arts programs were misclassified. These classifications have an impact on a school’s research.
On most of Temple’s proposals, it indicates the Research I or, now, extensive status, and it carries some weight. (shelly-huh?)
“There’s a certain halo effect,” Vice Provost for Research William Tash said.
Temple was awarded 47% of the grants it applied for, which is in the top quartile of proposal yields. Those grants were worth a total of $97 million last year.
Tash is certain that the focus on research will grow in the next few years. He believes Temple president Dr. David Adamany has a strong commitment to research. Under Adamany, Wayne State University went from being a Research II to a Research I institution.
The classifications also impact some students’ decisions concerning the school they choose to attend.
“It’s more important for graduate students than for undergraduate students. In terms of honors [undergraduate] students, it becomes more relevant,” Tash said.
The new system is designed to focus on a school’s breadth. A doctoral/research university extensive school must award fifty doctorates a year in at least fifteen different fields. These schools generally have more of a focus on research than other schools.
There are seven other classifications. Baccalaureate Liberal Arts institutions, such as Swarthmore and Haverford Colleges, award a minimum of half of their undergraduate degrees in liberal arts fields.
Schools such as Montgomery County Community College are listed as Associate’s Colleges since they grant associate degrees and certificate programs but they rarely award baccalaureate degrees.
Specialty schools, which include medical schools, are grouped according to their field. The Carnegie Foundation classifies schools based on data over an extended period of time. Furthermore, universities are classified twice in order to ensure accuracy.
During the first classification, the foundation averages the degrees awarded by the school over a three-year period.
The second categorization is based on the previous year’s records. When a conflict arises the foundation contacts a school for more information and advice.
The classifications first appeared in 1971 as an appendix to a Carnegie Foundation report. It was published by itself in 1973 and revised in 1976, 1984 and 1994. Until now, the revisions only focused on changes in institutions’ demographics, names or overarching structures.
The Carnegie Foundation intends to revise the standards in five years. At the moment, they are considering a plan that would allow schools to be placed in more than one category.
The foundation is also looking into technology that would allow the classifications to be revised on an annual basis. The revised classification would aid in studying how institutions and groups of institutions change.
“Certainly we’ll maintain the research-extensive status,” Tash said.
A full listing is available at www.carnegiefoundation.org/classification