January 17, 2011 — Vol. 27 No. 3
The Carnegie Foundation announced today its rankings of U.S. colleges and universities and Idaho State University has catapulted to Research University-High status. ISU is only one of 98 institutions in the country in this prestigious group.
This classification is second only to the highest category Research University-Very High, with 108 universities holding this elite designation. Combined, these two research categories represent less than 5 percent of the nation's 4,663 institutions of higher education.
Every six or seven years, the Foundation assesses all institutions of higher education in the United States and publishes its influential Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education. For many years, ISU has been listed as a DRU, or Doctoral Research University. This classification is one level above Master's L (Master's Colleges and Universities), such as Boise State University, and one level below RU-H (Research University-High), such as the University of Idaho.
"The gold standard of university ratings is the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching," said ISU President Arthur C. Vailas. "The designation of Research University-High is a great distinction for ISU and a real testament to our excellent faculty and staff.
"I am very proud of our faculty," Vailas continued, "as they have dedicated themselves to research and teaching and the results of that effort have been recognized by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation designation."
This new distinction has many material consequences for ISU. According to ISU Provost Gary A. Olson, "ISU will enjoy more prestige nationally in the eyes of those in higher education and the state, too, will benefit by being able to boast that it now supports two RU-H institutions."
Because Carnegie is the standard of university performance and a measure of its competitiveness, attaining this distinction is a sign of ISU's growing institutional maturity. The university's new status puts Idaho State University in some very good company. Only about 100 hundred institutions have this designation, including Auburn, Baylor, Boston College, Clemson, Fordham and Kent State universities.
In the West, ISU is in the company of New Mexico State, Utah State, and Northern Arizona universities.
The higher Carnegie designation will also have significant positive ramifications in the area of research as it will make the university more attractive as a partner to industry, and it increases ISU's ability to negotiate a higher indirect cost rate for grants from the federal government.
"Research University-High status will improve our ability to attract increased externally funded research," Pamela Crowell, vice president for research, said. "Funding agencies generally tend to have more confidence in grant proposals submitted by faculty from higher ranked institutions."
Provost Olson added "Our new status not only improves our ability to recruit high-quality faculty, postdocs and graduate students, but it strengthens our justification for increased salary for faculty and staff when funding becomes available. And it also enhances our graduates' attractiveness to prospective employers and prestigious graduate and professional schools."
NOTE: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is a research and policy center dedicated to improving education in the United States. It was founded by Andrew Carnegie and chartered in 1906 by an Act of Congress.