University rises in Carnegie Foundation research classification


The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has raised SMU’s classification among institutions of higher education, reflecting dramatic growth in the University’s research activity since it was last measured in 2005.

SMU is now categorized as a research university with “high research activity,” a significant step up from its last assessment in 2005 as a doctoral/research university. The Carnegie Foundation assigns doctorate-granting institutions to categories based on a measure of research activity occurring at a particular period in time, basing these latest classifications on data from 2008-2009.

“SMU”s rise in the Carnegie classification system is further evidence of the growing quality and research productivity of our faculty. We are building a community of scholars asking and answering important research questions and making an impact on societal issues with their findings,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “In addition to our dedication to outstanding teaching, SMU is becoming increasingly recognized as a vital resource for research in a variety of fields.”

The designation as a “high research activity” university “is an important step in SMU’s evolution as a strong national university,” said Paul Ludden, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The faculty, staff, and students at SMU can be proud of this, particularly when paired with our rise in national rankings.

“The Carnegie Classification recognizes the tremendous efforts by the entire faculty at SMU to expand our research portfolio and address the many questions facing North Texas and the world. Recognition should go to Associate Vice President for Research James Quick and his office for their efforts to support the research activities of our faculty and staff.”

The foundation analyzed SMU’s research activity in a category of universities that awarded at least 20 research doctorates in 2008-09, excluding professional degrees such as those leading to the practice of medicine and law. The analysis examined research and development expenditures in science and engineering as well as in non-science and non-engineering fields; science and engineering research staff (postdoctoral appointees and other non-faculty research staff with doctorates); doctoral conferrals in the humanities, in the social sciences, in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, and in other areas such as, business, education, public policy and social work.

The Carnegie Foundation classification of U.S. accredited colleges and universities uses nationally available data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education, the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the National Science Foundation, and the College Board.

“SMU’s rise in academic rankings and research productivity is a strong return on the investment of our alumni and other donors who provide support for research, endowed chairs, and graduate programs and fellowships,” said SMU Board of Trustees Chair Caren Prothro. “SMU students at all levels are the beneficiaries of this distinction as their faculty enliven the classroom with their research and engage students in the tradition of academic inquiry.”

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SMU jumps to highest ranking ever in US News’ ‘Best Colleges’

Dallas Hall with US News ranking iconSMU advanced to its highest ranking ever among national universities in the 2011 edition of Best Colleges published Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010, by U.S. News Media Group.

SMU ranked 56th among 191 institutions included in the top tier of national universities. SMU’s ranking represents an increase from 68th in 2010, up from 73rd in 2004.

The only universities in Texas ranked ahead of SMU in the 2011 guide are Rice, ranked 17th, and the University of Texas-Austin, ranked 45th.

“Although ranking universities is a controversial venture at best, the recognition given our outstanding students and faculty, small classes, strong graduation rates and committed alumni is gratifying,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The timing is particularly relevant as we prepare to celebrate the University’s centennial, beginning next year, and as we remain committed to achievement at the highest levels.”

Rankings of more than 1,400 institutions, including national universities and liberal arts colleges, are available beginning Aug. 17 at, and will be published in the U.S. News & World Report issue available on newsstands starting August 31.

The U.S. News rankings group schools based on the categories established by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Over the past two decades, these rankings have served as research tools for students and parents considering higher education opportunities.

The 2011 Best Colleges package provides an examination of how accredited four-year colleges and universities compare on a set of up to 16 indicators of excellence. Among the factors weighed in determining the rankings, the key measures of quality are: peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, graduation rate performance and high school counselor ratings of colleges.