Carnegie revises classifications for universities

Rachel Abbey

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recently revised its classification system for U. S. colleges and universities.

“We felt that the old way of classifying institutions didn’t adequately represent the diversity of American higher education,” said Gay Clyburn, director of communications and information for the foundation.

The classifications were originally created in 1970 as a way to differentiate higher-education institutions for research purposes, according to a press release from the foundation. It is the leading classification of its kind.

The new system is more detailed, Provost Paul Gaston said. It has more factors that can be compared between universities, such as enrollment levels and descriptions of the undergraduate student body.

The old classifications were very broad, Gaston said, putting Kent State in the same category as Stanford. The new categories are more precise.

“As you dig down into the comparisons, you get a purer view of who our neighbors are,” he said.

Most comparisons between universities are based on the basic classification, Clyburn said, which addresses the amount of research activity a university partakes in. Kent State has a high level of research activity.

The foundation used to determine the amount of research a university does for doctorate-granting universities, such as Kent State, by counting its federal funding, Clyburn said. This year, the classifications took outside funding into account as well.

According to the foundation’s Web site, the Kent campus is classified as a four-year, public university with high research activity. It has both professional and arts and sciences undergraduate programs and a comprehensive doctoral program. It has a mostly residential undergraduate population, with a low transfer-in rate.

The only university that matches Kent State in all the possible categories is the University of Idaho.

“If anything, they clarified the distinctive nature of Kent State, and I think that is an advantage,” Gaston said.

These classifications are based on single years, Clyburn said. Before, the foundation used average statistics spanning a few years. This method is more accurate because it uses the most recent data.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected]