Frequently Asked Questions

I. What is R1/Tier 1?

1. What is R1?
2. How does Baylor define Tier 1?
3. Who determines whether a university has reached those goals?
4. Is there a timeframe to get there?

II. Why Baylor?

1. Why is Baylor choosing this course for the future?
2. How does a research focus fit with Baylor University's mission?
3. What role do faculty play in achieving this?
4. How has Baylor already built towards research preeminence?

III. How do we get there?

1. What are the benchmarks to becoming R1/Tier 1?
2. How does a research focus fit with Baylor's historic strengths in classroom teaching?
3. How does Give Light propel Baylor towards R1/Tier 1 status?




I. What is R1/Tier 1?

1. What is R1?
R1 universities are those that meet benchmarks in research activity and expenditures as measured by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The classification measures universities across ten indicators (listed under How do we get there?), driven by research expenditures, research doctorates awarded and number of research staff in Science and Engineering fields, to determine which universities are eligible for R1 status.

2. How does Baylor define Tier 1?
A Tier 1 university operates at the highest levels in not only teaching and research, but throughout the university in services to students, the arts, athletics and more. As Baylor strives to reach R1 status, our commitment to excellence university-wide grows even stronger. That commitment is evident in classroom teaching, in providing impactful services to students that support them academically, spiritually, personally and in their future careers, and in achieving at the highest levels of human performance in the arts and athletics as we prepare students for worldwide leadership and service.

3. Who determines whether a university has reached those goals?
The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education maintains and releases reports on universities meeting R1 benchmarks.

4. Is there a timeframe to get there?
Attainment of R1 recognition will not occur overnight, but with strategic investments and a clear, determined direction over the next one to five years, Baylor will be well on the way to the categories of research and collaboration that will get us there. We cannot delay in this important pursuit.

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II. Why Baylor?

1. Why is Baylor choosing this course for the future?
Baylor University's vision affirms that the world needs a preeminent research university that is unambiguously Christian. With a historic Baptist foundation and a demonstrated commitment to faith and learning at the highest levels, no university is better positioned to achieve this goal. Through top-tier research and scholarship, R1 universities bring their voice to bear in addressing our world’s most meaningful challenges. As Baylor achieves preeminence as a Christian research university, it enables researchers from throughout the University to infuse the quest for solutions, at the highest levels, with Baylor's distinct voice and Christian mission.

2. How does a research focus fit with Baylor University's mission?
The mission of Baylor University is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community. As the challenges facing our world become more complex, the need for solutions borne from the highest levels of scholarship, collaboration and ethics, grow ever more vital. At Baylor University, faith is the very motivation for discovering the richness of God's creation. Additionally, today's top students recognize the importance of deep engagement with their course of study, and ask admissions teams at Baylor and other top universities about research opportunities. Research informs curriculum and advances today's higher education experiences beyond lectures and towards holistic engagement that encourages deep-thinking and problem solving. That mission to build worldwide leaders, prepared to make a meaningful difference in addressing challenges, is enhanced and accelerated through the pursuit of transformative research and scholarship.

3. What role do faculty play in achieving this?
Faculty play a vital role in growing Baylor's research enterprise. Top-tier faculty who conduct groundbreaking research, compelled by the conviction that all truth is God's truth, truly embody the ideal of what a Christian research university can be. Through grants, partnerships and collaboration both on and off-campus, they advance human knowledge, contribute to their disciplines, create solutions to societal problems and advance Baylor towards R1 status. In the classroom, their research enhances teaching through engaging insights that bring texts, theories and ideas to life in ways that encourage problem-solving approaches, broaden students' understanding and ignite new interests in a subject. Baylor's Office of the Vice Provost for Research works alongside faculty to assist them in elevating Baylor research to even more meaningful levels.

4. How has Baylor already built towards research preeminence?
Baylor professors have long engaged in meaningful research, but concerted institutional efforts have accelerated throughout the last decade. Pro Futuris, the university vision adopted in 2012, calls Baylor to be a place where research discoveries illuminate solutions to significant challenges confronting our world and where creative endeavors reflect the breadth of God's creation, a university where our Christian faith, in conjunction with our expertise and resources, inspires a desire to address systemic problems facing our community, both local and global, and renews our dedication to improvement of self and service to others. That call inspired increased focus on, investment in, and support for research endeavors across campus. Such meaningful steps further positioned Baylor to take this next step, strategically and deliberately pursuing R1 status.

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III. How do we get there?

1. What are the benchmarks to becoming R1/Tier 1?
The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning examines 10 research activity indicators to determine R1 institutions:

  • annual expenditures in science and engineering;
  • per-capita (faculty member) expenditures in science and engineering (S&E);
  • annual expenditures in non-S&E fields;
  • per-capita (faculty member) expenditures in non-S&E fields;
  • doctorates awarded in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields;
  • doctorates awarded in social science fields;
  • doctorates awarded in the humanities;
  • doctorates awarded in other fields with a research emphasis;
  • total number of research staff including postdoctoral researchers;
  • and other doctorate-holding non-faculty researchers in S&E and per-capita (faculty) number of PhD-level research staff including postdocs.

2. How does a research focus fit with Baylor's historic strengths in classroom teaching?
High-level research enhances the classroom experience by providing students with cutting-edge, real-world examples that advance knowledge in the very disciplines they study. As students are equipped by Baylor faculty with foundational understanding in their chosen field, research opportunities provide meaningful applications to invigorate and advance that knowledge. Research engages students holistically, transporting them beyond passive listening and actively compelling them go deeper as it supplies undergraduate students with graduate-level experiences and discoveries.

3. How does Give Light propel Baylor towards R1/Tier 1 status?
Give Light, a $1.1 billion comprehensive philanthropic campaign for the future of Baylor, will raise funds that directly support the goals of Illuminate in perpetuity. Endowed funds provide critical resources needed to elevate and sustain advanced research objectives. The Baylor Academic Challenge is a dollar-for-dollar matching fund formed to create new endowed chair positions, prestigious and impactful opportunities to attract top-notch faculty and grow programs across the University. Additional Give Light funds will support advances in Illuminate's five signature academic initiatives.

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