Baylor Presents Significant R1 Progress Report at Board of Regents Meeting

July 16, 2021
During its regular summer retreat meeting, the Baylor University Board of Regents focused on Baylor’s strategic positioning for the future as the University enters the final year of the initial Illuminate strategic plan. The discussions spotlighted the extraordinary progress that has accelerated the University’s aspirations of joining the nation’s top Research 1 universities as the world’s preeminent Christian research university.

While Baylor is currently classified as an R2 institution with high research activity, the significant strides made over the past four years on Illuminate has the University projected to achieve its R1 goals by 2024. Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education updates its classification of research institutions every three years with its next update at the end of this year.

“This is an incredible opportunity that God has given us to do what very few, if any, universities have achieved: maintaining our foundational Christian mission while reaching R1 status as a top-tier research university,” said President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “Through the dedicated work of our faculty and staff, we have made remarkable progress over the past four years on our Illuminate. strategic plan, which has provided the framework to build on our historic strengths and strategically invest in new areas of research and service. Through top-tier research, scholarship and external funding support, R1 universities bring their voice to bear in addressing our world’s most meaningful challenges. And as a Christian research university, Baylor can infuse the quest for solutions, at the highest levels, with the University’s distinct voice and mission.”

The Board also heard an update from Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D., and Vice Provost for Research Kevin Chambliss, Ph.D., on the significant progress on Illuminate and R1 goals, including:

    Increased research doctorates from 110 in 2016-2017 to 167 in 2020-2021, with a goal of 286 research doctorates awarded by 2022-2023;

    Growth in research expenditures from $29.4 million in 2017 to $47 million in 2021, with external research expenditures currently growing at 28%. The University’s goal is to reach $52 million in research expenditures in FY 2023;

    Increased awarded research dollars from around $11 million in 2017 to more than $27 million so far in 2021; and

    Increased research staff (STEM, social sciences and health) from 47 in fall 2016 to 68 in fall 2020. The University’s goal is to reach 100 research staff by fall 2022.

“Our progress on Illuminate’s research pillar has been extraordinarily positive to date,” Dr. Chambliss said. “However, R1 should not be considered a finish line, but rather an important first step along our path to becoming the preeminent Christian research university.”

In addition, the Provost presented a comparison on the 65 universities that make up the “Power Five” according to athletic conference affiliation. Baylor is one of only 12 private institutions among the Power Five universities and one of only three – along with TCU and Wake Forest – classified as R2 institutions by Carnegie. The rest are considered R1, demonstrating a correlation between academic and athletic excellence and underscoring the impact of Baylor’s R1 aspirations and continued strategic planning across the University, including graduation and retention rates, tuition, endowment and enrollment.

Supplementing the R1 Power Five universities is the University of Notre Dame, which provides an example of R1 achievement while maintaining its mission as a faith-based institution. Notre Dame is ranked No. 19 nationally by U.S. News & World Report, with a similar overall enrollment and tuition cost as Baylor.

The Provost also led a panel discussion with students and their faculty mentors about their decisions to come to Baylor, the importance of the University’s mission and the relationships between students and faculty on campus.
Are you looking for more News?