It’s official. Baylor University has joined the ranks of R1 Doctoral Universities within the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Specifically, Baylor is now designated as a doctoral university with “very high research activity.” Notification of this prestigious designation arrived in December, a moment described as one of “exuberant joy” for the University by Provost Nancy Brickhouse.
What does this designation mean for the School of Education (SOE)?
Dr. Grant Morgan, associate dean for research in the SOE, said it reflects a long-standing commitment and concerted efforts of the SOE faculty and staff to produce transformational research that mutually benefits Baylor’s students and society at large. He noted that the SOE made substantial contributions to Baylor’s efforts to achieve a higher level of research activity. For example, in the past year (since May 2021), SOE faculty have been awarded more than $9.6 million in external grants to support their research and outreach efforts. Current external funders of SOE research include the National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, Templeton Foundation, and several federal government agencies including the Institute of Education Sciences and U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition.
The school’s steep upward trajectory in grant funding has been accompanied by increases in research productivity and doctoral students; in fact, since summer 2021, SOE has awarded more research doctorates than any other school or college at Baylor.
Morgan noted, “The increase in our school’s doctoral graduates reflects the fact that the university is a fertile ground for ideas, learning and collaborating on important work, and the dissemination of that work.” Moreover, increases in faculty research accomplishments attract the best and brightest students, those who are eager to learn from world-class faculty who are creating new knowledge.
R1 universities meet benchmarks across several key indicators, including the amount of funding received and spent on research, the number of research and professional doctorates conferred — to which the SOE is contributing significantly — and number of staff employed to support the research enterprise. The number of SOE research staff has also increased significantly and now includes five post-doctoral research fellows with additional searches underway.
“The research output indicates that faculty and staff are executing and sharing research that is important to our community, for their disciplines, and for the world,” he explained. “It is evidence that significant things are happening here at Baylor. The R1 designation affirms our efforts to have a greater impact and attract the very best faculty and students.”
Morgan said the new R1 status is an external recognition of good work that the University and SOE are already doing. In teacher language, he said, “It’s a gold star — the biggest, shiniest, gold star.”