The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is now ranked at the highest level of research institutions in the United States, according to a news release from the university. According to the latest update from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, UL Lafayette achieved Carnegie’s elite R1 designation, placing the school among the highest tier of public and private research institutions, something that only 3% of the United States’s colleges and universities have achieved.
Achieving the status of being a recognized R-1 institution indicates that a higher learning institution has met high standards in research spending, staff levels, and the number of doctorates awarded annually. Being classified as a Research-1 or R-1 institution not only elevated UL Lafayette and its profile, allowing the school to draw more prestigious and learned faculty, but it also is likely to attract more research dollars and private support.
Having an R1 status is synonymous with achieving remarkable levels of academic excellence, substantial research, transformative innovation, and lasting global impact. Other R-1 institutions in the country are Duke, Emory, Carnegie-Mellon, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard, and Rice. In addition to UL Lafayette, Louisiana’s only other R-1 institutions are Louisiana State University and Tulane University.
UL Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie said of the milestone, “the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is excited to have achieved R-1 status and to take our place among the top tier of the nation’s research universities. The designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning is a recognition of the strength of our research program. It is a tribute to the faculty, staff and student researchers whose work has pushed the bounds of scholarship and innovation and drawn significant national and international attention to the University and to the region it is proud to serve.”
Carnegie classifications for Doctoral Universities are given to institutions that award at least 20 research/scholarship doctoral degrees during a year and institutions with fewer than 20 research/scholarship doctoral degrees awarded at least 30 professional practice doctoral degrees in at least 2 programs. Both of these categories of institutions must also have had at least $5 million in total research expenditures according to the National Science Foundation Higher Research & Development Survey. The three levels of Carnegie’s designations for such higher learning institutions are:
- R1: Doctoral Universities- Very high research activity
- R2: Doctoral Universities- High research activity
- D/PU: Doctoral/Professional Universities.
At the tail end of 2021, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that UL Lafayette was among nine other universities that were promoted to Carnegie’s highest classification of “Doctoral/Very High Research” institutions. The other universities elevated were:
- Baylor University
- Kent State University
- North Dakota State University
- Old Dominion University
- University of Denver
- University of Memphis
- University of Texas at San Antonio
- Utah State University
University of Louisiana System President and CEO Jim Henderson said, “this tremendous accomplishment is the realization of a purposeful research vision centered on improving life in Louisiana and around the globe. I want to congratulate President Savoie, Vice President (Ramesh) Kolluru, and the faculty of UL Lafayette for achieving this designation, an achievement of nearly unrivaled importance for our state and her people.”
Since 1970, the Carnegie Classification has stood as the leading framework for “describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past four and a half decades,” as per the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. For four and a half decades, this classification has served as a benchmark of excellence when it comes to institutions of higher learning, and for UL Lafayette to not only join the R1 Doctoral University ranks of LSU and Tulane but also ivy league schools, it’s a momentous achievement that only makes the post-secondary educational experience in Louisiana that much stronger.
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