Carnegie Upgrades SHSU To 'Doctoral Research University'

Sam Houston State University has been named a “Doctoral Research University” by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, a classification that distinguishes the university by placing it in the top 7 percent of all institutions of higher education in the country.

The academic designation was given in December after the commission misclassified SHSU when it changed its system in 2005, according to provost and vice president for Academic Affairs David Payne.

“In that process, we were misclassified as what’s called a ‘Large Master’s Institution,' which is a master’s institution that can offer doctorates but has less than 20 graduates a year,” Payne said. “Our programs have many more than 20 graduates a year at the doctoral level.

“We are being recognized for the quality that we’ve held for several years,” he said. “It’s just a recognition of the reality that’s been in place for probably four or five years.”

The “Doctoral Research University” is the third highest doctoral classification category, following universities with “high research” and “very high research” activities. Including both private and public colleges in the United States, 96 institutions are classified as “very high research” doctoral universities, 103 are classified as “high research” doctoral universities and 84 are classified as doctoral research universities.

“To put that into perspective, there are 4,391 institutions of higher education in the United States,” Payne said. “We’re ranked with the top 7 percent of all institutions of higher education in the classification system.”

Sam Houston State joins the ranks of 11 other of Texas’ 36 public universities to be classified as a “Doctoral Research University” or higher, eight of which are in the two higher classifications and four of which are in the same classification.

SHSU is also the only university within The Texas State University System to have attained the “Doctoral Research” classification. Lamar University, Texas State University at San Marcos and Sul Ross State University, as well as Stephen F. Austin State—which is not a member of the TSUS—are classified as “Large Master’s” institutions.

"Sam Houston State University joins a select group of universities with the Carnegie Foundation 'Doctoral Research' designation," said university president Jim Gaertner. "I am particularly proud that we have achieved this distinction while maintaining, and I believe often enhancing, our culture of special care for the individual student.

"I also believe that we are poised to build on this achievement in the future with a great faculty, superior students and excellent facilities," he said.

The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education classifies all institutions of higher education in the United States into a series of categories, ranging from doctoral-granting universities to associate’s colleges.

Rankings are based on the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, the nationally standardized system for gathering most of the data about higher education, according to Payne.


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SHSU Media Contacts: Jennifer Gauntt
Jan. 13, 2009
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