Creighton Conversations: What does Creighton's New Carnegie Classification Mean?

What does Creighton’s New Carnegie Classification Mean?

Creighton was elevated earlier this year in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education from the Master’s Colleges and Universities category to the newly created Doctoral/Professional Universities category.

The Carnegie classifications are the leading U.S. framework for recognizing institutional distinction in higher education and are used by U.S. News & World Report in its annual rankings.

For Creighton — ranked the No. 1 master’s college/university in the Midwest by U.S. News for 16 consecutive years — the new classification offers an opportunity for national distinction.

Tom Murray, PhD, Creighton provost, shares his thoughts here on what this change means for Creighton. Murray holds a PhD in pharmacology from the University of Washington School of Medicine, and first came to Creighton in 2006 as professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine. He was named associate vice president for health sciences research in 2010 and provost in 2017.

What factors do you think led to Creighton being reclassified in this new category?

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education recently altered its metrics for categorizing U.S. colleges and universities. The classification now includes “doctor’s degree — professional practice” in the methodology. This change creates a new category of doctoral universities that offer at least 30 professional practice doctorates, such as MD, DNP, JD, DDS, PharmD, OTD and DPT, across a minimum of two programs. Given Creighton’s professional practice doctorate programs in nursing, medicine, dentistry, law, pharmacy, occupational therapy and physical therapy, we far exceed the 30-degree threshold.

What effect do you think it will have on the University’s reputation?

As a result of the change in Carnegie classification metrics, Creighton has moved from the Master’s Colleges and Universities category to the Doctoral/Professional Universities category and from being a Midwest-ranked institution to being included in the more prestigious national listing. This change is meaningful because it highlights Creighton’s continuing commitment to strengthen our scholarly productivity and institutional focus on research and scholarship, which is also noted in our strategic plan. We are now included among peers in the highly regarded national category, which is clearly a new source of pride for the entire Creighton community.

How will it affect recruiting students and faculty?

This new classification signals what we at Creighton have always known: We are a top-flight research institution that, at its heart, continues to be driven by a teacher-scholar educational model. The new Carnegie classification will enhance our ability to grow the scope of our doctoral and professional programs and the research being undertaken across Creighton’s nine schools and colleges. This in turn will continue to make Creighton attractive for recruitment of the highest caliber faculty and students.

Our faculty provide outstanding mentorship for undergraduate student research, largely through the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship. It is therefore no surprise that this year two Creighton students received Fulbright Teaching Assistant Awards and three received Goldwater Scholarships. Over the last decade, Creighton has produced more Goldwater Scholars than any other Catholic university and ranks among the top 25 private universities producing such scholars — joining the ranks with Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and MIT.

How do you think Creighton’s research affected the new status?

Creighton’s funding from federal and major national organizations continues to climb. The research being undertaken by both faculty and students has a bearing on life around the globe in the arts, humanities, sciences, law and medicine. With over $21 million in external research funding in 2018, our future expansion of PhD programs should allow Creighton to advance to the Carnegie classification of a Doctoral/Professional University with “high research activity.”