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UH achieves Tier 1 status in research

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In what promises to be a transformative moment in the history of the University of Houston, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching announced Tuesday that UH has been categorized as a research university with “very high research activity,” the highest classification given to research universities and the equivalent of Tier One status.

“I am so happy and so proud,” UH President Renu Khator said. “Our students – who today begin a new semester with this incredible news – can say with pride they are getting a Tier One education. They will finally be able to take their diplomas and say ‘I have graduated from a Carnegie Tier One university.’”

Khator said her administration has been firmly committed to this Tier One goal.

The Carnegie Foundation is a nationally recognized policy and research center that systematically evaluates and classifies colleges and universities based on empirical data. Universities are reclassified approximately every five years. UH, which previously was in the “high research activity” category, now becomes the third public university in Texas in the top-tier group, joining The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.

UH faculty reported receiving more than $100 million in research grants last year, more than any of the state’s other emerging research universities. UH’s goal is $200 million by 2021.

Within the academic community, the Carnegie classification is commonly regarded to be one of three indicators that reflect an institution’s rank as a Tier One institution.  The other two are its rank in the Center for Measuring University Performance’s Top American Research University (TARU) reports and membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU).  Recognition by any of these three is generally taken as an indication of Tier One status.

The Carnegie Foundation classifies more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States.  Fewer than 300 are classified as research universities. In its newly published classifications, it cites 109 universities for Top Tier designation – very high research activity.

Khator, who this week begins her fourth year in office, had predicted a five-to-seven year journey toward Tier One status.

Khator said the Carnegie designation will bring greater visibility to Houston and will lead to more economic development for the region and sustained research productivity from UH. Tier One recognition for research success, however, is not an end in itself.  UH remains committed to broadening its overall excellence and, in particular, strengthening its performance and reputation for student success.

“Yes, we have obtained the designation of Tier One research, but I want to see our university be nationally competitive in the support and services it provides to students, and in the kinds of students it attracts, and the kind of student success it celebrates,” she said.  “We are not resting until our student success rate reaches the level of national excellence we aspire to achieve.  We have unfinished business.”

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