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University of Alabama rated as elite research institution

The Carnegie Foundation listed the University of Alabama among the top doctoral research universities in the nation in its new classifications released this week, joining Auburn University.

For the first time in its storied history, the school achieved “Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity” status, formerly known as the R1 category, in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education — the nation’s highest level of research activity for institutions that grant doctoral degrees.

“Achieving Carnegie’s very high research activity classification demonstrates The University of Alabama’s increased emphasis on research and scholarship productivity and innovation that impacts economic and societal development,” UA President Stuart R. Bell said in a press release. “Our transformational faculty and staff are investing their talents, ingenuity and sheer determination to ensure our efforts enrich our three-pronged mission of teaching, research and service.”

Research funding, research staff and the number of doctoral graduates are among the criteria used in determining Carnegie classifications.

External grants and contracts for research, instruction, service and fellowship reached record levels for the University in fiscal year 2018. Research awards have grown by an incredible 85 percent over the last five years.

“This achievement is a long-time goal of The University of Alabama and its strategic plan,” Dr. John Higginbotham, UA interim vice president for research and economic development and associate vice president for research, advised.

He continued, “This is another indication The University of Alabama’s research initiatives are headed in the right direction and that our forward-thinking approach is successfully covering new ground as we find innovative ways of serving our state and nation.”

The University of Alabama also holds the Carnegie designation as a Community Engaged Institution.

“All of the metrics for research productivity, scholarship and creativity at The University of Alabama are rapidly accelerating in concert with its mission as the state’s flagship university,” Dr. Russell Mumper, UA’s incoming vice president for research and economic development, explained. “UA is both promoting student-centered research and becoming the go-to university partner for public agencies and private entities that seek solutions to complex problems that can be addressed in collaboration with UA.”

Research pervades all of the University of Alabama’s 13 schools and colleges. The flagship university is a strong advocate of promoting collaboration and interdisciplinary research initiatives that involve faculty, students, industry and community from across campus, the state of Alabama, the nation and the world.

The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education developed the Carnegie Classification of colleges and universities in 1970 to support its program of research and policy analysis. Produced by an Indiana University research center, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is said to be the most comprehensive review of educational institutions in the United States.

This classification was originally published in 1973 and subsequently updated in 1976, 1987, 1994, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015 and now 2018 to reflect changes among colleges and universities.

The elective classification on community engagement is under the stewardship of the Swearer Center at Brown University.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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