IU research center to house Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has transferred responsibility for the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to Indiana University Bloomington’s Center for Postsecondary Research. The Classification will continue to retain the Carnegie name after the Center for Postsecondary Research takes over responsibility on Jan. 1.

As a part of the move, the Lumina Foundation is awarding $500,000 to the Center for Postsecondary Research to update and enhance the Carnegie Classification to reflect and accommodate an evolving higher education landscape. The award is part of Lumina’s Degree Qualifications Profile Initiative, unveiled today during the event “The Degree Qualifications Profile and Tuning: Call for Action, Conversation About Next Steps” in Indianapolis.

Starting in 1970, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education developed the Carnegie Classification of colleges and universities to support its program of research and policy analysis. It is widely considered the leading framework for recognizing and describing the diverse types of institutions in U.S. higher education over the past four decades.

Carnegie has a long tradition of creating institutions, processes and products and, when they are of benefit to teaching and learning, providing them to the education community for future stewardship and use. It is in this tradition that Carnegie came to the decision that it was time to hand over the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to the education community.

“We selected the Center for Postsecondary Research because its mission aligns with Carnegie’s efforts to promote student success through institutional effectiveness,” said Carnegie President Anthony S. Bryk. “Both organizations are in agreement that gathering and using data is essential for sound decision-making and institutional improvement. Both organizations are involved in work related to student access, assessment, learning and persistence.”

Bryk said the Center for Postsecondary Research is especially well-suited to take over the administration of the Carnegie Classification system because the organization has faculty and research staff with expertise working with national higher education data, and several staff members have strong qualifications to contribute to and even advance the work. Carnegie will have a representative on the Center for Postsecondary Research’s Classification advisory board and provide full support during the transfer of the Classification.

The Center for Postsecondary Research is a research center of the Indiana University School of Education. It promotes student success and institutional effectiveness through research and service to postsecondary institutions and related agencies. Center personnel assist institutions and agencies in gathering and using data for decision-making and institutional improvement.

In addition to its work with initiatives related to student access, assessment, learning and persistence, the center focuses on the policies and practices that promote student success, educational effectiveness and institutional development. The center has long been involved in global higher education research initiatives. It houses the National Survey of Student Engagement and has recently been involved in an ongoing partnership with the National Student Clearinghouse.

“At IU, we’ll immediately begin to work on transferring the website for the Carnegie Classification to our staff who will begin updating it throughout next year,” said Vic Borden, professor of higher education and student affairs at the IU School of Education and the director of the project for the Center for Postsecondary Research. “We will also begin collaborating with colleagues in academia and education policy to explore ways the Classification can best reflect a 21st-century postsecondary universe. In this time of expanding opportunities and ways in which to earn a degree, this is a very important step to ensure that our understanding of institutions and the students they serve aligns well with federal, state and local policies.”

To that end, Borden said that while the initial review of the Carnegie Classification will focus on U.S. degree-granting postsecondary institutions, consideration of non-degree credentials will be part of the revision. He also said the project will reach out to international higher education systems to discern how each is handling similar issues and understand how the U.S. can better align with other parts of the world, particularly the European Union, East Asia, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Carnegie Classification has undergone an update every five years since 2000, and a preliminary update will be complete late next year. The project calls for a substantial revision and update of the Classification by the end of 2018.

NOTE: The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, which is a voluntary classification in that institutions apply to be included, will continue to be administered by the New England Resource Center for Higher Education, where it is housed. The transfer of the Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education will not affect the announcement of institutions selected for the Community Engagement Classification in 2015.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to developing networks of ideas, individuals and institutions to advance teaching and learning. It joins together scholars, practitioners and designers in new ways to solve problems of educational practice. Toward this end, the foundation works to integrate the discipline of improvement science into education with the goal of building the field’s capacity to improve.