Friday, November 16, 2018

President Eighmy launches Presidential Initiative on Research Excellence

President Eighmy launches Presidential Initiative on Research Excellence

(Aug. 3, 2018) -- UTSA President Taylor Eighmy today announced a new initiative to catapult UTSA as San Antonio’s world-class public research university. The Presidential Initiative on Research Excellence will increase national and international recognition of UTSA as an institution of research excellence and help it earn status as a research intensive university, as identified by the National Research University Fund (NRUF) and Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

“As many of you have heard me say, the city of Boston has eight universities that hold an R1 Carnegie Classification signifying they engage in the highest levels of research activity,” said Eighmy in an email sent today to UTSA faculty and staff. “San Antonio needs a Carnegie R1 institution, and we would like for UTSA to be its first.”

UTSA is positioned to gain access to the NRUF, monies designated by the Texas State Legislature to help the state’s universities achieve prominence on the national stage. The designation comes with about $8 million annually in state dollars that will help UTSA attract leading scholars to the university and ensure they have the support they need to pursue groundbreaking research.

To help UTSA reach these goals, President Eighmy has appointed a Research Excellence Task Force, led by Bernard Arulanandam, interim vice president for Research, Economic Development and Knowledge Enterprise. Arulanandam and his team have already implemented several strategies over the last year to align UTSA’s resources and intellectual talents with NRUF and Carnegie R1 criteria. This initiative establishes a task force to shepherd UTSA through the final miles as it prepares for upcoming review cycles.

To earn NRUF eligibility, UTSA must meet a slate of targets that encompass research expenditures, faculty awards and Ph.D. graduates, among others.

“Having helped lead the NRUF journey during my time at Texas Tech, I can say with certainty that this goal is well within UTSA’s reach,” Eighmy said.

UTSA will aim to meet all NRUF criteria by 2021. Maintaining the numbers for the mandatory two-year evaluation period will result in full eligibility in the year 2023.

Over the last year, UTSA’s restricted research expenditures grew from $36.4 million in FY 2016 to $40.1 million in FY 2017. There have also been increases in federal partnerships as part of the university’s National Security Collaboration Center initiative and other emerging areas of scholarly expertise.

For the Carnegie Classification, UTSA has its sights set on the 2021 evaluation cycle. Seven of 10 of UTSA’s peer models of excellence are classified as R1 institutions. UTSA will emulate their successful practices. Increasing UTSA’s Ph.D. student population will be key to success, in addition to continuing an upward trajectory of research expenditures. As with the NRUF efforts, UTSA has already made great progress in areas that advance its Carnegie criteria standings.

“Attaining these milestones amounts to much more than additional feathers in our cap,” said Eighmy. “While they will bring new levels of prestige to UTSA and to San Antonio, they will also serve as endorsements of the education we provide to our students. NRUF and Carnegie R1 underpin our commitment to providing transformational experiences inside and outside of the classroom, engagement opportunities with world-renown scholars, and preparation for careers and meaningful work that tackles our society’s grandest challenges.”


Learn more about the UTSA Presidential Initiatives.

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