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UTSA’s Carnegie R1 classification affirmed, elevating the university and San Antonio

UTSA’s Carnegie R1 classification affirmed, elevating the university and San Antonio

FEBRUARY 3, 2022 — The University of Texas at San Antonio today announced its R1 Classification from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is now official.

Yesterday marked the end of Carnegie’s six-week public review period and final data release, the last step in the formal designation of UTSA as an institution with “very high research activity.”

The Carnegie R1, or “Tier One,” designation is synonymous with both academic and research excellence. The designation places UTSA among the nation’s top public and private research universities, amplifying its statewide and national exposure to attract and recruit world-class faculty and top students.

“Today’s affirmation of our Carnegie R1 classification solidifies one of our most critical waypoints on UTSA’s path to become a great public research university.”

In Texas, other Carnegie R1 institutions now include Baylor University, Rice University, Texas Tech University, University of Houston, University of North Texas, and the campuses of the University of Texas at Austin, Arlington, Dallas and El Paso. In Carnegie’s analysis, UTSA clusters nationally around Case Western Reserve University, Rice University, Tufts University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz.

“Today’s affirmation of our Carnegie R1 classification solidifies one of our most critical waypoints on UTSA’s path to become a great public research university,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “I am forever grateful that the 81st Texas Legislature passed H.B. 51 in 2009—establishing a pathway for UTSA and other emerging research universities here in Texas to pursue Tier One designation. Texas, and especially the City of San Antonio, deserve Tier One educational and research institutions to advance economic mobility and robust economic development driven by a knowledge economy.”

Tier One institutions offer vast advantages to their campus and local communities. Universities with very high research activity “attract and supercharge innovative businesses that help make Texas a global destination,” according to Dan Branch, former chairman of the Texas House Committee on Higher Education, author of H.B. 51, and writer of a January 12 opinion piece in The Dallas Morning News about the power of R1 universities in Texas.

Waypoints to excellence

UTSA’s journey to the Tier One designation, one of the university’s most significant milestones in advancing research excellence, involved increasing annual research expenditures, expanding its pipeline of doctoral students, garnering national recognition for its researchers and growing its number of National Academy faculty members.

Combined with UTSA’s other distinctions, the top-tier designation places UTSA in several exclusive categories. The university is now one of only about 20 universities that is designated as both a Hispanic Serving Institution and Tier One, giving more of our nation’s most talented Latino students and faculty opportunities to conduct research with worldwide impact. In addition, UTSA is one of only six Tier One universities to hold three National Centers of Academic Excellence designations from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency.

UTSA is also working to gain access to the National University Research Fund (NRUF) in Texas, which will provide the university with additional funding from the state for research endeavors. As another significant waypoint on the trajectory to becoming a great public research institution, NRUF eligibility will further solidify UTSA as a university capable of tackling society’s grandest challenges on local, state and national scales.

“UTSA’s designation as Carnegie R1 positions the university to align with the prestigious Association of American Universities while empowering faculty, staff and students to achieve excellence that will help close education gaps within our community,” said UTSA Vice President for Research, Economic Development, and Knowledge Enterprise Bernard Arulanandam. “The classification will enable us to expand our strategic partnerships with federal granting agencies and our capacity to find solutions for our society’s grandest challenges.”

Advancing UTSA as a Hispanic thriving university

UTSA’s location in a city that represents the demographic future of the United States uniquely positions it to make the world a better place through research. As an urban serving university, and as only one of 10 Tier One institutions with the Seal of Excelencia from Excelencia in Education, UTSA prioritizes inclusivity and serving the community by helping more Latino students achieve academic success.

The Carnegie R1 designation opened up an opportunity for UTSA to join the recently formed Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of Latinos in academia—especially those pursuing Ph.D.s—and to collaborating around large federal funding opportunities. As a member of the Alliance, UTSA will help develop a diverse doctoral pipeline into higher education and address societal grand challenges through strategic research and development partnerships.

Tier One advantage

“For Roadrunners, the impact is immediate and direct. Tier One designation improves the degree value, increases choices for our students aiming to pursue graduate study at other now peer university programs, creates stronger professional affiliations for our faculty and elevates our stature in the national research community,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy. “Simultaneously, the designation advances San Antonio’s knowledge pipeline by attracting additional talented faculty, who in turn further our local workforce.” 

Additionally, Tier One status encourages more strategic partnerships between UTSA and local research organizations such as UT Health San AntonioSouthwest Research InstituteTexas Biomedical Research InstituteBrooke Army Medical Center and Joint Base Saint Antonio. These partnerships accelerate the establishment of research centers and institutes within the university—including the National Security Collaboration Center, the School of Data Science and the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute—as well as throughout the city.

The decade ahead

UTSA’s R1 designation further fuels the university’s trajectory to achieve its 10-year vision to become a university of the future. Leading with three overarching destinations to guide the university forward, UTSA is uniquely positioned to serve society due to its deep integration in a region that reflects the demographic future of the country.

The university is on track to educate Roadrunners across four or more thriving campuses, enroll more than 45,000 full-time students, and employ more than 2,000 faculty members and more than 3,250 staff members. With R1 designation achieved and a path forward toward earning access to the National Research University Fund, research expenditures are anticipated to grow larger than $300 million with endowments over $400 million over the next 10 years.

“I am so grateful to our faculty, staff and graduate students for their incredible efforts leading to this recognition. In the next decade, UTSA will become a national model for student success, a great public research university, and an exemplar for strategic growth and innovative excellence,” Eighmy said. “The traction we’re seeing on multiple fronts—in athletics, fundraising, enrollment, academic innovation and research—position us to serve as an exemplar for the future of higher education in the United States.”

Kimberly Maldonado

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.