Idaho State University Carnegie research classification changes

POCATELLO – The Carnegie Foundation has announced its new research classifications of colleges and universities. Idaho State University retains its classification as a doctoral research university, but its status has changed.

In 2010, ISU was classified as Research University-High Research Activity. In 2015, this designation changed to Doctoral Research University – Moderate Research Activity. The 2010 classification was based on data collected up to and including fiscal year 2008, and the 2015 classification was based on data collected up to fiscal year 2014.

The primary reason for ISU’s new classification is that in 2010 Carnegie chose to exclude data from ISU’s College of Technology. For the 2015 classification, Carnegie elected to include the data. For the College of Technology and its nearly 80 faculty members, the educational emphasis is primarily on teaching skills for the high-demand programs the college offers. With the College of Technology data included in the most recent classification, the overall ratio of research activity by faculty at ISU was changed. The Carnegie research classification is primarily a composite measure of faculty research productivity.

​ “We are proud of the premier programs we offer in the College of Technology,” said Laura Woodworth-Ney, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, “and feel that these programs should be included within ISU’s portfolio, as they are part of our mission and our identity.”​

Another reason for the adjusted classification in 2015 is that the university added more clinical faculty in the health sciences. Clinical faculty have a strong emphasis on instruction and are expected to engage in scholarship. For the 2015 assessment, ISU had 82 clinical faculty, an increase of 29 since the 2010 assessment. The shift in adding clinical faculty over the years also impacts the overall ratio of research activity by faculty at ISU.

During the most recent time period, ISU has increased its focus on its health and technological missions, which largely accounts for the change in classification, according to ISU officials.

From 2010-15 ISU produced 73 percent more professional practice doctorates in the health sciences, but those doctorate degrees are not included or used to account for faculty research productivity in the Carnegie methodology for determining a research classification.

Funding for research and development at ISU remained flat during the period between classifications, about $20 million annually in fiscal years 2008 and 2014, despite the economic recession, removal of federal earmarks and federal budget sequestration during this time period.

In fiscal year 2015, not counted in this classification period, research and development funding at ISU has increased to about $28 million.

Recently, the Carnegie Foundation changed its category labels for doctoral research universities. In 2010, its categories were Research Universities Very High Activity, Research Universities High Research Activity and Doctoral/Research Universities. Those categories have been changed to R1: Doctoral University – Highest Research Activity, R2: Doctoral University – Higher Research Activity; and R3: Doctoral University – Moderate Research Activity.

Within the state, the University of Idaho has an R2 classification while Boise State University and ISU are classified at the R3 level.

“It is important to note that ISU remained true to its mission to grow technical and clinical programs – including high demand clinical and professional doctorates – while at the same time increasing its research productivity and emerging from a severe recession, loss of federal earmarks and federal budget sequestration” said Dr. Neels Van der Schyf, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School. “All credit is due to our excellent researchers who have succeeded in competing nationally for research funding and have, in the last year, reached a level of research productivity and funding last seen during the pre-recession earmark times.”

“Come the next round of the Carnegie rankings, ISU will be back at the Higher Research Activity level, even with Carnegie’s new methodology and our continued expansion of clinical and technical programs,” Van der Schyf said.

Nationally, out of 3,039 private and public four-year institutions eligible for research classification by Carnegie, only 335, or a little more than 11 percent, are classified as doctoral research universities. There are 115 R1, 107 R2 and 113 R3 doctoral research universities nationally.

For more information on Carnegie research classifications, visit