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New Carnegie classifications announced

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, an independent policy and research center focused on teaching and higher education, has revised the classification system it uses for colleges and universities. First published in 1973 and updated four times since then, the classification system has been used in the study of higher education and as a means to define institutional differences across the spectrum.

The 2005 classifications reflect a thorough reassessment by the Carnegie Foundation, which replaced its single classfication with five: Instructional Program undergraduate; Instructional Program graduate; Enrollment Profile; Undergraduate Profile; and Size and Setting.

Binghamton University, formerly classified as a Doctoral/Research University Extensive based on the number of doctoral degrees awarded annually and the number of disciplines offered, is now classified as an arts and sciences plus professions, high graduate coexistence, comprehensive doctoral institution with no medical or veterinary school. Its enrollment profile is high undergraduate; its undergraduate profile is full time, four-year, more selective, higher transfer-in; and its size and setting is large four-year, highly residential.

According to the Carnegie Foundation, “The new classifications offer a set of diferent lenses through which to view U.S. colleges and universities, offering researchers greater flexibility in meeting their analytic needs.”

Mary Ann Swain, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the new system shakes up the conversations that we have, but will not adversely affect Binghamton. “It will drop out all of the people with medical schools, but its not going to change our peer list,” she said.

“The issue from the Carnegie Founda-tions point was they wanted to honor more of the breadth of higher education,” she said. “When it was a one-dimensional classification it was like a ranking system, and now that its a multidimensional classification system, it doesnt have a ranking flavor to it. Its trying to enable institutions to ask questions about themselves in relation to others very similar to them.”

Swain said the new system is a positive one because it will enable conversations and comparisons that are more apples to apples. “Its something to be able to cluster institutions that are similar in some dimensions,” she said. “Now we simply have more clusters than before.

“Were very appropriately categorized and we will stay in very good company,” she added. “It verifies what we say about ourselves.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08