University of Richmond

Carnegie Foundation Changes University of Richmond Classification

December 2, 2004

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which administers the official classification system for all U.S. colleges and universities, has moved the University of Richmond to the Baccalaureate Liberal Arts category from the Masters Colleges and Universities I category.

The University requested the change to the new category because it includes primarily undergraduate colleges that award at least half of their baccalaureate degrees in the liberal arts. Many of Americas leading small private collegesWilliams, Amherst, Davidson, Wesleyan and Washington and Leeare in the Baccalaureate Liberal Arts category and compete with Richmond for students.

We requested this change because Richmond compares more closely across a variety of measures to nationally ranked liberal arts colleges than to regionally ranked master's universities, said University President William E. Cooper.

Like Washington and Lee University and Wesleyan University, we offer a more complex array of schools and programs than most liberal arts colleges. All of our programs emanate from a strong liberal arts core. In terms of our academic reputation, it is vital to benchmark our progress against the top nationally ranked colleges and universities, and the reclassification will assist that effort. Whether we are recruiting students and faculty or seeking resources from foundations, corporations or individuals, the competition is increasingly national in scope, and we need to set our sights accordingly, even as we build an ever stronger local and regional base of support.

U.S. News & World Reports annual Americas Best Colleges issue uses the Carnegie classification system under slightly different names for its popular ranking. The change means that Richmond will appear in the magazines National Liberal Arts category for the first time next fall. University administrators expect Richmond to be ranked among the top 50 schools in this category which this year included 217 colleges and universities. Richmond has topped the Masters Universities-South category for the past 11 years in the U.S. News rankings.

Regardless of our rank in the new category, we feel that we are among our real peers both in the Carnegie classification and on the U.S. News & World Report list, said June Aprille, University provost.

Students often consult this category when they are considering colleges focused primarily on high-quality undergraduate education, and those students will be a good match for Richmond.

The Universitys Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment was instrumental in negotiating the change with the Carnegie Foundation. Director Steve RiCharde said his office gathered both quantitative data and qualitative information before sending the foundation a detailed, 10-page rationale for the change. In addition to the U.S. News rankings, foundations and government agencies often utilize the Carnegie classifications when making decisions about institutional funding.