Progress toward UNT's Tier One mission

Dear Faculty and Academic Staff, 

I am pleased to share with you that this past week, UNT was reaffirmed as an R1 university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education™. Not only have we been reaffirmed, but we also have made positive progress, meeting our goal of moving from the fourth quartile to the third quartile of R1 and solidifying our standing as an R1 university. This progress is only possible because of the successful implementation of our R1 Our Way plans

The Carnegie Classification examines the research intensity of universities. In the three-year measurement cycle, we moved from the fourth quartile at #118 to the third quartile at #86, out of 141 R1 institutions nationwide. This is a truly substantial jump, and we should be extremely proud. Based on our own estimates, no university that was ranked the same or better than us in the 2018 cycle moved up as much as we did. The five closest public research universities ranked below UNT are Oklahoma State, Auburn, UNLV, UT Dallas and Oregon State. The five closest public research universities ranked above UNT are Temple, Wayne State, UC Riverside, Clemson and UMass Amherst. We are indeed in good company with other fine research universities. 

This movement would not have been possible without our campus community’s support in our research mission. R1 Our Way is about being proud of and building on our historic strengths. As a result of our efforts, UNT is now ranked in the top 25 nationally in two categories:

  • #24 in other research doctorates (including business, education, learning technology and psychology). Our historic founding as a teachers college and commitment to staying true to that history have allowed us to produce as many professional research doctorates as some of the nation’s best universities including Penn State, Indiana University, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Missouri and the Teachers College at Columbia. 
  • #25 in humanities and arts doctorates. UNT is producing as many humanities and arts doctorates as Princeton, University of Kansas, Michigan State, University of Chicago and the University of Southern California — some of the finest arts and humanities schools in the country.

Our future lies in building more comprehensive strength and investing not just in our historic strengths, but also in emerging areas of excellence. 

  • Our enrollment strategy has enabled us to add more than 50 tenure-system faculty and expand our non-tenure faculty, without whom we would not be able to pursue our research mission. With the hiring freeze lifted, we will soon feel the full impact of our faculty growth with more than 50+ additional tenure-system faculty positions in the next cycle.
  • The addition of doctorate programs in mechanical and electrical engineering allowed us to grow the number of STEM doctorates this cycle. Our 2017 investment in 100 new doctoral lines is bearing fruit, with the College of Music celebrating the graduation of their first increased cohort this past year. The full impact of this investment will be felt next cycle, and we will continue to see the fruits of our efforts to build new doctoral programs with our new Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, which will be followed by a number of doctoral programs across the university.
  • Our investment in expanding undergraduate research is leading more of our undergraduate students to pursue graduate education.
  • UNT’s research expenditures grew an impressive 92% this cycle. Research awards are expanding across many disciplines, and based on proposal submissions, we can expect substantive growth in both STEM and non-STEM research expenditures for the coming cycle.
  • Our investment in expanding the research capacity of University Libraries is enabling our researchers’ access to the research materials they need. 
  • The State’s investment in the Center for Agile and Adaptive Additive Manufacturing and the university’s investment in core research facilities are enabling additional research growth.
  • The addition of the CVAD building facilitates the creative work of our artists, while the new Biomedical Engineering addition and the forthcoming $113M Science and Technology Research Building are providing much-needed research space.
  • Our investment in incrementally increasing faculty salaries is allowing us to attract and retain the best faculty nationally, and we know that we must continue forward in these efforts. 

Our team has updated our R1 Our Way website with the details of the changes across each of the Carnegie variables. I encourage you to join me in celebrating this important achievement. This is a journey, and we are making steady progress up the mountain to reach our ultimate goal, set by the state, of becoming an institution of the same quality as the nation’s best research universities. While Carnegie measures one aspect of progress, in the end, being a great research university is about the impact that we create. We must continue to focus on addressing our world’s most pressing cultural, societal and economic challenges — and imagining futures that are yet to come. 

I am incredibly proud of all we have accomplished together to advance our research mission. Thank you for your dedication to helping UNT become one of the nation’s top public research universities.  


Jennifer Cowley, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs