R1 Our Way Task Force

R1 Our Way

In 2018, Carnegie announced the 131 universities that were designated as Very High Research Activity (R1) universities, including UNT – which we estimate ranked #117 of #131. As part of our R1 Our Way plan our aspiration is to move from the bottom quartile of R1 to move to the top half of R1 universities and become of similar quality to Association of American Universities (AAU) universities. This goal is aligned with the Texas National Research University initiative, codified in the Texas Education Code 62.141-62.149. The State of Texas has designated UNT as an emerging research university – with the aim of aiding UNT in becoming an AAU quality institution. The AAU includes 63 research universities, who are among the most research intensive in the Nation. These universities make up most of the top half of the Carnegie R1 universities.

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is preparing to undertake the next analysis period which will be released in 2021. Carnegie will be maintaining the same methodology that was used in the 2018 evaluation. The evaluation will be based on the following data:

  1. Doctoral degree completions, 2019-2020
  2. Postdoctoral and Research Staff, 2018-2019 (FY19)
  3. University Enrollment, Fall 2020
  4. Faculty Count, Fall of 2020
  5. Research Expenditures, 2019-2020 (FY20)

This memo serves as an interim report on our progress, comparing the data that we currently have. Final reporting of data will be later in the fall semester and a second memo will be issued at that time. The highlight:

  1. 16% increase in doctoral graduates
  2. 14% projected increase in tenured/tenure-track faculty
  3. 20% increase in postdocs/research staff and 11% projected increase in per capita research staff
  4. Research expenditures are up – but will need to wait until the end of the fiscal year to report numbers.


Doctoral Degree Completions: During the 2019-20 academic year, UNT had 2,119 doctoral students enrolled, of which 15.3% graduated. Doctoral degree completions are measured from Summer 2019 through Spring 2020. It is important to understand that Carnegie categorizes doctoral students based on data UNT reports to iPEDS. This includes all doctoral graduates, including PhDs, DMAs, and EdDs. The degrees are listed in the CIP Code Category used by iPEDS. In the 2016-17 measurement cycle, UNT had 279 doctoral graduates. For the

2019-20 measurement cycle this increased 16.4% to 325 doctoral graduates. The table below illustrates the change in the two measurement cycles and the potential change in rank, showing that UNT made progress in every doctoral category – which include Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM, Other Research Doctorates, and Other Professional Doctorates.

Each doctoral variable is weighted differently and bringing up our standing in one category could more significantly impact our overall standing than progress in another category. In the short-term a positive change in social science graduates has the highest degree of impact on our overall Carnegie rank, due to the relative weight, our position in terms of number of graduates and the competitive landscape of universities clustered around us. Our gains in each variable will positively impact our overall position. That said, the 73% growth in social sciences doctoral graduates will be critical relative to our positioning in the next Carnegie evaluation.

Table 1. UNT Doctoral Graduates in Carnegie Measurement Cycles

Doctorate Degree 2016-
Change % Change National Rank 2018 Carnegie Report (Among R1/All Research
Potential Impact of 2019-20
Humanities 62 77 15 +24% 39/39 25/25
English 9 6 -3 -33%    
History 3 7 +4 +133%    
Philosophy 3 5 +2 +67%    

4 3 -1 -25%    
Music Perf. 41 54 +13 +32%    
Musicology 2 0 -2 N/A    
19 33 14 +73% 101/116 68/74
Poli Science 7 7 0 +0%    
Sociology 4 9   +125%    
Public Admin 5 15   +200%    
Gerontology** 3 2   -66%    
STEM 64 78 14 +22% 118/130 111/117
Info. Science 11 5 -6 -55%    
Env. Science 1 3 2 +200%    
Biology 7 5 -2 -29%    
Chemistry 8 17 +9 +113%    
Math 7 7 0 +0%    
Physics 4 5 1 +25%    

11 13 2 +18%    

0 6 6 N/A    
Materials Sci. 12 9 -3 -25%    
Mech. Eng. 3 5 2 +67%    
123 124 1 +0.8% 24/28 24/28

3 4 +1 +33%    
Behavior Sci. 0 1 +1 N/A    
Exp. Psyc. 3 1 -2 -67%    
Clinical Psyc. 10 6 -4 -40%    
C. Health

- 5 +5 100%    

7 6 -1 -14%    

13 10 -3 -23%    
Ed Psyc 2 9 +7 +350%    

5 0 -5 -100%    
Curriculum 7 16 +9 +129%    

13 28 +15 +115%    
Higher Ed. 13 5 -8 -62%    
Special Ed. 4 2 -2 -50%    
Reading Ed. 1 0 -1 -100%    

1 0 -1 -100%    

17 12 -5 -29%    
Business 20 16 -4 -20%    
Finance 1 0 -1 -100%    
HR 3 0 -3 -100%    
11 13 2 +18% 125/578 123/375
Audiology 11 13 2 +18%    

*Compares 2019-20 Doctoral Graduates to the 2016-17 data nationally. The number reported would be our rank if all universities do not change their position in the current Carnegie cycle. While we know universities will change position, this data is intended to show relative progress by doctoral variable.

** Gerontology was phased out as a degree and reorganized as the PhD in Health Services Research degree which has growing enrollment and will produce more doctoral graduates in coming years. It currently falls under the Gerontology CIP code. THECB asked UNT to change the CIP code which will begin reported starting next year. This change will result in this doctorate likely moving from a research doctorate in social sciences to the Other Research Doctorate variable, we are seeking to verify with Carnegie to verify the CIP code under which this doctorate will fall in future Carnegie cycles. This change results placement in a category with a lower weight, but on the plus side moves the doctorate into a category in which we perform particularly strongly.

*** UNT will never move much on this variable, which favors universities with academic medical centers and includes M.D. and other professional health profession degrees. This variable has the lowest weight among the doctoral degree variables.

PostDoc/Research Staff: In 2016, we had 55 postdocs/research staff. This included 31 postdocs and 24 research staff that held doctorates. For the Fall of 2019, this variable grew to 42 postdocs and 24 research staff – for a total of 66 postdocs/research staff, an increase of 20%. In the 2018 Carnegie report UNT ranked #122 among R1 universities and #151 among all research universities. Given our growth if all universities stayed the same, we would move to #114 among R1 universities and #142 overall.

Preliminary Data

Faculty Count: The faculty count is based on the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty at the university. In the fall of 2017, UNT had a total tenured/tenure-track faculty count of 737 faculty, ranking UNT #107 among R1 universities and #122 among all research universities. UNT has experienced a growth in faculty over the last few years, with a focus on increase tenure-track faculty to support our research mission. We are projecting that the full growth in tenured/tenure-track faculty for the Fall of 2020 won’t be shown, due to the current hiring freeze and faculty who have accepted the voluntary separation agreement due to COVID-19. The current estimate is that our faculty count will be approximately 840 faculty, an increase of 14%. Given our growth if all universities stayed the same, we would move to #101 among R1 universities and #107 overall. While this increase is not as it would have been if COVID-19 had not caused delays in hiring for Fall 2020. The faculty count is used to calculate research expenditures per faculty member in STEM/Non-STEM and the per capita research staff number. UNT generally performs poorly in research expenditures per capita because Carnegie uses the total faculty count as the denominator and divides that into STEM research expenditures as one variable, Non-STEM research expenditures, and STEM postdocs/research staff. This method hurts UNT because the distribution of our faculty is more heavily weighted in non-grant/non-STEM areas than land-grant or STEM focused universities. A smaller denominator in faculty count would improve our per capita measures. All this said, we know that all research universities headcounts will likely be impacted for the fall due to COVID-19 so this change may impact all universities.

Per Capita PostDoc/Research Staff: In 2016, our ratio was 0.07 ranking UNT as #123 among R1 universities and #172 among all research universities. The way this variable is calculated is by dividing the number of postdocs/research staff by the number of tenured/tenure-track faculty. Because of the growth in the number of postdocs/research staff, this positively impacts the ratio. Based on the preliminary faculty count the projected ratio is 0.8, a projected increase of 11%. Given our growth if all universities stayed the same, we would move to #110 among R1 universities and #162 overall. Final calculation of this variable will be possible once the official faculty headcount for Fall 2020 is available.

Final Data Available During the Fall Semester

University Enrollment: This data will be reported based on the Fall Census. University enrollment is not a variable that will be critical in our Carnegie evaluation as it is not used in the direct determination of R1/R2 universities. We know that every university nationally will see enrollment impacts as a result of COVID. Fortunately, this will have no impact on our standing as a research university.

Research Expenditures: Research Expenditures are certified in November for the 2019-20 Fiscal Year. Due to changes in reporting to align with peer universities our research expenditures will be up relative to the last reporting period. Additionally, the R1 Our Way Task Force identified additional opportunities to improve our reporting and we have made changes in HR reporting to ensure we are accurately accounting for research expenditures. That said, this spring research expenditures fell significantly due to research shutdowns due to COVID-19. All universities were impacted with shut-downs and so likely would see similar effectives. An additional impact of COVID-19 is the reduced tenured/tenure-track faculty count due to the hiring freeze and voluntary separation agreement. The benefit of the reduced faculty count will be an improvement in per capita research expenditure measures. Once we have the research expenditure data we will be able to calculate the following variables:

Science & Engineering (S&E) Research Expenditures: In the 2018 Carnegie cycle, there were $35M in STEM research expenditures #129 in R1, #179 among all research universities

Per Capita S&E Research Expenditures: In the 2018 Carnegie cycle, UNT had S&E research expenditures of $46 per capita, placing us at #129 in R1, #207 among all research universities. This variable is calculated by taking the S&E expenditures and dividing by the university-wide count of tenured/tenure-track faculty. Given that our university has a smaller proportion of STEM faculty, the result is lower per capita expenditures.

Non-Science and Engineering Research Expenditures: In the 2018 Carnegie cycle, UNT had $8.3M in non-S&E research expenditures, placing us at #102 in R1 and #121 among all research universities.

Per Capita Non-Science and Engineering Research Expenditures: In the 2018 Carnegie cycle, UNT had $11 per capita, placing us at #84 in R1, #114 among all research universities. This variable is calculated by taking the Non-S&E expenditures and dividing by the university-wide count of tenured/tenure-track faculty.