UNCW Elevated to “Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity” by Carnegie

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The University of North Carolina Wilmington’s efforts to advance research and scholarly activities have earned the university the elevated designation of “Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity” institution, according to the newly released Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

UNCW is among 139 institutions to receive the classification, and is one of only eight institutions nationally to move up from “Master’s Colleges & Universities: Larger Programs” to “Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity” status.

“This reclassification to doctoral status with high research activity reflects an ongoing trajectory of success for UNCW,” said Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. “It is an affirmation of the great work being done by our faculty and students, whose discoveries will advance technology and improve lives across the region, the state and beyond.”

The criteria for the designation include awarding at least 20 research or scholarship doctoral degrees and investing at least $5 million in total research expenditures. The classification is based on an examination of 2016-17 data. Over the past five years, research expenditures at UNCW have averaged approximately $15 million.

“UNCW is excited to have the excellent and growing research that our faculty and students accomplish recognized by the shift in Carnegie classification to a Doctoral University with High Research Activity," said Stuart R. Borrett, Interim Associate Provost for Research. “This recategorization is not a fundamental shift in the nature of UNCW, but recognition of who we are and our promise for the future.”

A recent example of the university’s innovative research is the recent launch of SeaHawk-1, a nanosatellite designed by Center for Marine Science professor John Morrison. SeaHawk-1 will expand UNCW’s marine research capabilities, providing a unique vantage point for observing the changing biology in the ocean’s surface. The launch of SeaHawk-1 in early December was a part of Spaceflight’s first dedicated rideshare mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Within the UNC System, UNCW is now classified alongside East Carolina University, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro and N.C. A&T. The university joins peer institutions including the College of William & Mary, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Rowan University and the University of Maine. Nationally, UNCW now has the same classification as institutions such as Boston College, Brigham Young, DePaul, Fordham, Kent State, Lehigh, Loyola, Seton Hall and Villanova. 

UNCW’s dedication to advancing research is a key component of its Strategic Plan. The university prides itself on its diverse doctoral programs in education, nursing, marine biology and psychology. UNCW faculty conduct stellar research programs, collaborating with students to explore various fields including drug development; aquaculture; coastal and marine environments; the arts and humanities; educational leadership; health and wellness; and data sciences.

The Carnegie classification is the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education. The classifications are widely accepted as the standard categorization of accredited U.S. universities and colleges. More information about the Carnegie designation can be found here.

-- Venita Jenkins