Today, the The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has presented its new classification of U.S. colleges and universities. The main differences at the research-end is a change from two types of research universities (intensive and extensive) to three types:

          • Research Universities (very high research activity)
          • Research Universities (high research activity)
          • Doctoral/Research Universities
Other changes in the classification are discussed here at Inside HigherEd and in this pdf-document of the Foundation. According to Carnegie President Lee S. Shulman, the classification has become more multidimensional as a response to the increasingly complex higher education sector:

“The basic classification has been changed because the higher education landscape has become increasingly complex and multifaceted. We concluded that attempting to shoehorn all institutions into one category had introduced distortions, inaccuracies and obscurities that could be avoided. We introduced the five new classifications to reflect these complexities. And because many will rely on the basic classification as the ‘front door’ to the other classifications, we also decided to update and improve the basic system as well.”

In Europe, the development of a similar classification is slowly getting started. Last year in August, a preliminary study on the possibilities for pan European institutional profiling was published (written by a broad group of experts, including several ex-colleagues of mine): Institutional Profiles, towards a typology of higher education institutions in Europe. In this report, the shift to a multidimensional classification (like the 5 new classifications in the Carnegie) was already proposed.

The European group is also talking with the Carnegie Foundation about a global classification.

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