The University of Maryland Eastern Shore has qualified as a member of a new peer group among doctoral degree-granting institutions.
UMES is now a Doctoral University (Moderate Research Activity), according to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Seven percent of the nation’s 4,664 institutions of higher education are considered “Doctoral Universities” in the newest Carnegie survey.
UMES becomes the third institution in the University System of Maryland to achieve Doctoral University status, joining the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of Maryland College Park.
The new designation brings to fruition a 12-year effort by UMES faculty to move up in classification as a university producing at least 20 research/scholarship doctorates (Ph.D.s & Ed.D.s) each year.
It also fulfills a goal established by former President Thelma B. Thompson, who in 2003 challenged the university to pursue a higher Carnegie classification as well as develop more peer-accredited academic programs.
“I’m extremely pleased and excited that UMES has achieved our long-held strategic goal of attaining Carnegie Classification as a Doctoral University,” President Juliette B. Bell said.
“This change will greatly expand our ability to serve as the research and economic engine for Maryland’s Eastern Shore,” Bell said. “I applaud the faculty and staff for their diligence in helping us reach this milestone in the University’s history.”
The change means UMES eventually will be eligible for additional government funding earmarked to support graduate studies and accompanying research initiatives.
What university leaders are confident about is the new classification – widely recognized in higher education circles – will elevate UMES’ visibility among future generations of graduate-school candidates.
Several days prior to the Carnegie announcement, an annual National Science Foundation survey showed UMES ranked in the top 10 HBCUs awarding Ph.D.s during the 2013-14 academic year.
Senior UMES administrators describe Carnegie’s Feb. 1 announcement as “a big deal for us.”
None was happier about the news than Dr. Jennifer Keane-Dawes, dean of UMES School of Graduate Studies. It has been her job since being appointed to post in 2008 to lead the reclassification effort.
“I could not believe it,” Keane-Dawes said. “I was just overcome with joy (because) we’ve been working on this for so long. We didn’t always have the resources to do it.”
Another key administrator who helped shepherd UMES through the process by chronicling its progress toward the reclassification goal was Dr. Stanley Nyirenda, director of UMES’ Office of Research, Planning and Assessment.
“Out of 4,664 colleges and universities, there are 335 (7%) doctoral universities and we are one of them,” Nyirenda said.
“The new classification,” he said, “is a recognition of our research capacity (and) productivity, working with students in the six research/scholarship programs.”
Those programs are: food science and technology, marine-estuarine-environmental sciences, toxicology, pharmaceutical sciences, education leadership and organizational leadership.
Prior to the reclassification, Carnegie listed UMES as a Comprehensive University – Master Small Programs institution.
Keane-Dawes credited her colleagues with making the reclassification a reality.
“I’m most pleased I had the support of the deans and the graduate faculty to not only moved the numbers to 20, but to maintain a high quality of students who graduate.”
Keane-Dawes said not only will the new classification help UMES attract more graduate and undergraduates and faculty, “it promotes intellectual dialogue. We are now focused on research.
“It builds the interdependence of teaching, research and scholarship,” she said.
Source: University of Maryland Eastern Shore