For the past three years, ACU has been ramping up the number of masters degrees and doctoral degrees it grants. And when the Carnegie Fall Review concludes in February, ACU anticipates to be moved up from a masters large campus to a research level three institution.
Every three years the Carnegie Foundation website classifies universities based on the number of graduate degrees offered. ACU hopes to be included in the research level three classification that includes institutions such as Lipscomb, Belmont, Stephen F. Austin, Dallas Baptist and Samford. ACU is currently in the masters large classification, which includes institutions such as the University of Central Arkansas, Tarleton State and the University of Texas at San Antonio. The research level two classification includes TCU, Baylor, and SMU. The research level one classification includes Harvard, Yale and Vanderbilt.
Dr. Robert Rhodes, provost, said this reclassification will allow ACU to be ranked against all institutions at a national level rather than their western peers.
“This would place us in the top tier of universities as a doctoral research university,” Rhodes said. “This serves a an added quality indicator of an ACU education and helps enhance our national reputation.”
Rhodes said in order to be moved up in the system, an institution must award at least 20 doctoral degrees and 50 masters degrees. According to Rhodes, ACU awarded over 100 doctoral degrees and over 200 masters degrees. ACU currently offers a Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership. Rhodes said two of the largest master degree programs at ACU are Speech Language Pathology and Occupational Therapy. Rhodes said one benefit of this could be more faculty and potential graduate students.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for ACU as we think about how for years we’ve had a level of programs that really compete well with national universities but have done so as an exceptionally talented masters large,” Rhodes said. “I think this category fits our work better.”
The Graduate School of Theology offers a Doctor of Ministry degree, one of the four doctorates at ACU. Dr. Jeff Childers, professor of church history, Bible, missions and ministry who teaches in the graduate school of theology, said the reclassification is a result of ACU doing what it’s been doing.
“‘What does that mean for who we are?'” Childers said. “This gives us a chance to sit back and think about that a little more so we’re moving into the future with our eyes open.”