By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer
“It’s nothing more than a metric,” Provost Dr. Nancy Brickhouse said about the aftermath of what happens when Baylor reaches the R1 research title. “It’s a goal, but it’s only a step along the way.”
For the past four years, Baylor has been working towards achieving its goal of becoming an R1 research university, meaning it will be known as a “very high research activity” institution. Currently, Baylor is classified as an R2 research university.
“I spent a lot of time looking at the significant progress we’ve made on our research goals. Whether that’s research expenditures, research doctorates, hiring faculty [or otherwise],” President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. said during a post-board meeting held on July 16.
Brickhouse mentioned that there will be no sudden differences for students while the project is still running. As of right now, Baylor will provide more opportunities for students. These include greater access to opportunities for research and the availability for undergraduates to publish their work.
As a Baptist university, reaching the R1 research level is said to be a big deal for Baylor. Becoming one of the very few private and religiously traditional universities to join the classified institutions, it will be the first Protestant university to join the R1 research list.
Even though this project is making Baylor grow academically, there are more outcomes expected after reaching the R1 level. Brickhouse made clear that this is only one of Baylor’s many goals for the students and its academic reputation.
“It’s really those intellectual goals that are at the end of the day the important ones. Not just intellectual goals but also practical goals,” Brickhouse said.
With the hopes of gaining more opportunities for students, the research that could be done in Baylor with the funds of an R1 level institution could potentially solve a world problem.
According to Brickhouse, granted that the strategic plan was thought out before the COVID-19 outbreak, the pandemic did not stop or become an obstacle for Baylor’s procedure. There was only progress being noted during the unprecedented times.
The Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC) facility allowed many students to come back to Baylor during fall 2020 because of the formation of a state-of-the-art COVID-19 testing lab. This later allowed Baylor to have a more normal year and helped the Illuminate project gain momentum to reach its R1 research goal.
Baylor continues to work hard for its goal of becoming an R1 research university by the time the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education updates its new R1/R2 lists in 2024.