National Research Council's Data-Based Assessment of Research Doctoral Programs in the United States
National Research Council’s Survey of Universities Includes The University of Texas at Austin
AUSTIN, Texas—The National Research Council (NRC) has released its third assessment of research doctorate programs, data collected in 2006 for 20 variables that reflect key characteristics of research doctoral programs at more than 5,000 doctoral programs at 212 universities in the United States, including The University of Texas at Austin.
Unlike previously published rankings, “Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States” is a data-intensive and complex approach to assessing research doctoral programs resulting in “ranges of rankings” for each program rather than a single number. An online database is available to view the ranges, along with the full set of data used in the analysis.
More than half of the university’s research doctoral programs were included in the study, but the study did not include any professional programs or programs that were not represented by at least 25 similar programs across the country. The NRC last conducted a survey of doctoral programs in 1995, but it was largely a reputational study and did not include the quantitative and qualitative measures used in the latest appraisal.
The NRC gathered data on what it determined to be 20 key variables, including faculty publications, citations and grants, graduate student academic performance and support, and diversity.
“The quality of doctoral programs is multi-dimensional and the report provides a broad range of information, including scholarly productivity, student support and diversity of the academic environment,” said Victoria Rodríguez, vice provost and dean of graduate studies at the university.
Rodríguez said because the NRC data were gathered in 2006 the survey’s principal value will be to enable institutions to monitor progress since that time in areas they consider important to their institutions.
The university participated in the study by providing faculty and student institutional data to the NRC, as well as through faculty questionnaires. The NRC obtained additional data from outside sources such as the National Academies of Science and the National Science Foundation. The study was funded through support from participating universities.
Date: September 28, 2010
Dr. Marvin Hackert, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, is the Institutional Coordinator for the NRC study and may be contacted at (512) 232-3604 or firstname.lastname@example.org
UT-Austin's response for this effort was coordinated by the Graduate School and the Office of Information Management and Analysis
The Chronicle of Higher Education has developed an interactive tool to explore NRC rankings. One-year passes to use the tool are sold at the Chronicle's store.