The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has achieved the national Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s R1 designation for the extensive research conducted at the college. 

The university is at the highest national level of classification alongside 146 other colleges. Private institutions such as Tufts University in Massachusetts, Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and Vanderbilt in Tennessee as well as public institutions like Louisiana State University in Louisiana and Clemson University are classified as R1 colleges. 

Since the university’s opening 125 years ago, decades of effort and growth have contributed to the Carnegie R1 Classification. 

According to President of UL Lafayette Dr. Joseph Savoie’s blog, “An R1 University prioritizes learning by enabling students to work alongside visionary faculty who are leading their respective disciplines into new, and often unimagined, frontiers.” 

 Over the years, there has been exponential expansion at the college, and many individuals have worked diligently to make this possible.

Qualification for this classification includes funding generated and spent conducting research, the number of graduates that the university has every year, and the number of post-doctorate members of research at the university. These specific variables have been areas in which the university has improved and directly contributed to the designation.

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education website stated that doctoral universities that have obtained this classification “include only institutions that awarded at least 20 research/scholarship doctoral degrees and had at least $5 million in total research expenditures.”

According to Ramesh Kollruru, vice president for Research, Innovation, and Economic Development, “We have created over the years multiple research centers and institutes to focus specifically on a set of topics we think we have the ability to move the needle.”

For example, the university was able to test the Pfizer vaccine to combat the COVID-19 virus at their facility. UL Lafayette assisted in developing the Pfizer vaccine that has gone on to save lives across the world.

The university focuses on many areas of research such as life science, computing, energy, climate change, advanced manufacturing and human development research. 

UL Lafayette was the first university in 1961 that offered a master’s degree in computer science. In the context of human capital development, they focus on the culture of Louisiana and its effect on economics. UL Lafayette is researching to investigate the flooding problem in Lafayette concerning the watershed. 

There is a broad scope of many different topics and subjects that research is working on that can impact the community and, on a large scale, the entire world.

Undergraduate students have a new program known as Advance Student Research Experience (Advance) that will allow them to get involved in research. The university is making an effort to allow all undergraduate students to find a mentor and work in research studies.

“It creates a passion for research that carries you throughout your life. It allows you to investigate, allows you to discover, allows you to explore new information, new knowledge, which is what we do at research universities,” Kolluru said. 

When conducting research, a faculty member with a doctorate works with graduate and undergraduate students. Kolluru describes the graduate students as the “life blood of research,” The graduate student working on a master’s degree or doctorate is the vital link in the chain. 

This valuable achievement marks the beginning of the future at the university, according to Kolluru. 

            “We are positioning ourselves strongly to grow the next generation of smart young men and women as students that go on to become researchers themselves,” Kolluru said. 

There are problems that need to be solved, and the research done here will seek to find a solution. There will be many new problems in the future. The ability of the UL Lafayette researchers to solve these problems and contribute to the public good is their primary goal. 

A celebration will be held in the courtyard at the Student Union on Feb. 23. The UL Lafayette marching band, Pride of Acadiana, and cheerleaders will perform. There will be speakers such as President E. Joseph Savoie. Other speakers will include faculty and graduate students. 

All students are welcome to attend and receive complimentary refreshments and t-shirts. The celebration will begin at 11:30 a.m. The Student Union will display a research showcase for students to view. 

The event marks a moment in the university’s history and has achieved a milestone that has taken 125 years. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s R1  designation will benefit students and faculty for years to come.