What makes a university great at research? According to The Center for Measuring University Performance, it's a complicated array of factors that measure quality and long-term performance.
The Center measures research performance through assessing nine factors: total research, federal research, endowment assets in dollars, annual giving by alumni, number of faculty who are National Academy members, number of faculty awards, the amount of doctorates granted and postdoctoral appointees, and the SAT/ACT range of admitted undergraduates.
Rather than assign each parameter a subjective value to score and rank universities, CMUP assesses where schools rank among programs with over $40 million in research annually in each of all nine indicators, than orders them by how many indicators are in either the top 25 or in the 26-50 range.
Rice ranks in the middle of 53 total programs that rank in the top 25 in at least one area. Among all universities, it ranked in the top 25 in the size of its endowment and for the high range of student test scores.
When measured against only private universities, Rice had four criteria in the top 25 — endowment assets, National Academy members, faculty awards and test scores — and was among the top 50 in the other five areas, total research dollars, federal research dollars, annual giving, doctorates granted and number of postdoctoral appointees. In other words, Rice ranked at the very top of the factors that measure quality, and near the top in factors that measure size.
Not bad for a school with fewer than 6,000 students.
The University of Houston's research program didn't have any criteria ranked in the top 50 among all universities, but among public schools UH had three criteria ranked between 26 and 50: endowment assets, annual giving and National Academy members. Through the number of top indicators remained the same, UH improved in annual giving but fell significantly in number of doctoral degrees awarded since the 2009 report.
Do you think Houston is improved by having world-class -level research performed at our universities? Will the University of Houston — which is working to attain official Tier One status and the state funds that go with it — ever make a list without being overshadowed by Rice?
And if you were given a grant, what research about Houston do you think is missing? I'd like an empirical study on the most delicious viscosity of queso, but that's just research I'm conducting on my own during happy hours.