Letter to the LMU Community: LMU's Carnegie Classification Changed to Doctoral University: High Research Activity (R2)

January 31, 2019

Dear LMU Community:

I am excited to share that the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research in its 2018 Update of Carnegie Classifications has made a substantive change to LMU’s classification, the first since 1994. As a result, LMU has moved from the Master’s Colleges and Universities category to the Doctoral University: High Research Activity (R2) category. For more information on the Carnegie Classifications, I refer you to my Cabinet Corner feature in LMU This Week from last October.

As stated in our 2006 strategic planning document, LMU has long strived for “moving beyond the legacy perspective of the university being a secret jewel on the bluff.” Indeed, a key theme of our current strategic plan is to promote competitiveness and accountability with an objective to “significantly enhance the reputation of the university.” Similar to LMU’s recent selection to shelter a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, LMU’s new Carnegie Classification is a roaring endorsement that we have achieved this goal. These accomplishments are essential to the teacher-scholar model that we so value and exemplify: representing our championing of undergraduate education, the liberal arts and academic freedom, and reflecting the consistency and strength of our scholarly productivity and institutional commitment to research and scholarship.

How did we get so far in such a relatively short time? We did it through the national reputation of our doctoral program in Educational Leadership for Social Justice, which produces mission-focused academic leaders such as principals, superintendents, and university presidents. We did it through the Law School’s innovative Doctor of Juridical Science program, which graduated its first J.S.D. recipients in late 2018. We did it through our faculty’s success in attracting external funding from government and nonprofit foundations such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, California Department of Public Health, Lilly Endowment, Inc., U.S. Department of Education, Fletcher Jones Foundation, USDA, Sobrato Family Foundation, and many others. And we did it through an institutional culture, supported by world-class faculty that values research and scholarship with undergraduate and graduate students. In particular, it recognizes our investment of substantial resources to promote excellence in mentoring undergraduate student research through, for example, the Summer Undergraduate Research Program and the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.

I am grateful to the LMU community, whose passion, creativity, and dedication made this achievement possible. LMU’s demonstrated excellence and its updated Carnegie Classification will bring tremendous new opportunities. Our profile on various “best of” lists, such as that of U.S. News & World Report will soon change. LMU has been listed under Regional Universities West, and we expect to join the ranks of the highly regarded National Universities category, a new source of pride for the entire LMU community. This will allow us to continue to recruit the best students, faculty and staff and capture the interest of those who would not normally have considered a regional university. Perhaps the most exciting opportunity will be LMU’s chance to combine our Jesuit and Marymount heritage, our dedication to undergraduate education, and our prowess in research and scholarship to become unique and exemplary among the pantheon of national universities. In fact, one could argue that we already are.


Thomas Poon, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost