The Corner

Education

How the ‘Carnegie Classifications’ Waste Educational Resources

Many years ago, the Carnegie Foundation began classifying colleges and universities. The top universities were classified R-1, indicating that they did a great deal of high-powered research. An R-2 university was a notch below those, with somewhat less going into research. This scheme was harmless at first, but now that prestige and money depend on “moving up,” many colleges and universities try to game the system.

In today’s Martin Center article, law-school dean Allen Mendenhall discusses the Carnegie Classifications and explains the damage they do. “The main problem with the Carnegie classifications, he writes,  “is that they create the incentive for educational malinvestment on a grand scale. When a university’s administration seeks to move from R-3 to R-2 or R-2 to R-1, they churn out more doctorates and hire more faculty than the market demands.”

Much of the “research” cranked out by the faculty is is scant benefit — except to boost the numbers in hopes of “improving” in the classification game. But since much of the cost is borne by the government and students foolishly pursuing the dream of winning tenure some day, why not?

Up until now, law degrees have not counted in this system, but that is about to change, apparently. The Carnegie folks want to start counting “research” law degrees like the S.J.D. toward the classification levels (but still not the standard Juris Doctor degree). Mendenhall thinks it’s a trap to be avoided: “That might seem an attractive inducement, but one that would be economically unsound for most schools. Law deans should resist going the way of the humanities.”

The Carnegie Classification system has already done quite enough to propel America’s degree mania. Let’s hope that this new inducement doesn’t lead to more “investment” in legal education.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

Most Popular

Elections

Elizabeth Warren Is Jussie Smollett

Elizabeth Warren has a moving story about being fired from a teaching job because she was pregnant, a story that perfectly complements her political narrative that she is the tribune and champion of those who have been treated unfairly by the powerful. Joe Biden has a moving — and horrifying — story about his ... Read More
Culture

The Origins of the Transgender Movement

Editor’s Note: This article has been adapted from remarks delivered at a Heritage Foundation summit. I’ve been asked to talk about the origins of transgenderism and how it relates to children and their exploitation. But first, I would like to start with a little story. Yesterday I was wandering around ... Read More
World

Kurdish, Syrian, and Turkish Ironies

Outrage met Donald Trump’s supposedly rash decision to pull back U.S. troops from possible confrontational zones between our Kurdish friends in Syria and Recep Erdogan’s expeditionary forces. Turkey claims that it will punish the Syrian Kurds for a variety of supposed provocations, including aiding and ... Read More
PC Culture

Defiant Dave Chappelle

When Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special Sticks & Stones came out in August, the overwhelming response from critics was that it was offensive, unacceptable garbage. Inkoo Kang of Slate declared that Chappelle’s “jokes make you wince.” Garrett Martin, in the online magazine Paste, maintained that the ... Read More
Sports

LeBron James Looks Like a Fraud

So, LeBron James claimed that Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey was simply “misinformed or not really educated on the situation” when he tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. “I don’t want to get into a feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at ... Read More