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 director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

Most Popular

White House

The Mueller Report Should Shock Our Conscience

I've finished reading the entire Mueller report, and I must confess that even as a longtime, quite open critic of Donald Trump, I was surprised at the sheer scope, scale, and brazenness of the lies, falsehoods, and misdirections detailed by the Special Counsel's Office. We've become accustomed to Trump making up ... Read More
World

What’s So Great about Western Civilization

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Redacted: Harm to Ongoing Matter), One of the things I tell new parents is something that was told to me when my daughter still had that ... Read More
White House

The Problem with the Mueller Report

So much for collusion. The media conversation has now officially moved on from the obsession of the last two years to obstruction of justice. That’s because the first volume of the voluminous Mueller report, the half devoted to what was supposed to be the underlying crime of a Trump conspiracy with Russia, ... Read More
Sports

Screw York Yankees

You are dead to me. You are a collection of Fredos. The cock has crowed, you pathetic sniveling jerks. The team I have rooted for since 1965, when I first visited the House that Ruth Built, where I hawked peanuts and ice cream a lifetime ago, watched countless games (Guidry striking out 18!), has gotten so ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Trump Can’t Cry ‘No Fair’

If I may jump in, I take Charlie’s point and I think he’s largely correct. I also think David is correct. There’s not that much of a contradiction in that because I think to some extent they’re talking about different things. And this reflects a larger frustration I have with many of the ... Read More