In January 2011, the University of Houston joined the ranks of the top research universities in the nation with the announcement by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching that placed UH in its top category of research universities. The designation makes the University of Houston one of only three public Carnegie-designated Tier One research universities in Texas, along with the University of Texas and Texas A&M. That’s right – 3 public in Texas, only 1 in Houston have earned this affirmation of our research excellence from a respected, national organization.
We would not have been able to achieve this significant milestone without the support of the Houston community. We are Houston’s university, and we are grateful for your belief in our ability to exceed expectations and perform at the highest level of national excellence.
This achievement is momentous, and has come more quickly than almost any of us imagined. But we want you to know that our Tier One journey is not complete. There is still unfinished business to solidify our place among nationally competitive research universities, including broadening our overall excellence and strengthening our performance and reputation for student success. We are firmly committed to achieving those goals, and transforming the University of Houston into the Tier One university that Houston deserves.
As we look to the future and the hard work ahead, we want to commemorate this milestone with you, our community. Please save the date for a Jan. 28 celebration at 11 a.m. (program begins promptly at 11 a.m.) in the Cullen Performance Hall on the University of Houston Campus. You have helped us so much. Now, help us pay tribute to all we have accomplished together.
We want to hear from you. Please share with us your thoughts on what reaching Tier One means to you.
Elevating the University of Houston main campus to "tier-one" status will reap economic and educational benefits for Houston and the region for generations to come.
Through greater financial support from the state, UH will be able to enhance the quality of student education, attract and retain more high-quality faculty, use state appropriations as leverage for greater federal research support, increase technology transfer to the private sector, attract new companies and industries to the Houston area and produce spin-off companies.
Tier-One informational visit with Dallas Morning News - (left to right) UNT President Gretchen Bataille, Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance, UH Chancellor Renu Khator, former Texas Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby, UT System Board Chairman James Huffines, UT-Arlington President James Spaniolo and UT-Dallas President David Daniel.
Our Position: Texas' investment in higher education should include creating additional Tier-One institutions to compete with other states for the best and brightest students and faculty, spur economic growth, sustain an educated workforce and support innovative research. The University of Houston is closer than any other Texas public university to joining The University of Texas and Texas A&M in the first tier.
Background: Texas has only two public universities classified as Tier-One institutions, UT-Austin and A&M. Texas lags greatly in this area, behind states such as California, which has nine, and New York, which has seven. Broadening the number of top-tier institutions in Texas would allow students who are financially disadvantaged to attend high-quality schools closer to home for less money.
Why Top Tier Matters: Texas is a rapidly growing state, and UT-Austin, A&M and Rice (a small, private Tier-One school) can't perform all the needed research, and they can't begin to accommodate all our young people who want to attend a national research university.
- UT-Austin and A&M have enrollment pressure caused by the Top 10 Percent law allowing any student who graduates in the top 10 percent of his or her high school class to attend any public university in the state.
- Students prefer to attend a university with a top-tier reputation. Some 10,000 high school graduates are leaving Texas each year to attend doctoral degree-granting universities elsewhere, while only about 4,000 students from other states come to Texas to enroll at similar institutions. That's a potential brain drain of about 6,000 of our best and brightest students.
- Investment in research and development yields a 20- to 30-percent rate of return to the state in terms of jobs and economic stimulus, according to The Texas Legislative Study Group, a public policy group. Based on its population, Texas is estimated to lose $3.7 billion a year in federal research funds and venture capital largely because it has too few Tier-One universities.
- An investment of $188 million in state funds could bring four schools to Tier-One status (UH is joined by six other emerging public research universities seeking top-tier status). An investment of $405 million could yield seven additional Tier-One public schools in Texas, bringing the total to nine.
THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF A TOP-TIER RESEARCH UNIVERSITY
Funds invested in a university's research enterprise multiply throughout the economy. Economists estimate that every $10 million in research expenditures:
- Creates 334 new jobs
- Adds $8.6 million in wages to the regional economy
- Draws $500,000 in additional state revenue, including tax revenue
- Generates $13.5 million in local sales
That is a 226-percent return on investment!
The threshold for being ranked as a top-tier research university is at least $150 million in research expenditures annually, according to ranking organizations like the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
That means that elevating the University of Houston to top-tier status would create:
- 5,000+ new jobs
- $129 million in wages to the regional economy
- $7.5 million in additional state revenue
- $202 million in local sales
So ... a top-tier public research university in Houston has a significant, direct impact on Houston-area residents!
THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON
AS A TOP-TIER PUBLIC RESEARCH UNIVERSITY
The creation of additional top-tier universities is one of the greatest opportunities to transform the face of higher education in the state of Texas today. If Texas is to thrive in the global economy, more top-tier universities must be developed to spur economic growth, sustain an educated workforce and support innovative research. We believe the University of Houston is the logical candidate to become Texas' next top-tier university.
How Does Texas Benefit?
Texas has three top-tier universities: The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M and Rice, which is private. Texas lags greatly in this area behind states such as California, which has nine top-tier schools, and New York, which has seven. It is important for Texas to develop more top-tier universities, particularly in major population areas such as Houston. Based on its population, Texas is estimated to lose $3.7 billion a year in federal research funds and venture capital largely because it has too few Tier-One universities.
Nationally Competitive Public Research Universities:
Fuel economic growth
- Research partnerships between Tier-One universities and businesses are an important source of economic development in the form of technology commercialization, spin-off companies and job creation.
- Top-tier universities create unique opportunities for a highly skilled workforce, particularly in the sciences, engineering and professional fields critical to economic success.
- The direct effects of money invested in research multiply throughout an economy.
- A top-tier institution will enable Texas to attract — and UH to produce — more top scientists, engineers and scholars, thereby increasing the amount of external research dollars brought in to the Texas economy.
Enhance national visibility and reputation
- Top-tier universities garner statewide and national attention for research discoveries that help create a reputation for innovation that yields tangible gains to the city, region and state.
Attract and retain top talent
- Additional top-tier universities will help in keeping more of our best and brightest students in the state, and help to attract more top students from other states and nations.
Why The University of Houston?
It's already on the verge
- The University of Houston ranks third behind UT and A&M in the following categories: research expenditures, doctorate degrees awarded and doctoral program enrollment.
- UH already is classified at the highest level as a doctoral-granting research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
- Many UH individual programs, schools and colleges already are classified as top-tier or are highly ranked among the best in the country.
- UH is located in Texas' largest metropolis, which accounts for 25 percent of the state's population and 32 percent of its economy.
- UH is close to the Texas Medical Center and its giant research engines, and it has longstanding research partnerships with these institutions.
- UH partners with the nearby Johnson Space Center and collaborates with the engineers, scientists and medical personnel at the U.S. headquarters of human space exploration.
- Forbes named Houston the best city for college graduates.
How Close is UH to Becoming Top Tier?
While variations exist, these measures capture the essence of a top-tier university:
Excellence in research
- The threshold for top-tier university status is annual research expenditures of $150 million or more. UH currently has $81 million in research expenditures.
Excellence in student preparation
- Top-tier universities award 100 or more doctoral degrees annually in programs that span at least 15 disciplines. In 2007, UH conferred 248 doctoral degrees in 51 disciplines.
Excellence among faculty
- A top-tier university has distinguished faculty invited for prestigious membership in the National Academies. In rankings of the Top American Research Universities, the top 50 have at least five members. UH currently has eight members.
Excellence in community support to the university
- A top-tier university has community support as evidenced by its endowment and annual giving, as well as broad alumni support. UH's endowment value was $598 million for FY 2008, and philanthropic support was more than $80 million.
How Can the Legislature Help UH Reach Top-Tier Status?
Support efforts to obtain additional funding
- Reaching top-tier status will require an estimated annual commitment of $70 million from the state. It also must involve substantial private giving from alumni, the community and business. Public-private partnerships and synergies can enhance the value and impact of the state's investment.
- UH President Renu Khator proposed a plan that would generate the $100 million per year needed to elevate UH to top-tier status. The university would raise $50 million in private philanthropic support and would ask the Texas Legislature to match private gifts for research-related activities. This could produce immense rewards and enhance statewide economic development.