Chancellor Rogers’ Message, November 2023

To the Pirate Nation family:

Whether we’re honing new learning strategies, building technology for health care, enhancing human connections, or detailing economic insights to strengthen our rural communities, research lives at the heart of East Carolina University. Creating knowledge and innovations are foundational to student success, public service, and regional transformation.

I’m delighted to share that we appear to be on the cusp of a consequential milestone for our research enterprise — a development that would help accelerate this work across the ECU community.  Over the last year, I served on a national presidential roundtable that worked to reimagine and modernize the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.  The outcomes of this work involved significant changes to the 50-year-old classification system used to categorize colleges and universities. In addition to transforming the Basic Classification into a multi-dimensional grouping of institutions to prioritize mission alignment, there will also be changes to the core methodology that determines whether an institution achieves the prestigious R1 status.  This is the highest such designation from Carnegie, granted only to universities with the highest levels of research activity.

ECU currently operates as an R2 institution. As Carnegie recalibrates its criteria to make the rating system more comprehensive, precise, and nuanced, ECU is well positioned to be considered for the elite status starting in 2025. The Chronicle of Higher Education delved into Carnegie’s efforts just this month.

So, what would an R1 rating mean for us, exactly? As an accurate reflection of ECU’s research scope and quality, a top-tier designation signals to the world that we’re a community on the move. It effectively spotlights the record level of support granted to our research — including some $85.5 million across 438 awards in 2023 alone. And it encourages many more of the best researchers, staff, students, supporters, and collaborators to join us at East Carolina University.

In short, an R1 Carnegie designation can spur a snowball effect to help us expand scholarship, amplify research, and reinforce our impact for students and regional communities. It would be next-level good news for North Carolina and beyond. It would speak to the profound dedication, hard work, and indomitable talent and skill that exists across ECU.

As we wait on the Carnegie classification developments, take a moment to recognize the collective contributions and vision that have brought us this far along our research journey. Together our discoveries and innovations are shaping the future-focused, resilient, and healthier society that we imagine — and setting an example for other colleges and universities to do the same.

Stay tuned for updates. Meanwhile, keep bringing your brilliant ideas to life.

Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving to all of Pirate Nation!

With gratitude,

Philip G. Rogers
Chancellor, East Carolina University