MSU: Doctoral Research University

Montclair State University, MSU, has been given a Research 3 rank by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

MSU named by Carnegie Classification.

Photo courtesy of Mike Peters.

Montclair State University has been named a Doctoral Research University by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, becoming the fourth public institution in the state of New Jersey to receive this special honor. According to a recent news release, the designation highlights the growth the university has experienced in its six doctoral programs and the cutting-edge research being conducted by the faculty and students.

Dr. Joan Ficke, Dean of the Graduate school, has been a part of MSU for 49 years, starting out as an undergraduate student and working her way through being a coach and through the administration. Dr. Ficke credits this history with the campus to giving her a long sense of what MSU used to be and what it has become. “This [recognition] is another step in the evolution of  school and moved Montclair into a category that represents the quality of what we’re doing academically,” said Dr. Ficke. “It’s nice when a New Jersey institution moves to this level of excellence. It reflects the work of the faculty and the students, and it’s exciting to have a national organization recognize that.”

As Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Ficke and her department are responsible for administering the Doctoral Program. The Graduate School works with, evaluates and collects data on the Doctoral Programs, essentially covering the oversight of the 254 Doctoral students. According to Dr. Ficke, the Graduate School covers six Doctoral Programs that are very intentionally selected and meets what is needed in the state of New Jersey. The students of the Doctoral Programs are put in a circumstance where they are solving “real” problems, using the kinds of research activities that are directed towards where the student sees themselves working in the future.

Some of the more recent research includes, “studies to better evaluate drugs that inhibit and find the causative agents of Parkinson’s Disease, studies that determine the psychological effects on victims of natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy [and] studies to help understand the sociodemographic factors contributing to racial and ethnic disparities in cancer prevention,” according to the release.

This is the first time that MSU has been recognized by the Carnegie Classification, but the institution was previously recognized as a Master’s 1 University (Larger Programs). In the new classification, it was elevated to the Doctoral classification. The Carnegie Classification is produced about every five years at the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University.

According to the release, universities are ranked by three levels: Research 1, which have the highest research activity; Research 2, which have higher research activity; Research 3, which have moderate research activity. MSU now stands at the Research 3 level.

Some examples of important faculty research initiatives that MSU has been involved in include: developing medical countermeasures for botulinum neurotoxin; study the collapse of ice shelves in the Antarctic; solve the challenges of positioning vehicles in the ocean; understand the sociodemographic factors contributing to racial and ethnic disparities in cancer prevention; study the psychological effects on victims of natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy; evaluate the effectiveness of the portfolio management model being utilized in urban elementary schools; and to understand the unpredictable dynamics of disease spread, according to the release.

These contributions to knowledge and the offering of advanced higher education programs are reflective of Montclair State University’s historic contributions to New Jersey. Established in 1908, MSU was the first of the state colleges to offer graduate programs in 1932.

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