Sacred Heart University Moves Up in Carnegie Classification to Doctoral University Category

News Story: April 17, 2019

Doctor of Physical Therapy Hooding Ceremony
Doctor of Physical Therapy Hooding Ceremony

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education has reclassified Sacred Heart University to Carnegie’s newly named Doctoral/Professional Universities category. Sacred Heart is one of 151 institutions in the new category that includes Gonzaga, Hofstra, Elon, University of San Francisco, Santa Clara and Pepperdine.

The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education created the Carnegie Classification in 1970 and published its first edition in 1973. It has updated the classifications eight times since then, including one in February. The Carnegie Foundation transferred stewardship of the Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to Indiana University School of Education in 2014. The Doctoral Universities categories have been reclassified to include “Doctor's degree – professional practice.”

The new categories, explained a Carnegie spokesperson, are an attempt to “reshape” the classifications in a time of significant transformation and acknowledge that universities—including Sacred Heart—have expanded their offerings in response to changing marketplaces and student expectations.

The new Carnegie Classification acknowledges Sacred Heart University’s doctorate degrees in physical therapy and nursing practice, as well as its doctor of business administration in finance. This fall, the University will add a doctorate in educational leadership.

According to Rupendra Paliwal, Sacred Heart’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, the University has been investing strategically in graduate and doctoral programs over the past several years. The goal, he said, is to continue expanding its offerings to SHU students and others across the region and to strengthen professional programs to fill current and anticipated employment opportunities in rapidly expanding professional fields.

“We are excited to be included and classified within the select group of doctoral universities under Carnegie’s Doctoral/Professional Universities category,” Paliwal said. “This reflects our aspirations of becoming a nationally recognized university known for excellence and relevance of its curriculum. We also are delighted to see that this new classification acknowledges professional doctoral degrees that are built around rigorous and demanding curricula with clear outcomes for students, as well as the recognition that applied research is extremely meaningful and can have an immediate impact on each of these vocational disciplines.”

Sacred Heart University has 317 full-time faculty members among its six colleges, up from 296 in the 2017-18 academic year. It also added 54 full-time faculty positions in 2016-17. In the last academic year, 82 SHU graduate students completed doctoral degrees—59 in physical therapy, 16 in nursing practice and seven in business administration.

The University recently opened its new Center for Healthcare Education, a 120,000-square-foot facility featuring a state-of-the-art, acute-care simulation laboratory, high-tech classrooms, an expanded human anatomy lab and a home-care suite designed to train students to meet occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology and nursing practice requirements.

Additionally, SHU’s Jack Welch College of Business is locating to the University’s new West Campus (formerly General Electric’s corporate headquarters site), along with two other colleges, to foster increased collaboration and cross-disciplinary studies, encourage innovation and promote research, including the types of increased focus on post-graduate work Carnegie recognizes.

“The co-location of SHU’s College of Business, School of Computer Science & Engineering and the Farrington College of Education, along with proposed collaboration with industry partners such as Verizon and Sikorsky to create a co-working location, a state-of-the-art makerspace and an A.I. lab, has huge potential to set us apart as a forward-looking, comprehensive institution adapting to today’s evolving marketplace needs,” Paliwal said. “We will be developing and enhancing academic programs in emerging areas of interest–with industry collaboration–focusing on the interplay of analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, engineering, business, finance and health sciences.

“Sacred Heart is poised for the future and will continue expanding undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs, research efforts, scholarship support, international study opportunities and related growth as we become a preeminent regional and national higher-education competitor and destination.”