National Assessment of Doctoral Programs Is Good News for the University of Memphis
The University of Memphis received good marks in a national assessment of more
than 5,000 doctoral programs at 212 colleges and universities across the United States.
The results of the survey were released today by the National Research Council.
The NRC conducted the survey between 2001 and 2006 in an effort to provide a more
comprehensive assessment of doctoral programs than is available in popular college
rankings such as U.S. News and World Report, the Princeton Review, and other commercial
surveys, which attempt to rate entire institutions, not individual programs.
“We were very pleased with the survey results,” said Dr. Karen Weddle-West, vice
provost for Graduate Programs at the U of M. “Overall, the doctoral programs at the
University of Memphis are competitive with those of our academic peers and funding
peers in the three dimensions that were assessed: research activity, diversity, and
student outcomes and support. In fact, some of our doctoral programs ranked higher
than those of our peers on several variables. The results of this data-based assessment
underscore our Carnegie Classification as RU/H, Research University with High Levels
of Research Activity.
“We were particularly pleased with our very good assessments in the areas of diversity
and support of our students. In fact, we compared very favorably against some very
well known public universities that are considered the flagship universities in their
Dr. Ralph Faudree, U of M provost, noted that even though the report indicates
that the University made progress over the period 2001-2006, the U of M has made even
more progress since 2006, when the last information for the just-released survey was
collected. “Our graduate school is growing overall,” he said. “Over the past five
years we have instituted new doctoral programs, even entirely new schools that offer
new doctorates, such as the School of Public Health, that were not in existence in
“Additionally, our faculty have produced more publications, have been cited more,
have won more grants, and have improved in other measurable criteria over the past
Faudree and Weddle-West also noted that since the end of the survey’s reporting
period, the University of Memphis has significantly increased, by millions of dollars,
external funding for research support. The University has also established, in conjunction
with leading corporate, research, and academic institutions, the Memphis Research
Consortium (MRC), which facilitates the transfer of information ideas and technologies
for research entities.
Information was collected about 14 doctoral programs at the University of Memphis.
They included biological and health sciences (a) ecology and evolutionary biology
and (b) genetics and genomics, biomedical engineering, chemistry, civil engineering,
communications, computer science, English, history, mathematics, mechanical engineering,
music (except performance), philosophy, and psychology. That information was compared
to the same information about hundreds of doctoral programs altogether.
“United States graduate schools prepare the highly skilled workforce necessary
for the nation to remain competitive in today’s knowledge-based economy,” said Debra
W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. “This NRC assessment provides
important information about the quality of doctoral education, which is so critical
to our future.”
Prospective graduate students typically gather data from multiple sources and
weigh each graduate program against their individual needs before making their decisions.
They will have access to the NRC report, which will provide them with additional information
for that decision-making process. Details of the report are available online at http://www.nap.edu/rdp.
Questions from the news media regarding the NRC’s Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate
Programs in the United States (2010) should be directed to Curt Guenther, U of M Office
of Marketing and Communication, 901-678-2843.