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UTSA has been formally recognized for its prolific level of research activity. Pictured here, students in Blake Weissling’s hydrogeophysics class perform seismic surveying at the Park West Campus. I Photo by Brandon Fletcher

Tier One

The R1 designation places UTSA among the nation’s top research institutions

After decades of dedication, UTSA officially earned the long sought-after R1—or “Tier One”—designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. While this achievement recognizes UTSA’s rapid growth as an institution with “very high research activity,” it also marks the university as one poised to tackle and solve the world’s greatest challenges.

“I am so grateful to our faculty, staff and graduate students for their incredible efforts leading to this recognition,” UTSA President Taylor Eighmy says. “The traction we’re seeing on multiple fronts—in athletics, fundraising, enrollment, academic innovation and research—position us to serve as an exemplar for the future of higher education in the United States.”

By reaching Tier One status, UTSA’s amplified exposure will help the university recruit top students and faculty from around the globe. The achievement will also attract innovative businesses to help make San Antonio and the South Texas region a more prominent and industrious destination.

“UTSA’s designation as Carnegie R1 positions the university to align with the prestigious Association of American Universities while empowering faculty, staff and students to achieve excellence that will help close education gaps within our community,” UTSA Vice President for Research, Economic Development, and Knowledge Enterprise Bernard Arulanandam says. “The classification will enable us to expand our strategic partnerships with federal granting agencies and our capacity to find solutions for our society’s grandest challenges.”

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Waypoints to excellence

Key to Tier One designation was UTSA’s ability to fulfill three markers: increase annual research expenditures, expand its pipeline of doctoral students and garner national recognition for its researchers.

The top-tier designation places UTSA in several exclusive categories. It is now one of only 20 universities designated as both a Hispanic Serving Institution and as Tier One—amplifying UTSA’s ability to offer our nation’s most talented Latino students and faculty opportunities to conduct research with worldwide impact. UTSA is also one of only six Tier One universities that holds three National Centers of Academic Excellence designations from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency.

UTSA is also working toward National University Research Fund (NRUF) eligibility in Texas to secure additional state research funding. NRUF access will mark another significant milestone in UTSA’s journey to be the great public research institution that is capable of tackling society’s grandest challenges. Armed with a path toward NRUF eligibility, UTSA anticipates research expenditures in excess of $300 million, with endowments of over $400 million over the next decade.

Tier One advantage

“For Roadrunners, the impact is immediate and direct. Tier One designation improves degree value, increases choices for our students aiming to pursue graduate study, creates stronger professional affiliations for our faculty and elevates our stature in the national research community,” UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy says. “Simultaneously, the designation advances San Antonio’s knowledge pipeline by attracting talented faculty, who will serve our local workforce.”

Additionally, Tier One status encourages more strategic partnerships between UTSA and local research organizations such as UT Health San Antonio, Southwest Research Institute, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Brooke Army Medical Center and Joint Base San Antonio—all set to positively impact both UTSA and the city.

Hispanic-thriving advances

UTSA’s location in a city that represents the nation’s demographic future puts it in a unique position as an urban-serving university and one of only 10 Tier One institutions with the Seal of Excelencia from Excelencia in Education. This seal is a testament to UTSA’s commitment to inclusivity and to helping more Latino students achieve academic success.

Tier One status gave UTSA the opportunity to join the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities. As a member, UTSA will help develop a more diverse doctoral pipeline and address societal challenges through strategic research and partnerships.

Steps to Tier One Status

New president Taylor Eighmy outlines a fresh vision for UTSA as a great multicultural discovery enterprise and an exemplary urban-serving university of the future.
UTSA announces the expansion of the Downtown Campus with the National Security Collaboration Center and planned new School of Data Science.
UTSA joins the San Antonio Partnership UTSA joins the San Antonio Partnership for Precision Therapeutics and announces key areas that will be supported by a new faculty cluster hiring program.
The U.S. Department of Energy selects UTSA to lead the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute, and the university earns the prestigious Seal of Excelencia.
The university’s research expenditures for the year reach an all-time high of $140 million, including a $12.5 million award from the National Institutes of Health for brain research.
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