Achieving a Research Milestone

CELS students in a lab.

Long a leader in graduate education in New Jersey, Montclair State was designated earlier this year as a Research Doctoral University in the widely recognized national Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

With the new classification, Montclair State moves from a master’s to a doctoral research institution, reaching a major academic milestone.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Willard Gingerich notes that of the 4,664 institutions reviewed, only 335 were classified as research doctoral universities and only 38 were reclassified from master’s to doctoral institutions.

“This highlights the significance of this classification in higher education, as well as the significance of the change in designation,” he explains. “It affirms the important contributions that our faculty and student researchers are making to their respective scholarly and academic communities.”

The new designation recognizes the University’s increased number of doctoral students in research fields, as well as its growing ability to attract significant funding from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, NASA and the U.S. Department of Education.

Recently funded projects include efforts to combat bioterrorism; research on the collapse of Antarctic ice shelves; a study of the sociodemographic factors contributing to racial and ethnic disparities in cancer prevention; and research on fostering science and mathematics achievement for all learners.

 “Montclair State has been successfully expanding its research activities in important fields,” says Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole. “This new designation reflects the efforts of our distinguished faculty and the programs they have created that both challenge our students and address the issues facing society today,” says Cole.

According to Robert Prezant, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, the upgraded designation is a long-deserved recognition. “It should translate into new funding opportunities and a growing number of academic and industry partnerships for our research,” he explains.

Graduate School Dean Joan C. Ficke is equally gratified by the new classification. “Our accomplished scholar-faculty have historically provided, and will continue to provide, forward-looking research as they mentor and challenge students.”

 “It should translate into new funding opportunities and a growing number of both academic and industry partnerships for our research.”
–Robert Prezant

For researchers at the University, the designation means validation of their work and greater future opportunities for grant funding. Department of Earth and Environmental Studies Professor and Chair Stefanie Brachfeld directs the PhD program in Environmental Management and is engaged in a three-year research project in Antarctica with national and international collaborators funded by the National Science Foundation.

“This designation is external recognition that our faculty are leaders in their disciplines and are advancing the frontiers of exploration, innovation and discovery in our respective fields,” she says.