Baylor Officially Announces Pursuit of Research 1/Tier 1 Goals

August 28, 2019
R1/T1 Announcement

Baylor University President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., announced the University's plans to pursue Research 1/Tier 1 (R1/T1) recognition as one of the nation's top research universities. The announcement was made during the Fall Faculty Meeting. (Robert Rogers/Baylor University)

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WACO, Texas (Aug. 28, 2019) – At today’s regular Fall Faculty Meeting, Baylor University officially announced plans to pursue Research 1/Tier 1 (R1/T1) recognition by building on Illuminate, the University’s strategic plan, which will guide Baylor towards joining the nation’s top research universities and achieving status as the world’s preeminent Christian research university.

With its foundational Christian mission and a historic reputation for excellence in academics, growth in research is a vital next step for Baylor University, said President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

“Baylor University’s vision affirms that the world needs a preeminent research university that is unambiguously Christian, and we are uniquely positioned to achieve this goal by building on Baylor’s historic strengths and strategically investing in new areas of research and service,” President Livingstone said. “Through top-tier research, scholarship and external funding support, R1 universities bring their voice to bear in addressing our world’s most meaningful challenges. As Baylor achieves preeminence as a Christian research university, it enables researchers from throughout the University to infuse the quest for solutions, at the highest levels, with Baylor’s distinct voice and Christian mission.”

Baylor’s Illuminate strategic plan provides the framework and commitment to investment over the next decade that will guide the institution towards becoming a top national research university. The strategic plan is built upon the foundation of Four Pillars, where Baylor will be a community recognized for its:

  • Unambiguously Christian Educational Environment
  • Transformational Undergraduate Education
  • Research and Scholarship Marked by Quality, Impact, and Visibility
  • Nationally Recognized Programs in Human Performance through the Arts and Athletics

Five multidisciplinary Signature Academic Initiatives in Illuminate focus on key challenges facing society today, amplifying and expanding the University’s Christian commitment and positioning Baylor for leadership in fields of national importance.

  • Health – Research and collaboration in this area focus on environmental, family and community determinants of health, biomedical research, health policy, law, leadership and ethics, and undergraduate health and medical education.
  • Data Sciences – Research, educational and professional training in this area focus on biomedical informatics, cybersecurity and business analytics, with an overarching theme of ethical uses of large-scale data.
  • Materials Science – Research and collaboration in this area focus on technologies that make products faster, stronger and lighter, providing solutions for enhanced quality of life.
  • Human Flourishing, Leadership and Ethics – Research and collaboration in this area focus on understanding the conditions by which humans, communities and societies flourish.
  • Baylor in Latin America – Research, collaboration and engagement in this area focus on health and disease prevention; business development and international trade; human capital formation and education; immigration, migration and human trafficking; congregational development; democratic governance and economics; and culture and arts.

“By strengthening scholarship, deepening learning and enhancing teaching, these initiatives will support our commitment to excellence in undergraduate education and growth in graduate education,” President Livingstone said. “Collaboration is vital to finding solutions to the immense challenges facing our world. Baylor’s Illuminate initiatives are developed around areas where existing collaboration is yielding results and where continued work and additional investment will elevate the University’s R1/T1 quest.”

From R2 to R1

Today, 130 American college and universities are classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as R1, which are doctoral-granting institutions with the “highest research activity.” Baylor is among the 131 schools currently classified as R2 – doctoral institutions with “higher research activity.” Tier 1 universities aspire to higher levels of excellence not only teaching and research, but throughout the university in services to students, the arts, athletics and more.

Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D. – participating in her first Fall Faculty Meeting since becoming Baylor’s chief academic officer in May – reported on progress on the implementation of Illuminate and outlined goals for Baylor’s university-wide effort to grow into a preeminent Christian research university and a beacon of leadership in American higher education.

Some important areas of momentum that the provost shared included graduating 58 research doctorates this summer, the most for any graduation in Baylor’s history, and enrollment growth in the University’s graduate and professional online degree programs, which nearly quadrupled in a little more than a year. Moving from R2 to R1 is a “tremendous leap,” Provost Brickhouse noted, but the University community has joined together to elevate Baylor to the top level of institutional achievement.

“I believe we’re capable of achieving this goal in striving to fulfill Baylor’s full potential and in keeping with our historically distinctive mission,” Brickhouse said. “It will take years of unwavering, strategic effort as a University and community of alumni and friends to achieve. Recognition for faculty research and Baylor’s collective scholarly and creative enterprise will be the key to our success.”

Among the most immediate goals for this year, Brickhouse notes, is securing eight new endowed faculty chairs as part of the Baylor Academic Challenge program. Created as part of an anonymous $100 million gift in support of the Give Light campaign, the Academic Challenge maximizes Baylor’s investments in promising research and academic programs by matching dollar-for-dollar significant additional gifts from other donors, increasing the number of endowed faculty positions and helping Baylor generate additional funding to sustain and grow teaching and research in key areas.

“Growing in our capacity and impact as a research institution strengthens our presence as God’s hands in the world. The research our faculty, staff, and students are undertaking is being pursued in order to make a difference in the world — to reflect Christ’s compassion for our fellow human beings and his desire for our welfare and personal flourishing,” Brickhouse said. “We have found that distinguished scholars from top universities around the country who believe in Baylor’s Christian mission are very eager to come to Baylor, where they can teach and continue their research at a faith-based university.”

Give Light campaign update

As part of her presentation, President Livingstone updated faculty on Baylor’s $1.1 billion Give Light comprehensive philanthropic campaign, which directly support the goals of Illuminate. At the end of the most recent fiscal year, the campaign had raised more than $702 million, well over halfway to its $1.1 billion goal, from more than 57,000 donors. Gifts have supported:

  • 50 new endowed chairs and professorships
  • $133.5 million in scholarships
  • Three signature projects: Welcome Center, Tidwell Bible Building, and Academic Challenge and Baylor Basketball Pavilion

In addition, Baylor will initiate a new research marketing and public relations campaign in support of the University’s R1/T1 pursuit. The campaign highlights Baylor faculty, whose research fighting disease, investigating environmental challenges, pioneering new technologies and advancing human flourishing, is bringing light and developing solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. More information on Baylor research can be found at


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.