March 28, 2022
The Carnegie classifications are an enduring institution in higher education, but they’re about to undergo a facelift that could be dramatic.
A recent episode of The Key, Inside Higher Ed’s news and analysis podcast, explored news that the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching had chosen the American Council on Education to help it remake and run the main system we use to differentiate among types of colleges and universities.
Tim Knowles, president of the Carnegie Foundation, and Ted Mitchell, president of ACE, discussed the partnership and why the time is right to refresh the classifications. The conversation explored their plan to add a significant focus on whether and how much colleges and universities contribute to social mobility and racial equity, potentially by creating an entirely new classification that would sort institutions by the degree to which they’re engines of mobility and equity.
A second conversation included Brendan Cantwell, an associate professor and coordinator of the higher, adult and lifelong education program at Michigan State University, about the potential unintended consequences of focusing too much on social mobility in college rankings.
An edited transcript of the podcast follows.