NRC Briefing

On October 19, Dean Grasso held a briefing to discuss the results of the NRC’s Database Assessment of Research Doctoral Programs. If you were unable to attend or would like more information, a full video of the presentation is available online.

The National Research Council released the Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs on September 28, 2010.  The report provides an in-depth look at doctoral programs over a period of time.  Using advanced statistical methods to analyze a number of program characteristics, the NRC placed programs within a range relative to other doctoral programs in the study.  After collecting data in 2006 and 2007, the NRC carefully developed its statistical methods over three years to ensure the data’s validity.

The NRC study aims to create a common benchmark for doctoral research programs and provide universities with information on how to improve their own programs. The NRC collected the data from institutions, programs, faculty members and doctoral students through a series of questionnaires and surveys and by calculating citation rates of departments in academic journals. The study incorporates variables pertaining to research activity, program diversity and student support services.

The final report contains data characteristics and ranges of rankings for more than 5,000 doctoral programs in 62 academic fields at 212 universities.

The full report, data table and methodology guide are available online at http://www.nap.edu/rdp.


The Graduate School hosted a workshop on October 19, 2010 about “Understanding Your NRC Data.”

Dr. Jaxk Reeves, faculty director of the UGA Statistical Consulting Center, and Dr. Kim Love-Myers, Associate Director, discussed the methodology used to determine a program’s range of rankings and how individual departments can best use the methodology to interpret their own data. Charles Mathies from the Office of Institutional Research discussed on-campus resources and current data available programs to use in analyzing their own data. Data collection procedures were briefly reviewed.

Dr. Reeves and Dr. Love-Myers’ presentation about the methodology and interpretation of the data can be reviewed for additional information.


Additional resources related to the NRC report and data analysis include:

A Guide to the Methodology of the National Research Council Assessment of the Doctorate Programs, the complete methodology manual.

The National Research Council’s website dedicated to the Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs has links to information relevant the report, including:


Analyses of the NRC Data

PhDs.org, an independent web site not affiliated with the National Research Council, has incorporated data from the research-doctorate assessment into its Graduate School Guide. Users of the Guide can choose the weights assigned to the program characteristics measured by the National Research Council and others, and rank graduate programs according to their own priorities.

Analysis of Programs within Ranges

Analysis of Possible Ranges

Learn More About the Original NRC Study at UGA | View the UGA Programs in the Study

Questionnaire Completion: Who Does What?

The Graduate School will complete and submit the Institutional Questionnaire and will work closely with participating academic programs to complete the Program Questionnaire. The Graduate School will pre-populate information that is institution-specific and pertains to student enrollment and demographics and will request program-specific information from the academic departments. The faculty lists based on the study criteria will be shared with each department via a secure website and corrections and updates will be completed by the academic department designee.

Faculty Questionnaires

Faculty questionnaires will be distributed directly to faculty members by the NRC contracted research group, Mathematica Policy Research, as a result of a list of eligible faculty and corresponding programs provided by the Graduate School. Faculty members will be sent a login and password and asked to complete the questionnaire online. The questionnaire requests demographic information, education, employment history, and scholarly activities. Additionally, data from the faculty questionnaires will be used to match faculty names with national databases that hold information on publications and citations, research grants, awards, and honors. Participation in the study is voluntary; results will be published in summary form only; and confidentiality of data will be strictly enforced. Nonparticipation will not affect faculty relationships with the University.

Students Admitted to Candidacy Questionnaires

Student questionnaires will be completed nationally by students who have been admitted to candidacy in five disciplines:

  • English
  • Economics
  • Physics
  • Neuroscience/Neurobiology
  • Chemical Engineering

At UGA, students from the following doctoral programs will participate in the study:

  • English
  • Economics
  • Housing and Consumer Economics
  • Physics

Student questionnaires will be distributed directly to UGA doctoral students who have been admitted to candidacy in English, Economics and Physics by the NRC contracted research group, Mathematica Policy Research. A list of eligible student names and corresponding programs will be provided by the Graduate School. Students will be sent a login and password and asked to complete the questionnaire online. The questionnaire requests both objective and subjective information. Participation in the study is voluntary; results will be published in summary form only; and confidentiality of data will be strictly enforced. Nonparticipation will not affect student relationships with the University.

About the NRC Survey

Memo from Dean Maureen Grasso

Faculty Tip Sheet for the National Research Council Study of Research Doctorates Faculty Questionnaire Participation in the National Research Council Survey of Research Doctorates will help UGA document its strength in graduate research programs and identify benchmarks of progress toward research excellence. UGA will participate in this third NRC study, with data being gathered in 2006-2007 and results shared in 2007. The most recent NRC study was reported in 1994-1995. Dr. Maureen Grasso, dean of the Graduate School and the institutional contact for the assessment project has established an advisory committee of faculty from colleges that are home to the 53 eligible doctoral programs and from UGA’s Institutional Research office. Dr. Karen Bauer, director of the Office of Institutional Research, will coordinate the information and data collection activities and work with the advisory committee on institutional protocol and promoting completion of the project. Cross-campus collaboration on this project is essential to provide accurate and complete information about doctoral study at UGA.

Importance of the study

NRC will rank programs

UGA advisory committee

Participating UGA programs

Questionnaires

Questionnaire completion:  who does what?

More information

Purpose of the Study

From Maureen Grasso, Dean of the Graduate School and NRC Institutional Contact: “Participation in the NRC study is essential as UGA strives to compete with other major research institutions in scholarship, research and the recruitment of top doctoral students. I believe that with full response from the faculty and selected students, UGA will show tremendous advancement in the quality of our programs since the last study was completed in 1995. Further, we will have access to an online database of the results reported in 2008, which will be helpful in future years as we measure the growth of our programs.” From the National Academy of Sciences President Ralph Cicerone’s invitation of participation to college and university presidents:  “The National Research Council, which conducted assessments of doctoral programs in 1983 and 1995, proposes to conduct a new study, the purposes of which are to:

  • Help universities improve their doctoral programs through benchmarking.
  • Expand the talent pool through accessible information, easily available to potential doctoral students, about doctoral programs.
  • Benefit the nation’s research capacity by improving the quality of doctoral programs and their students.

This study will be a marked departure from earlier studies…[It] will gather information about a large number of quantitative variables that are related to:

  • Scholarly productivity of program faculty
  • Effectiveness of doctoral education
  • Research resources
  • Demographic characteristics of students and faculty
  • Resources available to doctoral students
  • Characteristics of the doctoral program

These data, collected under uniform definitions, will be used to construct a large web-resident database for about sixty fields of study, thus permitting comparisons of programs within a university and across universities.  The database will be constructed so that it can be updated regularly.”

UGA Advisory Committee

UGA Graduate School NRC contacts:

  • Dr. Maureen Grasso, Dean
  • Dr. Karen Bauer, Director, Office of Institutional Research and NRC project coordinator
  • Dr. David K. Knox, Director of Technological Academic Initiatives, the Graduate School

Members of the advisory committee who will help guide the campus response on the NRC Survey:

  • Dr. Jorge Atiles, Associate Dean, College of Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Dr. Karen Bauer, Director, Institutional Research
  • Dr. Josef Broder, Associate Dean, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences
  • Dr. Kirk Cureton, Professor, Department of Kinesiology
  • Dr. Kathleen DeMarrais, Associate Dean, College of Education
  • Dr. Harry Dickerson, Associate Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Dr. Daniel Feldman, Associate Dean, Terry College of Business
  • Dr. Jeffrey Fisher, Director, Toxicology Program
  • Dr. William Fitt, Professor, College of Environment and Design
  • Dr. George Francisco, Associate Dean, College of Pharmacy
  • Dr. Jerome Legge, Associate Dean, School of Public and International Affairs
  • Dr. David Newman, Associate Dean, Daniel B. Warnell School of Forest Resources
  • Dr. Pamela Orpinas, Professor, College of Public Health
  • Dr. Hugh Ruppersburg, Associate Dean, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
  • Dr. Jeffrey Springston, Associate Dean, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication

Graduate School Research Assistants

  • Sungjoo Choi, doctoral candidate, Public Administration & Policy
  • Hui Wang, doctoral candidate, Management Information Systems
UGA Graduate Programs in the NRC Study

Taxonomy Code

Field

Program Name

In Study; Not Rated

2

Agricultural and Resource Economics

Agricultural and Applied Economics

62

Plant Sciences

Agronomy

4

Animal Sciences

Animal and Dairy Science

5

Anthropology

Anthropology

39

History of Art, Architecture and Archaeology

Art

8

Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

12

Cell and Developmental Biology

Cellular Biology

14

Chemistry

Chemistry

64

Psychology

Child & Family Development

18

Comparative Literature

Comparative Literature

21

Computer Sciences

Computer Science

24

EcologyEcology and Evolutionary Biology

25

Economics

Economics

28

English Language and Literature

English

29

43

Kinesiology

Exercise Science

32

Food Science

Food Science

55

Nutrition

Foods & Nutrition

33

Forestry and Forest Sciences

Forest Resources

35

Genetics and Genomics

Genetics

36

Geography

Geography

23

Earth Sciences

Geology

66

Public Health

Health Promotion and Behavior

38

History

History

62

Plant Sciences

Horticulture

25

Economics

Housing & Consumer Economics

40

Immunology and Infectious Disease

Infectious Diseases

45

Linguistics

Linguistics

56

Oceanography, Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology

Marine Sciences

17

Communication

Mass Communication

47

Mathematics

Mathematics

49

Microbiology

Microbiology

58

Pharmacology, Toxicology and Environmental Health

Pharmacy

59

Philosophy

Philosophy

60

Physics

Physics

61

Physiology

Physiology

62

Plant Sciences

Plant Biology

62

Plant Sciences

Plant Pathology

63

Political Science

Political Science

4

Animal Sciences

Poultry Science

64

Psychology

Psychology

65

Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration

Public Administration

44

Language, Societies, and Cultures

Romance Languages

NR

71

Sociology

Sociology

17

Communication

Speech Communication

73

Statistics and Probability

Statistics

46

Materials Science and Engineering

Textile Sciences

NR

75

Theatre and Performance Studies

Theatre

58

Pharmacology, Toxicology and Environmental Health

Toxicology

40

Immunology and Infectious Disease

Veterinary Pathology

Ready to apply?