sed seal                                                                                                 

 

 

THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

Johanna Duncan-Poitier signature

TO:

Higher Education Committee

FROM:

Johanna Duncan-Poitier

                                                                   

 

SUBJECT:

Use of “University” in the Names of Institutions

DATE:

April 30, 2008

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 2 and 4

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Issue for Discussion

 

Should the longstanding policy of the Board of Regents with regard to the use of “university” in the names of degree-granting and other institutions be reviewed?

 

Reason(s) for Consideration

 

For information.

 

Proposed Handling

 

This question will come before the Higher Education Committee at its May 2008 meeting for discussion.

 

Procedural History

 

Education Law §224(1) prohibits an “individual, association copartnership or corporation not holding university, college, or other degree conferring powers by special charter from the legislature of this state or from the regents” from using “the name university. . .”  In 1968, the Board of Regents approved an amendment to the Commissioner’s Regulations defining “university” in §50.1(l).  In 1973, it adopted §3.29 of the Rules of the Board of Regents restricting use of the terms “college” and “university.”

 

Background Information

 

In 1968, the Board of Regents approved the definition of a university that appears in the Commissioner’s Regulations:

 

University means a higher education institution offering a range of registered undergraduate and graduate curricula in the liberal arts and sciences, degrees in two or more professional fields, and doctoral programs in at least three academic fields [§50.1(l)].

 

              This definition has served New York well.  Higher education institutions, however, have changed over the past 40 years.  For example, changes in education leading to professional licensure have altered the picture through the growth of entry-level programs culminating in doctoral degrees.  There are currently 15 entry-level professional degrees in New York, 12 of which are doctoral degrees. In many other states, institutions may call themselves universities without significant doctoral offerings (e.g., Fairfield University, Connecticut), or without a range of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and sciences programs (e.g., the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey).

 

In other states, non-degree “universities” are also common; McDonald’s “Hamburger University” may be the best-known example.  In New York, the Department regularly informs non-degree institutions that they may not call their customer help desks or in-house training programs “universities.”  Since 2004, the Department has directed at least six organizations to stop doing so.

 

The Department has received a few requests from New York colleges to reconsider the definition of what constitutes a university of higher education in New York State.  Selected colleges may feel that universities against which they benchmark have an advantage in competing for students, grants, and faculty.  There are no data available to address competition for grants or for faculty.  However, the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) does include aggregate enrollment data by state for institutions by category of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.  IPEDS does not collect student residence by state; however, it does report enrollment of total first-time students (full- and part-time combined) who are U.S. citizens or foreign students.  In general, enrollment data does not show that New York institutions have been at a disadvantage in competing for students.

 

The attached paper reviews in depth the issues surrounding the definition of university in New York State and provides data and information to inform the Regents consideration of this matter.

 

Recommendation

 

The Board of Regents will discuss the issues surrounding the definition of university and determine if a regulatory change should be considered at this time.  If the Regents decide to modify the definition, the Department will seek additional feedback from the State’s colleges and universities.

 

Timetable for Implementation

 

              N/A

 

 

USE OF “UNIVERSITY” IN THE NAMES OF HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS

 

What is a University?  What is a College?  How does a University differ from a College?  These are questions of interest to some higher education institutions in New York State.

 

American higher education’s mission has three parts: teaching, scholarship and research, and service.  Some higher education institutions are primarily teaching institutions; these are colleges.  Some are primarily research institutions; these are research institutes or laboratories.  Some emphasize service, including seminaries and professional schools.  Some participate in all three parts of higher education’s mission; they are universities offering undergraduate, professional, and doctoral teaching, active scholarly research, and service to the community, the nation, or the world.

 

 

New York’s Requirements. In New York, Education Law §224(1) prohibits an entity from doing business under the name “university” unless the Board of Regents has given it permission to do so.  The Board approved a definition of “university” in the Commissioner’s Regulations 40 years ago, in 1968:

 

University means a higher education institution offering a range of registered undergraduate and graduate curricula in the liberal arts and sciences, degrees in two or more professional fields, and doctoral programs in at least three academic fields [§50.1(l)].

 

Undergraduate and graduate liberal arts programs evidence a commitment to teaching.  Programs in professional fields evidence a commitment to service.  Doctoral programs evidence a commitment to research.  Thus, the definition limits use of “university” in an institution’s name to those participating in all three parts of higher education’s mission.

 

New York was in the lead among states in adopting its definition, which still agrees with the popular one, including the one cited in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which defines “university” as:

 

an institution of higher learning providing facilities for teaching and research and authorized to grant academic degrees; specifically: one made up of an undergraduate division which confers bachelor’s degrees and a graduate division which comprises a graduate school and professional schools each of which may confer master’s degrees and doctorates.
 

The Department regularly receives inquiries from New York degree-granting institutions seeking to use “university” as part of their names.  To include “university” in its name, an independent institution petitions the Regents for a charter amendment to make the change.  Before making a recommendation on such a petition, the Department analyzes the institution’s mix of registered programs to see whether it meets the definition of a university in §50.1(l) of the Commissioner’s Regulations.  The Department has always adhered to this definition of university in deciding on whether a requesting institution may use that word in its name.

 

In the last six years, at least three institutions have inquired about eligibility to use “university” in their names.  (The Department is aware that several others also are interested in doing so.)  In each case, the Department reviewed the range of programs offered and informed the institution whether it met the regulatory definition and, if not, why it did not do so.  The last time such an application or request was granted was 22 years ago, when the Board amended the charter of the Polytechnic Institute of New York to change its name to Polytechnic University, following the Department’s finding that Polytechnic met the definition in the Regulations.

 

The only issue is using the word “university” in an institution’s name, not an institution’s use of that word to describe itself, which is not prohibited.  For example, it would be acceptable now for an institution to describe itself as follows:  “The New School - a global university in Greenwich Village offering numerous degrees and continuing education opportunities in design, social sciences, management, humanities, and the performing arts.”  It would not be acceptable for the same institution to call itself “The New School University” unless it met the regulatory requirements of a university.     

 

Outside New York, non-degree entities call themselves universities.  In other states, non-degree “universities” are common, examples include:

 

 

 

 

 

              There are other similar examples.  However, none of them are in New York.  The Department uses the provision of §224(1) of the Education Law, together with the §50.1(l) definition, to inform non-degree institutions/organizations that they may not call their customer help desks or in-house training programs “universities.”  Since 2004, the Department has directed at least six organizations to cease doing so.  The Department has also relied on the statutory and regulatory provisions regarding the use of the term university to prevent degree mills from operating in the State.

 

 

Some colleges in New York that have requested the ability to use the name university say that they are at a competitive disadvantage for students, grants, and faculty against similar institutions in other states that call themselves universities.  One paper by an independent college stated:

 

While a small group of traditional liberal arts colleges remain, along with an equally small number of research universities, the mainstream model in American higher education today lies between them as the comprehensive college or university, offering both liberal arts and professional undergraduate degrees along with an array of master’s degrees and some doctoral programs, largely in professional fields.  The new Carnegie classification system captures this group as a hierarchy, from colleges labeled as “baccalaureate/diverse fields” to doctoral/research universities” (those with only a few doctorates and a limited research commitment).  Between these, the large and growing segment of “master’s colleges and universities” is divided further into small, medium, and large subgroups depending on the number of graduate degrees offered.

 

Fully 80% of all “master’s colleges and universities” in fact carry the university name, where that title reflects the breadth of their graduate offerings and distinguishes them from purely undergraduate colleges.  Within the “master’s – large” subset, 87 percent are universities.  Of those that remain colleges, the majority are in the states of New York and Massachusetts, the only ones that still require the presence of doctoral degrees for an institution to adopt the university name.  That constraint limits the ability of public and private comprehensives in these states to compete successfully with peers elsewhere for students and financial resources, especially in the international context where “college” typically refers to a secondary school.

 

 

              Over the past 40 years, the definition of university has served New York well. The higher education institutions, however, have changed.  For example, changes in education leading to professional licensure have altered the picture through the growth of entry-level programs culminating in doctoral degrees.  The Board of Regents has authorized the use of 15 entry-level professional degree titles in New York; 12 of them are doctoral degrees.  Further, New York and Massachusetts appear to be the last states to demand doctoral study as a requirement for university designation.  In many other states, institutions may call themselves universities without significant doctoral offerings (e.g., Fairfield University, Connecticut), without a range of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and sciences programs (e.g., the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey), or without any college-level offerings at all (e.g., Trump University).

 

 

              There are a number of factors that can be considered in reviewing the issues surrounding the use of the term “university.”

 

 

One of the nation’s most widely accepted taxonomies of degree-granting institutions is the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, developed by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  The present Carnegie Classification (dating from 2005) groups institutions into six basic categories that have 31 subcategories.  Listed below are the categories and subcategories for Doctorate-Granting Universities, Master’s Colleges and Universities, and Baccalaureate Colleges:

 

Doctorate-Granting Universities

 

 

Master’s Colleges and Universities

 

 

Baccalaureate Colleges

 

 

The other three Carnegie Classification categories are Special Focus Institutions, Associate Colleges, and Tribal Colleges.

 

Institutions with a wide range of baccalaureate programs and significant doctoral offerings are categorized as either Research Universities – very high research activity, Research Universities – high research activity, or Doctoral/Research Universities.  This is where one would expect to find most institutions that come close to the §50.1(l) definition.  Another category is Master’s Colleges & Universities.

 

Master’s Colleges and Universities.  This category has three sub-categories: those with larger, medium, and smaller programs in terms of degrees awarded.  Nationwide, 663 institutions fall into the three sub-categories, including 56 New York institutions (8.4 percent of the total).  Of the 56 New York institutions in this category, 64.3 percent (36 institutions) are independent, 35.7 percent (20 institutions) are public, and none are proprietary.  In comparison, outside New York State, 51.9 percent (315 institutions) are independent, 40.9 percent (248 institutions) are public, and 7.2 percent (44 institutions) are proprietary.

 

Of the institutions outside New York State, 88.3 percent of those categorized as Master’s Colleges and Universities (larger programs) (271 institutions), 71.5 percent of those categorized as Master’s Colleges and Universities (medium programs) (128 institutions), and 63.6 percent of those categorized as Master’s Colleges and Universities (smaller programs) (77 institutions) use “University” in their names.  These institutions offer a wide range of baccalaureate and master’s degree programs; they normally do not have significant doctoral offerings.

 

Some New York institutions in this category ask why they may not use university in their names as do their competitors in other states, such as Fairfield University (Connecticut), Rider University (New Jersey), and Susquehanna University (Pennsylvania).    The reason is that, while they may meet the Carnegie definition, they do not meet New York’s regulatory definition for university. 

 

Master’s Colleges and Universities (larger programs) are defined as “Institutions awarding at least 200 master’s degrees and fewer than 20 doctorates per year in 2002-03 and 2003-04.”  Table 1 shows that 88.3 percent of those outside New York State used “university” in their names, including 94.0 percent of the public, 80.4 percent of the independent, and 100.0 percent of the proprietary institutions.

 

Table 1

 

Master’s Colleges and Universities (Larger Programs) Outside New York State

2005 Carnegie Classification of Higher Education

Sector

All Institutions

“Universities” Number

“Universities” Percent

Public

151

142

94.0%

Independent

138

111

80.4%

Proprietary

18

18

100.0%

Total

307

271

88.3%

 

Master’s Colleges and Universities (medium programs) are defined as “Institutions awarding at least 100 but not more than 199 master’s degrees and fewer than 20 doctorates per year in 2002-03 and 2003-04.”  Table 2 shows that 71.5 percent of those institutions outside New York State used “university” in their names, including 94.0 percent of the public, 62.6 percent of the independent, and 100.0 percent of the proprietary institutions.

 

Table 2

 

Master’s Colleges and Universities (Medium Programs) Outside New York State

2005 Carnegie Classification of Higher Education

Sector

All Institutions

“Universities” Number

“Universities” Percent

Public

67

53

79.1%

Independent

99

62

62.6%

Proprietary

13

13

100.0%

Total

179

128

71.5%

 

 
Master’s Colleges and Universities (smaller programs) are defined as:

 

Institutions awarding at least 50 but not more than 99 master’s degrees and fewer than 20 doctorates per year in 2002-03 and 2003-04 or awarding fewer than 50 master’s degrees and fewer than 20 doctorates and either has exclusively graduate/professional enrollment or has majority graduate/professional enrollment and awarded more graduate/professional degrees than undergraduate degrees.

 

 

Table 3 shows that 63.6 percent of those institutions outside New York State used “university” in their names, including 80.0 percent of the public, 51.3 percent of the independent, and 100.0 percent of the proprietary institutions.

 

 

Table 3

 

Master’s Colleges and Universities (Smaller Programs) Outside New York State

2005 Carnegie Classification of Higher Education

Sector

All Institutions

“Universities” Number

“Universities” Percent

Public

30

24

80.0%

Independent

78

40

51.3%

Proprietary

13

13

100.0%

Total

121

77

63.6%

 

Of the 56 New York institutions in the Master’s Colleges and Universities sub-categories, five (9 percent) use university in their names because they did so before adoption of the definition in §50.1 or because they met the definition when they adopted university in their names; the other 51 (91 percent) use college or institute.

 

              Baccalaureate Colleges.  The Carnegie Classification defines Baccalaureate Colleges – Diverse Fields as:

 

Institutions at which at least 10 percent of all undergraduate degrees awarded were baccalaureate degrees, and which awarded fewer than 50 master’s degrees or fewer than 20 doctorates in 2003-04 and at which less than half the baccalaureate degrees were in the liberal arts and sciences.
 

Table 4 shows that 45.4 percent of these institutions outside New York State used “university” in their names, including 79.5 percent of the public, 33.3 percent of the independent, and 73.3 percent of the proprietary institutions.

 

Table 4

 

Baccalaureate Colleges --  Diverse Fields

Outside New York State

2005 Carnegie Classification of Higher Education

Sector

All Institutions

“Universities” Number

“Universities” Percent

Public

78

62

79.5%

Independent

255

85

33.3%

Proprietary

15

11

73.3%

Total

348

158

45.4%

 

             

 

 

Baccalaureate Colleges – Liberal Arts are defined as:

 

Institutions at which at least 10 percent of all undergraduate degrees awarded were baccalaureate degrees, and which awarded fewer than 50 master’s degrees or fewer than 20 doctorates in 2003-04 and at which at least half the baccalaureate degrees were in the liberal arts and sciences.
 

Table 5 shows that 23.7 percent of these institutions outside New York State used “university” in their names, including 63.9 percent of the public, 16.7 percent of the independent, and 100.0 percent of the proprietary institutions.

 

Table 5

 

Baccalaureate Colleges --  Liberal Arts

Outside New York State

2005 Carnegie Classification of Higher Education

Sector

All Institutions

“Universities” Number

“Universities” Percent

Public

36

23

63.9%

Independent

228

38

16.7%

Proprietary

2

2

100.0%

Total

266

63

23.7%

 

 

Comparative Data.  Outside New York State, 697 out of 1,221 institutions that award baccalaureate and master’s degrees in a variety of fields (57.1 percent) call themselves universities.  If these institutions award doctoral degrees at all, they do so in numbers too small to meet the classification of Doctorate-Granting Universities.  In New York State, of the 32 institutions with the Baccalaureate College – Diverse Fields and Baccalaureate Colleges - Liberal Arts designations, two (6.3 percent) use university in their names.  The other 30 (93.8 percent) call themselves colleges or institutes.

 

Some colleges that have requested that they be permitted to use the term indicated that universities in other states against which they benchmark have an advantage in competing for students, grants, and faculty.  No data are available to address competition for grants or for faculty.  However, the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) does include enrollment by institutions by Carnegie Classification category.  IPEDS does not collect student residence by state; however, it does report enrollment of total first-time students (full- and part-time combined) who are U.S. citizens or foreign students.  Table 6 shows those enrollments for all institutions in the three Master’s Colleges and Universities categories, including both those that use university in their names and those that do not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 6

 

Enrollment of First-Time Students at Master’s Colleges and Universities

Fall 1998, 2002, and 2006

Fall

MCU Smaller

MCU Medium

MCU Larger

 

New York

Other States

New York

Other States

New York

Other States

Foreign Students

1998

113

797

243

3,162

487

2,593

2002

27

398

160

1,519

184

1,393

2006

31

712

434

3,969

156

1,775

Change, 1998-2002

-86

-76.1%

- 399

-50.1%

-83

-34.2%

-1,643

-52.0%

-303

-61.0%

-1,200

-46.3%

Change, 2002-2006

4

14.8%

314

78.9 %

274

171.2%

2,450 161.3%

- 28

-15.2%

382

27.4%

U.S. Citizens

1998

3,461

36,290

21,380

191,622

6,622

102,766

2002

3,451

31,669

18,032

177,368

7,026

99,114

2006

4,221

43,161

24,008

223,613

8,619

128,159

Change, 1998-2002

-10

-0.3%

-4.621

-12.7%

-3,348

-15.7%

-14,254

-7.4%

404

6.1%

-3,652

-3.6%

Change, 2002-2006

770

22.3%

11,492

36.3%

5,976

33.1%

46,245

26.1%

1.593

22.7%

29,045

29.3%

Source: IPEDS-EF Survey Data

NYSED, Office of Research and Information Systems, 2007.

 

             

Table 6 does not indicate any general differences between Master’s Colleges and Universities in each category (Smaller, Medium, and Larger) in New York as compared to those in other states.  Between 1998 and 2002, enrollment of foreign students declined in all three categories of institutions; however, the decline was proportionally larger for New York institutions than for those in other states.  Between 2002 and 2006, enrollment of foreign students rebounded in all categories except Master’s Colleges and Universities, Larger, in New York State.  The growth was proportionally greater for the Master’s Colleges and Universities, Medium, in New York than in other states; however, it was proportionally smaller at the Master’s Colleges and Universities, Smaller, in New York than it was in other states.

 

              Between 1998 and 2002, enrollment of U.S. citizens declined in all categories of institutions except Master’s Colleges and Universities, Larger, in New York State.  New York’s Master’s Colleges and Universities, Smaller, had a lesser decline than this category felt in other states; however, it was proportionally greater for the Master’s Colleges and Universities, Medium, in New York than in other states.  Between 2002 and 2006, enrollment of U.S. citizens grew in all three categories of institution, both in New York and in other states.  Growth was proportionally greater for Master’s Colleges and Universities, Medium, in New York than in other states; it was proportionally smaller for New York institutions in the other two categories than it was in other states.

 

 

 

              Changes in education leading to professional licensure are not reflected adequately in the Regents Rules, which do not distinguish among the different purposes of programs leading to degree titles using the word “Doctor.”  Section 3.50 lists degrees either as “General degrees in course” or as “Specialized degrees,” with the latter organized by discipline.  Section 3.47 divides all degrees as either undergraduate or graduate and divides graduate degrees between Academic and Professional degrees.  Under Academic degrees, the only doctoral title is Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).  The Professional degrees are listed alphabetically, without distinguishing between entry-level professional and advanced professional doctorates.

 

              In recent years, the list of professional degrees has become much longer as the Regents have amended sections 3.47(d) and 3.50 of the Rules to add new titles using the word “Doctor” that reflect shifts in professions from entry-level baccalaureate programs to entry-level doctoral degree programs.  Examples of entry-level professional doctoral degrees are Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.), and Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.).

 

Examples of advanced professional degrees are Doctor of Medical Science (Med.Sc.D.), Doctor of Nursing Science (D.N.S.), and Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.).  The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) is similar.

 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) lists “recognized research doctorate” titles.  It does not include the entry-level professional doctoral degrees as research doctorates; it does include advanced professional degrees as research doctorates, along with the Ph.D.  The advanced professional degrees listed in the Regents Rules that NSF recognizes as research doctoral degrees are:

 

Doctor of Arts (D.A.)

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng.)

Doctor of Engineering Science (Eng.Sc.D.)

Doctor of Hebrew Literature (D.H.L.)

Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.)

Doctor of Library Science (L.S.D.)

Doctor of Medical Science (Med.Sc.D.)

Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)

Doctor of Nursing Science (D.N.S.)

Doctor of Professional Studies (D.P.S.)

Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A.)

Doctor of Public Health (D.P.H.)

Doctor of Religious Education (D.R.E.)

Doctor of Sacred Music (S.M.D.)

Doctor of Science in Veterinary

Medicine (D.Sc. in V.M.)

Doctor of Social Science (D.S.Sc.)

Doctor of Social Welfare (D.S.W.)

Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.)

Doctor of Theology (Th.D.)

 

Section 52.2(c)(10) of the Commissioner’s Regulations requires that “Doctoral programs shall require a minimum of three academic years of full-time graduate level study after the baccalaureate degree.”  Consequently, all registered doctoral programs require at least three years of post-baccalaureate study, whether they lead to Ph.D. degrees, advanced professional doctorates, or entry-level professional doctorates.  Consistent with Priority C8 of the Statewide Plan, §52.2(c)(10) also requires that doctoral programs “shall include the production of a substantial report on original research, the independent investigation of a topic of significance to the field of study, the production of an appropriate creative work, or the verified development of advanced professional skills.”

 

Ph.D., Ed.D., D.N.S. and other advanced professional degrees are awarded for completing programs with strong research components.  Entry-level professional doctoral programs usually do not have such components.  They are practice oriented, not research oriented.  A D.P.T. program, for example, is a practice-oriented program focused on outcomes-based practice and the application of research to practice, not on the development of knowledge in physical therapy.  Instead of a dissertation it requires at least a full year of in-depth clinical practice combined with clinical seminars and other requirements.