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ASU selected as nation's most innovative school for third straight year

ASU named most innovative university for third straight year.
Why is ASU considered to be so innovative? It's changing higher ed completely.
September 11, 2017

U.S. News and World Report ranks ASU ahead of Stanford, MIT

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2017, click here.

For the third year in a row, Arizona State University tops the list of “most innovative schools” in the nation, recognizing the university’s groundbreaking initiatives, partnerships, programs and research.

U.S. News and World Report has named ASU as the most innovative university all three years it has had the category. The widely touted set of annual rankings by the news magazine, which compares more than 1,500 institutions on a variety of metrics, was released today.

ASU again topped the list based on a survey of peers. College presidents, provosts and admissions deans around the country nominated up to 10 colleges or universities that are making the most innovative improvements to curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

“Our colleagues at colleges and universities around the country are very interested in what we’re doing, and they pay close attention to all that we have been able to achieve,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “They know that all the cool stuff is going on at ASU.”

After ASU, the second and third most innovative universities were Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the same ranking as the previous two years. The next universities on the innovative list are Georgia State University, Carnegie Mellon University, Northeastern University, the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, the University of Michigan and Harvard University, with Duke and Portland State universities tied for 10th place.

The innovation ranking is due at least in part to a more than 80 percent improvement in ASU’s graduation rate in the past 15 years, the fact that ASU is the fastest-growing research university in the country and the emphasis on inclusion and student success that has led to more than 50 percent of the school’s in-state freshman coming from minority backgrounds.

“We now know that because of our innovation platform and our innovation culture, we’re just getting started,” Crow said. “Our pace of innovation is not just continuing, it’s accelerating.” 

In addition, the magazine designated ASU as an “A+ School for B Students,” a list of universities that are not ranked. Schools on the list had to admit a meaningful proportion of applicants whose test scores and class standing put them in non-A territory but whose freshmen retention rate was at least 75 percent.

The “most innovative school” ranking wasn’t the result of any one specific program, but the holistic approach to inventing a new kind of university ASU has undertaken. Still, ASU has launched several recent unique initiatives. Here are a few:

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News


ASU alumnus wants to make a difference in the community

September 12, 2017

Since he was a young child, Steven Slugocki has been attending sporting events and cheering on the Sun Devils. He never considered pursuing his undergraduate degree anywhere other than Arizona State University. 

“I had to stay true to ASU,” said Slugocki, who graduated from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “I decided to study political science and history because I was very passionate about both. I was also fascinated by the presidential election of 2000 between Al Gore and George Bush. And, I wanted to know everything possible about these subjects.” College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Alumnus Steven Slugocki Alumnus Steven Slugocki is a founding member of the Emerging Leaders program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU. He's also a business sales consultant for Wells Fargo and the Chairman of the Maricopa County Democratic Party. Download Full Image

In 2007, Slugocki received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the School of Politics and Global Studies and a minor in U.S. history from the history department. He said the two programs helped him develop a strong work ethic and the ability to recognize and acknowledge differing viewpoints, which has helped in his career.

“My political science professors always taught me to be prepared for any situation and know what you’re talking about so you can speak in an educated way,” he said. “Teamwork and communication are valuable skills that I still utilize today.”

Currently, Slugocki works as a business sales consultant for Wells Fargo and serves as the Chairman of the Maricopa County Democratic Party. He is the youngest county party chair in the country.

“I became the chairman in 2015, but I’ve been on the board for the county party since 2008,” said Slugocki. “We recruit, train and engage activists around Maricopa County. We also have to prepare for and help win elections. So, I’m very involved locally.” 

While an undergraduate student, Slugocki was a member of Young Democrats at ASU, a student organization dedicated to campaigning for progressive issues and encouraging political discourse on campus. He also worked with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to improve student life and community involvement through local projects.

“These groups and activities taught me the value of working to better our community and that a small group of people can truly make a positive change,” he said. 

Slugocki’s commitment to the college didn’t stop once he graduated. He’s one of the founding members of the Emerging Leaders program, a part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Council, which was created to re-engage recent alumni and shape the college’s future.

“I hope to make the college as strong as possible,” said Slugocki. “It’s such a diverse college with so many schools and departments. I want to make it a source of pride for recent graduates and people who graduated long ago. They should be proud of their college.”

Slugocki encourages current students and recent alumni to get involved as much as possible.

“Find something you are passionate about and get involved,” he said. “You’ll get to know incredible people and make a huge impact.”

As for future plans, Slugocki said he hopes people see him as a community leader who has made a positive different. He also wants to run for office one day. He’s currently serving as Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton's appointment to the Neighborhood Block Watch Fund Oversight Committee and wants to continue to be involved in local issues.

“I just want to make a difference in my community,” he said. 

Amanda Stoneman

Senior Marketing Content Specialist, EdPlus