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ASU named No. 1 in innovation for 5th consecutive year

Community invited to celebrate US News and World Report ranking with virtual high-fives on social media to those doing great work

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September 08, 2019

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. Read more top stories from 2019.

For the fifth year in a row, Arizona State University has been named the most innovative school in America.

U.S. News and World Report has named ASU as the most innovative university all five years the category has existed. The widely publicized annual rankings by the magazine, comparing more than 1,500 institutions on a variety of metrics, were released today.

The five-time ranking was based on a survey of peers. College presidents, provosts and admissions deans around the country nominated up to 15 schools that are making the most innovative improvements to curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities, according to the magazine.

ASU President Michael M. Crow said the honor is the result of the work of thousands of people tackling challenges in new ways.

“The tremendously creative minds and efforts of our students, faculty and staff elevate who we are. This recognition would not have been possible without the myriad contributions across our ASU community,” Crow said. “This is a moment to show our appreciation for the extraordinary work being done at ASU — work that positively impacts not just the university, but the state of Arizona and far beyond.”

ASU is inviting the community to join in a social media campaign that highlights its shared successes by offering a virtual “high-five” using the hashtags #High5ASU and #High5AZ.

Video by Jordan Currier/ASU

After ASU, U.S. News and World Report ranked the most innovative universities for 2020 as Georgia State University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford — the same top-five rankings as 2019. Rounding out the top 10 this year are Purdue, Carnegie Mellon, California Institute of Technology, Northeastern and the University of Maryland – Baltimore County.

In other rankings:

  • ASU ranked fourth among public universities and 10th in the country for undergraduate teaching, also a category based on peer surveys. ASU ranked 11th last year. The university's more than 3,400 faculty members include five Nobel laureates, five MacArthur fellows, seven Pulitzer Prize winners and hundreds of other award recipients. In recent years, ASU has expanded the use of adaptive learning, a personalized method of teaching that combines online and classroom work to ensure that students master concepts before moving on.
  • ASU’s Tempe campus ranked fourth among public universities and ninth in the nation for first-year experience. A new category that’s also based on peer surveys, Agnes Scott College in Georgia topped this list and ASU came in ahead of Brown, Yale and Princeton. Among the support that ASU offers is the First-Year Success Center, which provides peer coaching and programming for first-year students, sophomores and transfer students.
  • For the second year in a row, the supply chain program in the W. P. Carey School of Business was ranked second in the nation. The University of Michigan topped the list again, and ASU ranked ahead of Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan.
  • In the overall category of top public schools, ASU and the University of Arizona tied at No. 53 out of 152 universities that were ranked. 

ASU’s students and faculty have driven its innovative culture in several ways over the past year.

The Desert WAVE robotics team — made up of 11 women STEM majors from ASU’s Polytechnic campus — came in third behind China and Russia in the international RoboSub Competition this summer. Desert WAVE, in its first season, was the best American team and is a partnership between ASU and the Si Se Puede Foundation.

ASU launched the largest canine cancer vaccine trial in May, a five-year project led by scientist Stephen Johnston, a professor in the School of Life Sciences and director of the Biodesign Center for Innovations in Medicine. The results could lead to advances in treating cancer in humans.

The university entered into a partnership this year to commercialize the carbon-capture technology that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, invented by Klaus Lackner, a professor and director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions.

The School of Life Sciences is transforming undergraduate science education through BioSpine, the world’s first adaptive learning biology degree, which uses personalized learning.

The Watts College for Public Service and Community Solutions worked with the Maryvale community in Phoenix to launch a revitalization project called the One Square Mile Initiative, a partnership to address health, family support and public safety in the neighborhood.

And ASU has joined with Uber to offer qualified drivers a pathway to a fully funded college degree through ASU Online or nondegree courses including English language instruction and entrepreneurship.

“Our innovation mindset is what makes possible discoveries and leaps forward that make our communities better for all of us,” Crow said. “ASU is a place where new ideas are welcomed and encouraged; there is incredible power in an intentional culture of ‘Yes — give it a try. Let’s see what happens.’

“ASU’s willingness to try new ideas is not a casual thing, but something intentionally built into the fabric of the institution. Unbelievable things can happen when you are curious and bold enough to make the attempt.”

Recognize someone in the ASU community who has contributed to the innovative culture with a virtual high-five on social media. Follow the hashtags #High5ASU and #High5AZ to see some of the great work being done in communities, in classrooms and across the globe.

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