ASU moves up nearly 30 spots in QS World University Rankings’ list of top US institutions

The rankings also put ASU at No. 1 in the state, with the university earning its highest marks for diversity and internationalization

May 5, 2021

QS World University Rankings has released its list of more than 300 of the top universities in the United States, with Arizona State University moving up nearly 30 spots to No. 62 from last year’s position at No. 91. ASU also ranked No. 1 in the state, ahead of both Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona.

QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) is a leading provider of services, analytics and insight to the global higher education sector. The QS World University Rankings portfolio launched in 2004 and has since grown to become one of the world’s most popular sources of comparative data about university performance. This is the second year for its U.S.-focused rankings, which are based on a methodology that looks at four key indicators: research, learning experience, employability, and diversity and internationalization. ASU charter sign on the Tempe campus Download Full Image

“On behalf of the academic enterprise at ASU, I am proud of our students and faculty, whose scholarship and achievements are critical to our success,” said Executive Vice President and University Provost Mark S. Searle.

“Among the factors considered, ASU scored well on the breadth of our research partners around the world, the number of Fulbright recipients at ASU and the overall academic reputation of the institution. Additionally, ASU has created a student-centered experience that supports the academic goals of an increasingly diverse student body. ASU’s improved ranking is a proof point of our growing global reputation as a top university.”

This year’s ranking of universities from the U.S. includes 351 institutions, up from 302 last year, with 74 new entrants overall. The goal of the rankings is to provide not only international students with new and more granular insights when deciding on a study destination in the U.S., but also to offer domestic students a fresh outlook on their home institutions.

According to QS World University Rankings’ flagship website,, the home of their rankings, “These universities, many known as Public Ivies, demonstrate impressive research credentials on par with some of the greatest academic powerhouses in the world, while offering an excellent learning environment, with many showing a great commitment to diversity, inclusion, gender equality and internationalization.”

screenshot of a chart breaking down ASU's rankings in various categories for the QS World University Rankings’ list of top U.S. institutions

Of the four key indicators, ASU ranked highest in diversity and internationalization (putting it at No. 32 nationally for that indicator), followed by learning experience, research and employability.

View a complete breakdown of ASU’s rankings.

Emma Greguska

Editor, ASU News

(480) 965-9657

ASU digital art grad activates and honors Indigenous perspectives

May 5, 2021

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.

John Joe is an Irish and Diné (Navajo) student graduating this spring with an MFA in art (digital technology). He has been creating art for 30 years and has slowly integrated digital technology over the past decade.  After graduation, “I plan on working with Indigenous communities because that is important to me,” said Herberger Institute Outstanding Graduate Student John Joe. “I think it is vital to growing our people in good ways, and I feel that I can contribute to their success and development with the experience I have to offer.” Download Full Image

He was named one of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts’ Outstanding Graduating Students for 2021 in the category of Excellence and Innovation in Creative Practice. His work is currently on display in the Harry Wood Gallery.

Joe’s MFA thesis exhibition, "Our Way, Route 2021,” features a soundwalk project with a route that is Joe's journey traveling from his family home in Naschitti, New Mexico, to Hweeldi-Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

The project “offers a 2021 route to be held by the land, honoring our way of life, family, traditions, tribal community and ancestors,” according to Joe’s website. “The Fort Sumner site holds a painful past for Diné people where they were marched from their homes. These collective routes are known as the Long Walk. ‘Our Way’ is a personal route navigating cultural ways of being and honoring protocols while speaking to the resilience and strength of our past and present through the humble act of walking and listening.”

The 2021 route aims to activate Indigenous perspectives and dialogue about connecting to the land and place using the body, digital technology, audio mapping and locative media. 

The exhibition can be viewed by appointment during regular gallery hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, through May 7. To schedule an appointment, contact

Joe received scholarships and fellowships from the Navajo Nation, American Indian Graduate Center, American Indian College Fund and Arizona State University.

“Receiving this funding has been exceptional in helping me attain an MFA degree, knowledge, experience and honing my creative practice,” he said.

After graduation, Joe will continue his creative practice and working with Indigenous communities. 

“I plan on working with Indigenous communities because that is important to me. I think it is vital to growing our people in good ways, and I feel that I can contribute to their success and development with the experience I have to offer.” 

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?  

Answer: When I started looking at graduate programs, I noticed myself gravitating towards architecture, industrial design, art and technology. I also took digital fabrication courses that influenced my searches for graduate programs and observed that the art and digital technology avenue was the perfect direction. The ASU MFA digital technology program had a sound degree track, and after visiting the school, felt it was a good fit for me.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective? 

A: I'm surprised at how my creative practice has shifted. I came into the program with fair experience creatively and professionally, but the move towards working with sound and digital technology as a medium has been a surprise. I also think that through the shift, I have become more engaged in finding a way to balance my cultural practices and digital technology.

Q: Why did you choose ASU? 

A: The ASU MFA digital technology program was a good fit for me. The entire faculty of the intermedia department sent a warm welcome, which was something I felt thoughtful, and that gesture sealed my decision to come to ASU. 

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU? 

A: I think all professors I have had exchanges with have positively impacted my education at Arizona State University. My thesis committee — Adriene Jenik, Garth Paine, Gregory Sale, Dan Collins and Wanesia Misquadace — have all been excellent and supportive of my thesis project and creative practice. I also have to include Lauren Hayes and Liz Cohen for their contribution and guidance in growing my creative practice. Their collective knowledge is vital in my overall success. Thank you, professors!

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school? 

A: Stay focused and be dedicated. Dedication is the gesture that moves you forward. I also think you need to be gentle with yourself in your development and embrace the unexpected. It would be best to embrace moments that feel like a failure, because they are more important than the final goal. It is through these moments that we learn and grow. 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?  

A: When we were not quarantining, my studio at Grant Street was my favorite place. I spent my first year and a half in the studio, and it was great. Currently, my home serves as mission control for everything online going on in my life.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle? 

A: A move to tackle the digital inequality, connectivity and access that Indigenous communities face. I think the pandemic shift to homeschooling revealed that this is lacking in tribal communities. Access to better computers and basic internet connectivity in rural areas needs to be addressed. 

Laurel Streed

Office and Communications Specialist, School of Art