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ASU first to receive 'Most Innovative School' award


Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 as pictured on Jan. 20, 2015, on the Tempe campus. ASU was recently ranked No. 1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of most innovative schools.

ASU partners with Starbucks to offer tuition reimbursementGlobal Freshman Academy gives students freedom to pay for online credits. ASU plans to launch the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. These unique innovations and more all led ASU to receive the inaugural “Most Innovative School” award. 

Ranked by college presidents, provosts and admission deans, the list by "U.S. News & World Report" ranked ASU No. 1 above prestigious schools such as Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The survey agrees that ASU makes frequent innovative advancements to curriculum, faculty, technology and facilities.

One recent innovation that directly affects students, is the installment of hybrid math courses that replace dated lectures with technology. Medical Studies sophomore Rachel Wittenberg said the course is beneficial to students of any level.

“Those students who have strong mathematical and scientific thinking skills can finish these courses at their own, faster pace and leave more time to work on courses that they struggle with,” Wittenberg said. “The same is true for students who struggle with mathematics. These students can take the class at a slower pace, while still having access to limitless tutoring and mentoring services.”

ASU uses eAdvisor so that each student can receive individual attention — no small feat considering last year's enrollment totaled over 82,000 students. The system monitors each student’s progress until graduation, assuring that they stay on track to graduate on time.

Of this year's enrollment, 19,700 earn degrees solely online. Another program, Global Freshman Academy, offers these students the option to pay for a credit upon its completion for a rate of $200 per hour, or to discard the credit entirely.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to jump-start further advancement and provide more opportunities of innovation, the School for the Future of Innovation in Society’s new undergraduate program and minor will start accepting students in 2016. As founding director of this future school David Guston said this addition puts ASU at the pinnacle. 

“The twin goals of access and excellence really sets ASU apart from other large research universities, and that attempt to achieve both will be a constant spur toward innovation,” Guston said.

With a purpose similar to that of Guston, senior vice president of knowledge enterprise development Sethuraman Panchanathan holds responsibility to further research, innovation and entrepreneurship among all ASU campuses.

“Innovation is the spirit of the university,” Panchanathan said. “When you look at education, we are not training the kids for jobs today. We are teaching them how to be innovators, not only for their jobs in the future, but to be the creators of the jobs of the future.”

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