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9 reasons why ASU was named the 'most innovative' college in the U.S.

Here are several reasons why ASU was named the most innovative college in the U.S.

Curiosity Rover
A full-scale model of the Mars Curiosity rover is pictured in the lobby of ISTB 4 on the Tempe campus on Thursday, June 11, 2015. Three ASU professors are contributing to a NASA mission that aims to explore Europa, one of Jupiter's moons.

ASU was recently named the nation's most innovative school by U.S. News and World Report. The University was ranked above MIT, Stanford and Georgia State and several other top-performing schools. But why was ASU named 'most innovative?' Here are just a few of the reasons.

Starbucks College Achievement Plan

Photo by Ryan Liu | The State Press

First introduced in 2014, the program originally paid full tuition for employees who worked 20 hours a week, were accepted by ASU and who were juniors or seniors. The program has now expanded and covers a four-year bachelor's degree for eligible employees

Related: ASU, Starbucks partnership cemented as Starbucks employees start session B classes


Photo courtesy of ProMod

This program was started in fall 2015 after receiving a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. ProMod allows students to work in groups alongside faculty and apply the knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world situations. Students can earn credit through these project-based learning courses and further develop their portfolio.


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This part personality quiz, part career advisor application was started in May 2015. Me3 targets teenagers who are beginning to think about their future and what careers fit their interests. 

Related: Editorial: Stock images should not map out our futures

Increased use of technology in place of lectures

Photo by Daniel Kwon | The State Press

In 2011, ASU invested in new technology and redesigned courses to help meet the needs of students who enroll in large lecture classes. The web-based software helps address a student's understanding of class concepts, finds which concepts they struggle with and suggests study material.

Related: New learning technology to help students with basic math courses

Global Freshman Academy

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ASU partnered with edX in June 2015 to launch a program to allow anyone to take their freshman courses online and earn course credits that transfer to ASU and other institutions. Students who wish to earn credits for courses are charged $200 per credit after the student passes the course.

Related: Global Freshman Academy will expand reach of ASU online

Arizona Technology Enterprises

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ASU founded Arizona Technology Enterprises, an organization to manage its intellectual property and help decrease the time between research and market application. Last year, AzTE ranked in the top 10 among competitors for startups, licensing agreements and invention disclosures.


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This tool is designed to help students figure out what major is right for them and lay out a four-year course plan or "major map" for students. The semester-by-semester tool monitors a student's major progression, notifying them if they are "on-track" or "off-track." 

Accelerated degree programs

Photo courtesy of Kyle Messner

ASU gives students the opportunity to earn their bachelor's degree in as little as two and a half years, compared to the traditional four-year path. This option allows ambitious students to enter their industry of choice earlier.

Creation of new majors

Photo by Sean Logan | The State Press

The job landscape is constantly changing. In an effort to prepare graduates for jobs that will be in demand after graduation, ASU is beginning to create new majors. For example, ASU's W.P. Carey School of Business was one of the first in the U.S. to offer a master's of science in business analytics.

Related: ASU’s new master’s program is open for business

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