ASU named No. 1 in innovation for the sixth straight year

The University ranked above MIT and Georgia State University by the U.S. News and World Report

ASU was named the "most innovative" university in the nation by U.S. News and World Report for the sixth consecutive year in its annual list released late Sunday. 

The University has secured the No. 1 spot for the most innovative national university every year since the category was created and placed above Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgia State University this year. 

The top five most innovative schools this year were ASU, followed by MIT, Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University. 

This year's order is nearly identical to 2019's, except for MIT passing Georgia State University and Purdue taking the fifth-place spot from Stanford.

U.S. News and World Report ranks universities for innovation by asking college presidents, provosts and admissions deans to nominate 15 colleges or universities that are "making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities," according to its ranking methodology.

To be listed, the college or university must receive at least seven nominations. The U.S. News and World Report's methodology said those institutions who are listed are ones that the public should be looking toward for "cutting-edge changes" taking place on their campuses. 

"What it means is, we’re going to be able to reach more people with more teaching, learning and discovery and empowerment using every innovation imaginable," University President Michael Crow said in a video announcing the ranking. "Innovation is critical to the success of our society and all things. We’re finding ways to take a world-class research University and connect it with everyone."

ASU ranked 103 on the "overall best national universities" list, an improvement from last year's 117. The ranking, which Crow previously criticized in a 2015 LinkedIn post, is six places behind UA's ranking of 97.

The University also ranked 46 in top public schools, 16 in undergraduate teaching and 24 in best undergraduate business programs.

ASU attributed its advances in innovation to achieving carbon neutrality six years ahead of its goal and the Biodesign Institute developing Arizona's first saliva-based COVID-19 test among other achievements, according to an article from ASU Now.

“The No. 1 in innovation ranking is a welcome reminder of the mission and beliefs that fuel discovery and progress at ASU,” Interim Executive Vice President of ASU's Knowledge Enterprise Neal Woodbury said in an interview with ASU Now. “Particularly at a time when universities worldwide are reimagining what traditional and remote learning looks like, I am very proud of our continued efforts to innovate with speed, at scale.”

The University's consistent success in the "most innovative" category has earned it a reputation for branding itself as such nearly everywhere on campus, with the word appearing on buses, on buildings and in names of schools and majors.


Reach the reporter at mcbushma@asu.edu and follow @meredithbushman on Twitter. 

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