ASU continues streak as U.S. News' most innovative school


Arizona State University jumped a few spots in the U.S. News and World Report’s latest rankings of the top national universities, but as usual the school staked its bragging rights on its title as the country’s most innovative school.

Driving the News: ASU was ranked the No. 1 most innovative school for the ninth consecutive year, making it the only university to win that title since U.S. News created the ranking in 2015.

  • “ASU’s innovation mindset attracts creative and dynamic minds who tackle society’s biggest challenges — from ending health disparities to ensuring a habitable planet to advancing our national security — in ways both inventive and effective,” university president Michael Crow said in a press statement.

State of play: The school touted several initiatives from the past year, including:

  • ASU will launch a School of Medicine and Advanced Medical Engineering, the first medical school in the university’s history.
  • It’s partnering with Applied Materials Inc. to launch a $270 million Materials-to-Fab Center aimed at supporting the Valley’s growing semiconductor industry.
  • The school won a nearly $91 million grant to pursue “groundbreaking research in x-ray science.”

Zoom out: ASU jumped from last year’s ranking of 121 to 105 this year.

  • Yes, but: The school was actually in a 10-way tie for No. 105.
  • Its ranking among public schools was a seven-way tie for No. 51.

Details: U.S. News changed its ranking formula this year to no longer consider several criteria from previous years, including class size and alumni giving, while adding first-generation college student graduation rates as a factor.

  • That led some private universities to fall in the rankings and public schools to rise, the Washington Post reported.

Meanwhile, the University of Arizona was in a nine-way tie for No. 115 on the list, and tied with five other schools for No. 58 in the public universities rankings.

  • UofA rose two spots to No. 3 overall for management information systems this year, with the second-best program among public universities.
  • “Our institution serves a growing and diverse student population that has the opportunity to learn from many of the world’s top research scholars across a wide spectrum of subjects,” UofA president Bobby Robbins said in a press statement.
  • The school was tied for No. 105 in last year’s rankings.

Northern Arizona University was in an 11-way tie for No. 249 overall and tied with five others as the No. 135 public university.

Of note: Grand Canyon University stopped participating in the rankings in 2018, explaining at the time that U.S. News focused too heavily on “things that are not important to the learning outcomes of students,” such as selectivity of admissions, peer reviews, faculty salaries, alumni giving and standardized test scores for incoming students.