U.S. News ranks PSU as top 10 “most innovative”

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Portland State University among the top 10 “most innovative” national universities in its Best Colleges 2017 rankings. 

This is the second high ranking Portland State University has received in a week. PSU was ranked No. 14 among the Sierra Club’s top colleges and universities nationally for sustainability practices, making it the highest ranking school in Oregon.

In the U.S. News “most innovative” rankings, Portland State moved up to No. 9 from No. 16 on the second annual list of schools to watch for making “cutting-edge changes.” PSU tied with Purdue University–West Lafayette and University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and bested universities such as Harvard, Duke, Cornell and UC Berkeley. 

“This ranking is especially fitting because innovation has always been part of Portland State’s story,” PSU President Wim Wiewel said. “Early in our history, we had to do things differently just to survive. Now we are discovering new ways to teach and graduate a generation of scholars who thrive on innovation.”

U.S. News asked top academics to name campuses that are “making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.” A school had to receive multiple nominations to be listed. 

The 2017 rankings also recognize PSU’s senior capstone, service learning and undergraduate business programs. PSU also is a top pick of high school counselors. 

PSU’s innovations 

  • A growing strategic alliance with Oregon Health & Science University, including a new joint School of Public Health and the Robertson Life Sciences Building on the South Waterfront, a state-of-the-art home for health and science programs.
  • ReTHINK PSU, a push to help students stay on course and graduate sooner using innovative curriculum, community engagement and effective technology. Projects include creating a better mathematics lab, new online mentoring, targeted academic advising, flexible degrees for returning adults and redesigned student services.
  • The Four-Year Degree Guarantee, a pledge that students who follow a degree path will graduate in four years — or they can finish for free.
  • Expansion of the Urban Honors College to provide intense research opportunities and academic challenges for highly motivated students.
  • BUILD EXITO, a partnership with OHSU and community colleges funded with a $24 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to create career pathways in biomedical research for diverse students. 
  • The Institute for Sustainable Solutions, a center for sustainable research, curriculum, and community engagement at PSU that administers a 10-year, $25 million challenge grant from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. 
  • “Building a Better Student Experience,” a project funded in part by grants from the Gates Foundation and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to enhance advising, develop a personalized student web portal and interactive degree maps, and better coordinate student services across campus.

U.S. News ranks colleges annually from indicators of academic excellence, including surveys of administrators at peer institutions, student retention and graduation rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. More information and full rankings are at www.usnews.com/colleges.