PSU named one of the nation’s 10 most innovative universities
Author: Kurt Bedell, PSU Media and Public Relations
Posted: September 12, 2017

For the third year in a row, Portland State University has been ranked among the 10 most innovative universities by U.S. News & World Report. 

Alongside institutions like Stanford, Harvard and Duke universities, PSU was highlighted for being a school that the public should be watching because of the cutting-edge changes being made on campus. PSU was ranked 10th nationally.  

In U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2018 most innovative rankings, PSU tied with Duke and ranked higher than Yale University, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago. PSU is the only university named to the list from the Pacific Northwest.

PSU also made U.S. News’ Best National Universities list — the first time ever in the university’s history. Although it was not assigned a specific ranking, PSU was grouped among schools from ranked from 231 to 300. 

“Being recognized as a most innovative campus and one of the top 300 universities in the nation validates just how unique our urban academic environment is for student learning, scholarship and research - all of which impact Portland and the world,” PSU President Rahmat Shoureshi said.  “Having just arrived on campus and in Portland, I’ve been impressed with how many of our faculty involve students in transformative research that benefits our community.”

Key PSU’s innovations include:

  • Four Years Free, a PSU program that covers tuition and fees for income-eligible Oregon undergraduates.
  • 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.
  • A new undergraduate pre-health advisory program and further growth of the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, positioning PSU to become the state’s premier destination in Oregon for those preparing for health and medical careers. 
  • 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.
  • “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.
  • University Studies, an integrated, connected learning experience for undergraduates that takes students out of the classroom and into the field to work on a community project. PSU’s program earned it recognition as a College of Distinction by an organization of the same name and deemed it one of the best schools nationally for students to learn, grow and succeed.
  • 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.

Arizona State University ranked No. 1 for most innovative. The other top 10 schools include: No. 2 Stanford University; No. 3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology; No. 4 Georgia State University; No. 5 Carnegie Mellon University; No. 6 Northeastern University; No. 7 University of Maryland, Baltimore County; No. 8 University of Michigan; No. 9 Harvard University; and No. 10 Duke University, which tied with PSU. 

For its rankings in this category, U.S. News asked college presidents, provosts and deans to name campuses that are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities. The more nominations a university received, the higher it was ranked.

This year’s rankings also recognized PSU’s service learning and undergraduate business programs. 

The magazine ranks colleges annually in many categories 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. Its rankings are at

Contact Kurt Bedell at